Important details were added to the amended Law on Environment Protection issued in 2014 to improve its quality as Việt Nam makes efforts to industrialize and modernize its economy.
This document was updated with requirements to deal with issues arising out of climate change and green growth, which show the efforts exerted by the government, agencies and local authorities.
Being authorized by the government, the Ministry of Investment and Planning (MoIP) has tried to study and combine the National Sustainable Development Plan and the National Green Growth Strategy when the country implements the amended Law of Environment Protection (LEP), and develops and implements socio-economic development plans and strategies.
Environment protection combined with socio-economic development plan
During the early 1990s, the government agencies had paid attention to environment protection to ensure that the 1994 LEP was properly implemented. This was shown in the inter-ministerial Circular 155-TTLB issued on 11/4/1993 by the State Planning Committee and the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, to provide a temporary policy on environment protection for other ministries, ministry-level agencies and local authorities, based on which they will develop and implement their own plans to protect local environment.
In 2004, based on the amended LEP, the MoIP saw it as important to combine environment protection and sustainable development issues in the country’s socio-economic development plans and strategies, and that action needed to be done via planning and investment procedures and requirements.
The MoIP had developed a set of criteria for environment protection and sustainable development, submitted it to the government for reference so that the latter was able to develop a socio-economic development plan and include it in the 5-year socio-economic development plan 2006 - 2010, as well as include environmental requirements in socio-economic development projects in the country.
In addition, the ministry had proposed to the government the sustainable development strategy to ensure that socio-economic development targets during 2005 and now are reached. The ministry has also worked with other ministries and local authorities to develop and propose to the government several legal frameworks that requires investment projects to take good care of environmental issues, such as Decree 140/2006/ND-CP issued by the Government on environment protection issues in planning and implementing socio-economic development projects, and Decree 92/2006/ND-CP issued on 7/9/2006, by the Government on developing, approving and managing the socio-economic development master plan.
About the adjustment of the LEP: The ministry conducted some assessments on the status of some environmental issues with investment and planning projects, which were an assessment of the strategic environment conditions, assessment of environmental impacts and commitment to environment protection. After the assessments, the ministry saw some issues in those projects needing fixing and improving. These findings were reported by the ministry to responsible government agencies when the government was amending the LEP, and some important issues were added into the LEP 2014.
About monitoring and assessment: each year, based on the environmental impact assessments conducted in previous years, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) develops its own environment protection plan and submits it to the responsible government agency, which is the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
In 2014, the MOST continued to implement its national strategies on climate change and green growth, which had long-term impacts on Việt Nam, to show its commitment to the international community in protecting the environment and dealing with climate change, and the ministry also worked with local authorities and other ministries to develop the central and local action plans.
About disbursement of the budget for environmental projects based on the ministry’s yearly action plan: The MOST conducted environment protection projects as had been assigned by the government. These projects aimed to help the ministry’s units with environmental issues in their operations, and help the public sector and private sector combine environment protection and sustainable development with the nation’s socio-economic development plan. These projects have been successfully conducted up to now.
Besides, the MOST also actively participated in the discussions held by the United Nations (UN) on climate change, which were good opportunities for Việt Nam to exchange its practices in environment protection with other countries, approach new financial resources and absorb modern technologies. The MOST has been working with responsible government agencies and its partners to improve its qualities and get its organisation and mechanism prepared for being admitted to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Recently, the MOST has accomplished its missions assigned by the government, such as the Resolution 35/NQ-CP issued 18/3/2013 by the prime minister on urgent issues in environment protection, and monitored, reviewed and evaluated the standards on environment protection and sustainable development as required by the prime minister.
Socio-economic development status with issues in sustainable development and green growth
In the context that Việt Nam has made a lot of changes in all aspects, the socio-economic and environmental conditions are facing many opportunities and challenges. The economy is becoming less competitive and unstable, natural resources are used inefficiently polluting the environment and leading to exhaustion of resources, the gap between high- and low-income people s widening, and it is getting more difficult to deal with climate change. The global economy is going through volatility with unpredictable happenings which are creating a negative impact on the world’s markets, on the materials and natural resources, and on the financial market.
The government has issued the National Strategy on Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Green Growth, and the Master Plan on Restructuring of the Economy combined with Restructuring of Economic Development Model to improve the country’s economic quality, efficiency and competitiveness from 2013 - 2020.
Based on the LEP 2014 coming into effect in 2015, and based on its assigned duties, the MOST has issued its environment protection plan for 2016 with major details as below:
Implementing the National Strategy and National Plan on green growth, including working with other ministries, sectors and local authorities to develop their own action plans.
Studying the ways and propose to the government a special policy to attract domestic and foreign financial provisions for environmental projects.
Combining issues on environment protection, climate change and sustainable development with the development of country’s socio-economic development plan 2016-2020, with development and assessment of large-scale projects, and with development and implementation of sectorial/regional socio-economic development plans, in addition to development and implementation of provincial socio-economic development plan.
Preparing reports for the Sustainable Development Council and the Green Growth Steering Committee under the National Committee for Climate Change to consult the Prime Minister on green growth and sustainable development.
Working with sectors, local authorities, social organisations and enterprises to develop green growth action plans and Agenda 21 (National policy on sustainable development) for sectors and local authorities.
Improving the quality of the environmental data system.
Assisting media activities on environment protection, green growth, climate change and sustainable development, which are conducted by domestic and foreign organisations.
Studying and proposing a policy to encourage more investments in environment protection. At the moment, there are a small number of private companies that have researched and tested successfully the waste treatment system, as the government has not given any policies to encourage them and protect their initiatives.
Recently, the government issued some regulations that promote public-private sector partnership in all industries. In the field of environment protection, climate change and green growth, the MOST will work with relevant government agencies to develop and propose a new policy to encourage more investments in this sector.
Phạm Hoàng Mai
Director - Department of Science, Education, Natural Resources and Environment
Ministry of Planning and Investment