Green strategy key to sustainable growth

Sustainable development would depend on a shift to a green economy, officials said at a seminar held in HCM City yesterday.

Pham Hoang Mai, head of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Department of Science, Education, Natural Resources and Environment, said it was important to shift to a green economy, citing examples in South Korea, Mexico and the Philippines.

The seminar was organised by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the United Nations Development Programme.

South Korea, for example, has implemented a green-growth strategy based on development of advanced science and technology and an abundant labour force.

“In Viet Nam, although the economic growth rate has reached 6.5-7 per cent every year, the competitiveness of the economy is still low,” Mai said. Economic growth is based largely on exploiting natural resources. The country still has out-of-date technology, environmental pollution and climate change challenges.”

“Viet Nam’s economic restructuring must be towards green growth by promoting environmentally friendly lifestyles and production, reducing CO2 emissions, adapting to climate change, and developing a modern infrastructure.”

Localities needed to focus on the efficient use of human and natural resources and restructure agricultural production in a more environmentally friendly way, such as paying attention to appropriate use of fertiliser and pesticides and recycling by-products of agricultural production.

They should also develop sources of renewable energy and encourage businesses to transfer technology to improve production effectiveness, Mai said.

The green growth strategy for the 2011-20 period and its vision towards 2050 will be submitted to the Government by the end of the year.

Nguyen Nam, deputy director of KPMG Viet Nam, said targets were in line with international trends towards reducing energy and carbon emissions, lowering greenhouse-gas emissions, and increasing GDP.

To maximise the impact at the least cost, the strategy must work synergistically in order to effectively address climate change, energy security, population growth and natural resources scarcity.

To finance green-growth transition, the use of public-private partnerships should be considered, as well as the use of carbon markets.

Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of emissions reduction and other key indicators are critical for ensuring transparency, accountability and effectiveness of implementation.

A rigorous MRV system is key for attracting international finance, according to Mai.

“The country’s green-growth strategy should be a long-term objective for any enterprise,” said Nguyen Quang Vinh, director of the office for sustainable development of the VCCI and secretary general of the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD).

Raising awareness of sustainable development among businesses, especially SMEs, is also important.

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