In this regard, the Environment Ministers Meeting has become a top priority in environmental co-operation among EAS countries towards sustainable development for a green, clean and beautiful environment.
Since then, in the framework of ASEAN co-operation, the ASEAN working group conference on environment has been held annually in one of the member countries.
Việt Nam is the host country for the 13th conference this year and 2 Vietnamese cities, Huế and Đà Lạt were in the list of the ASEAN’s award winning environmentally sustainable cities honoured in 2014, which marked a milestone in ASEAN activities on the environment in the process of establishing the ASEAN Community 2015.
To review the ASEAN environment awards from 2008 to the present:
Hạ Long, 2008
To honour and promote the image of the typical city for environment quality as well as raise awareness of the community and leaders at all levels of regional countries about the importance of the work of urban environmental protection, at the first East Asia Summit (EAS) Environment Ministers Meeting held in Hà Nội, October 2008, ministers reached a consensus to grant the award for a sustainable environment to 10 cities from among the ASEAN countries that included Hạ Long city in Quảng Ninh province.
Known as one of the largest coal producers in Việt Nam, Quảng Ninh province has played a leading role in the goods distribution network of the northern region. Nearly 90% of coal output in the country is extracted in this province. Besides, the province is home to Hạ Long Bay, a World Heritage Site which is a good reason for the development of industry here. Thus, the provincial economic development strategy should be harmonised with the environment protection strategy. Recently, provincial authorities and Hạ Long city implemented several solutions to build a green, clean and beautiful environment to hold the title of the ASEAN environmentally sustainable city
Specifically, Quảng Ninh has been approaching a green economy to integrate environmental protection measures with socio-economic development strategy.
Đà Nẵng, 2011
At the 17th ASEAN Summit held on November 23, 2011 in Indonesia, Đà Nẵng was the second city from Việt Nam which was awarded the environmental prize for the cause of protecting the planet. Also, Đà Nẵng was recognized as one of the world’s 20 most clean cities due to its lowest carbon emissions.
|Đà Nẵng is building Environmental City toward 2020|
In addition, Mỹ Khê beach in Đà Nẵng was honoured by Forbes magazine from the United States, as one of the 6 most attractive beaches on the planet thanks to its white sand, peaceful waves, and warm water all year round. Đà Nẵng has become the city which the Vietnamese believe is the one worth living in the most.
After 15 years of becoming a centrally governed city it was recognized as a first-grade city in 2003. The city is one of the economic hubs in the central region, and especially from 2000 - 2010, Đà Nẵng made dramatic progress in socio-economic development, natural resources and environment protection.
Over the years, the city promptly handled environmental issues such as flood, rubbish collection and waste processing as well as taking full use of natural resources in an effective manner.
By doing so, the indication of clean air, clean water, and clean land of Đà Nẵng is much better than other cities in some regional countries.
Đà Nẵng became a pioneer in building a brand “Environmental City” towards 2020
Huế and Đà Lạt, 2014
The Citadel Complex of Huế, set up by Nguyễn Dynasty from 1805 - 1945, is now one amongst the relics of the ancient Capital, capturing much of the attention of tourists.
Huế is recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage and the first World Cultural Heritage in Việt Nam, which includes citadel relics, tombs, and temples, along with shrines are being preserved. The architecture is built to mix with natural scenery, creating a unique and charming humanistic beauty.
Furthermore, Huế’s royal court music, called “Nhã Nhạc Cung Đình”, is the first intangible heritage of Việt Nam to be recognized by UNESCO as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in 2003. Thanks to these prominent features, Huế city has become the cultural and tourist centre of Việt Nam.
With available natural landscape, rational exploitation of natural resources and climate change response, and high awareness of environmental protection, Huế has become the first city of Việt Nam supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to develop urban construction at 3 levels (eco-urban, sustainable development, and urban and smart urban and environmentally safe city) to live up to the name of “Green city: Sustainable future of Southeast Asia”.
Huế city has also been honoured with the 3rd prize for the environmentally sustainable city from the 14th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment (14th IAMME) in Vientiane, Laos from October 26 - 31, 2014.
Currently, Huế city has maintained and protected its clean air, clean water, and clean soil in accordance with the ASEAN criteria of environmentally sustainable cities. To particularly implement the National Green Growth Strategy at the direction of the prime minister, Thừa Thiên-Huế province has developed a national strategy plan to develop the a national strategy for green growth towards 2020, with an objective of sustainable urban development, in which Huế city is the top priority of the province.
The goal aims to develop Huế city into an eco-urban with economic development towards a green economy by efficiently saving energy and natural resources as well as improving the quality of life towards environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Đà Lạt - Việt Nam’s first city was nominated by ASEAN countries and honoured at the 14th IAMME. It was awarded and certified to be potential city by ASEAN ministers for the clean air award in 2014, and was honoured with the award of recognition for ASEAN clean air 2014.
To achieve this goal, Đà Lạt has always attached much importance to socio-economic development. The city’s administration has a long-term policy on environment protection and has built environment treatment works involved in enhancing household waste collection and building waste treatment plants for hazardous waste. The city has also focussed on treating household sewage and taking control of pollution caused by factories and businesses. They are encouraged to apply advanced and clean technology and asked to pay attention to environmental monitoring, enhance the ratio of forest coverage, and educate and raise awareness of environmental protection among locals and tourists.
After taking more than 5 years to become the first class urban in the province, the city’s administration and its people have made great efforts in environmental protection. As a result, its quality of environmental protection has improved. It also has high hopes of being chosen and becoming an ASEAN environmentally sustainable city.
To achieve this, the significant contribution made by employees and ASEAN senior officials in environment and ASOEN Vietnam Office should be praised.
Since February, 2014, the ASOEN Vietnam Office has put into place plans to select 1 or 2 cities reaching environmental standards to be awarded the ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable Cities (ESC) Award. The office has outlined the criteria for the selection of eligible cities, based on ASEAN’s existing criteria.
In addition, in 2015 the office planned and organised a successful conference of the ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities, from July 5 - 10, 2015, in Đà Lạt city■
Trương Thị Tuyết Nhung
Vietnam Environment Administration