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Việt Nam looks to new national strategy for environmental protection in the new era

HÀ NỘI — A draft national strategy for environmental protection from 2021-30 was focused on fighting sources of pollution while boosting a low-carbon emission economy, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE).

The idea is to help Việt Nam realise the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

In 2012, the first national strategy for environmental protection with a vision towards 2030 was launched.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Võ Tuấn Nhân said the strategy had created positive changes to environmental protection awareness. The Government had stuck to the principle of not sacrificing the environment to reach its economic development goals.

However, according to the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment (IPONRE), environmental pollution would continue due to weak management of solid waste and pollution sources in industrial zones, river basins and traditional handicraft villages.

Environmental quality had continued to deteriorate, especially air and water quality in urban areas. Environmental incidents such as the mass fish deaths in Hà Tĩnh in 2016, mercury contamination caused by a fire at a lightbulb company in Hà Nội last year, and contamination of the Đà River that affected thousands of people in the capital in 2019.

Response to these incidents had been passive, according to the environmental ministry.

Dr Nguyễn Trung Thắng from IPONRE said the implementation of the national strategy for environmental protection had its shortcomings.

“Việt Nam has been unable to control sources of pollution,” he told a conference last November to review the strategy.

According to the MONRE, increasingly severe climate change required new solutions. The draft was presented for the first time at a conference last November which reviewed the strategy’s implementation.

The ministry is working on the draft and collecting feedback.

Deputy Minister Võ Tuấn Nhân said the national strategy for environmental protection needed to consider the environment as the foundation for socio-economic development, and focus on financial sources from the State budget and private sector.

The draft strategy includes stiffer fines for environmental violations.

One of the most important solutions proposed is to reform administrative procedures towards transparency in order to encourage private enterprises to invest in environmental protection.

It also calls for improving air quality in cities, managing toxic and solid waste, preventing biodiversity deterioration, and responding to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. — VNS

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