Circular economy – The foundation for Vietnam’s sustainable development

At “Inception Conference to develop National Action Plan for implementing Circular Economy in Viet Nam” on June 28, 2022, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha emphasized, “Circular economy is the solution so that we can continue to firmly believe on the path to sustainable development, along with the green economy and low carbon economy.”

Urgent issues for Net Zero goals and sustainable development

Speaking at the opening ceremony at the “Inception Conference to develop National Action Plan for implementing Circular Economy in Viet Nam”, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Ha, Tran Hong shared the benefits and importance of the circular economy model, as well as its urgent role in the context of climate change, become worse, Vietnam is working with countries around the world to achieve “zero” net emissions by 2050, as well as the execution of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to a World Meteorological Organization report published in May 2022, four key climate change indicators, including greenhouse gas concentrations, sea-level rise, ocean heat, and ocean acidification, established new records in 2021. The UN also warns that the earth’s ecosystems are continuing to degrade or change; biodiversity is deteriorating faster than at any other time in human history, impeding the SDGs implementation and exacerbating the challenges of climate change, health, food security, and water resources.

To combat climate change and achieve sustainable development, many countries including Vietnam, made significant commitments at COP26 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to reach “zero” net emissions by 2050. The emphasis is on transforming the energy structure to prioritize clean and renewable energy.

In this context, the circular economy is seen as the foundation for creating the “golden key” to assist Vietnam in meeting its Net Zero goal, as well as contributing to mitigating climate change and environmental degradation for sustainable development.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Ha, Tran Hong said “The need for a more effective economic model of resource usage, climate change prevention, pollution reduction, and environmental deterioration is currently an important issue. That is the circular economy.”

kinh-te-tuan-hoanHa Tran Hong, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, gave the conference’s opening speech (Image source: VnEconomy)

According to Minister Ha, Tran Hong, circular economic development displays the nation’s responsibility in fulfilling its climate change commitments while improving the economy’s and businesses’ competitiveness. The circular economy model has many benefits, including helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the value chain; utilizing used materials rather than spending on processing costs; reducing exploitation and making the most of natural resources; reducing emissions and solid waste into the environment. The circular economy helps reduce business risks and the crisis of product overproduction and resource scarcity; it creates incentives to invest, innovate technology, reduce production costs, and expand supply chains… Simultaneously, society will benefit from lower costs in managing, safeguarding the environment, and reacting to climate change, as well as the creation of new markets, opportunities, and employment, as well as improvements in people’s health.

Many recommendations for developing a circular economy model in Vietnam

Many recommendations were given during the Conference to develop the circular economy model in Vietnam. Caitlin Wiesen, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Vietnam, made four recommendations in particular: Vietnam should frame a program for green economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic, with a focus on transforming the economy to circular; promote smart cities and towns; promote sustainable production and consumption; and focus on developing renewable energy to achieve green economic goals.

kinh-te-tuan-hoanRenewable energy should be prioritized for development to meet green economic targets

Meanwhile, Mr. Nghia, Bui Trung, Vice President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry – VCCI, has given five specific short- and long-term recommendations to continue strengthening collaboration between the State, the Government, and Businesses in promoting the circular economy. The recommendations include: (1) developing mechanisms to encourage the transition to a circular economy model; (2) promoting and participating in effective international cooperation in international agreements and commitments on combating climate change and green development; (3) concentrating on building circular economic models in a number of successful sectors and sectors to serve as a basis for dissemination and replication; (4) supporting the approach to public-private partnership investment to mobilize as many stakeholders’ resources as possible; (5) investing in the capacity and role of business representative organizations to enhance their ability to gather and dialogue, comments on improving economic institutions and policies, disseminating legal policies, propagating to raise awareness of the business community about the circular economy, assisting businesses to integrate internationally with high standards…

“Vietnam must establish policies and take real actions to attract and encourage the participation of many economic sectors and communities to promote green development and reduce emissions,” said Mr. Nghia, Bui Trung, Vice President of the VCCI.

On June 28th, 2022, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment coordinated with related units and organized the “Inception Conference to develop National Action Plan for implementing Circular Economy in Viet Nam”. The conference is significant since it is the first time a conference on circular economy has been conducted in Vietnam, with numerous international organizations, businesses, and leading experts on this economic model participating.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) officially launched the Viet Nam Circular Economy Hub as part of the conference. The Viet Nam Circular Economy Hub was established in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the UNDP, with assistance from the Norwegian, Finnish, and Dutch embassies.

Vu Phong Energy Group

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