On October 25, 2016, a high level meeting on climate change was successfully held in Hanoi. The goal of the meeting was to define more concrete steps on the implementation of the Paris Agreement in Viet Nam. Viet Nam’s National Committee on Climate Change (NCCC), the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNEP) jointly organized the event.
During the meeting, high representatives from the government met with guests from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and various development partners. In his opening speech, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, who chaired the meeting, underlined what threats climate change and disasters pose for Viet Nam. He explained that the phenomenon cost the country roughly 1.9 billion USD per annum. As economic growth constituted an irreplaceable need for Viet Nam, yet also one which contributed to increases in greenhouse gas emissions, the Deputy Prime Minister made clear that a shift to green growth strategies and sustainable development was urgently needed. Initiatives such as the development of a renewable energy program would for instance contribute to the reduction of emissions. Furthermore, Trinh Dinh Dung emphasized the importance of increased resilience to climate change for securing the livelihoods of Viet Nam’s population.
Ms. Pratibha Metha, United Nations-representative in Viet Nam, mentioned the need for evidence- and science-based decisions, for the effectiveness of programmes and the upcoming stocktakes in 2018 and 2023 with the request to show more commitment. Reviewing the proposed Nationally Determined Contributions and research constituted promising starting points for such a more ambitious agenda. At the same time, Pratibha Metha emphasized the high need for adaptation in the light of recent droughts and the worsening effects of increasing salination in the Mekong Delta. She demanded a review of the usage of coal as a primary energy source, and argued that the long term effects of coal use urgently needed to be discussed. Furthermore, she compared Viet Nam’s energy politics with other countries in the region, which are making drastically higher investments in photovoltaic and wind energy. Pratibha Metha closed by emphasizing the link between development, growth and energy demand, and accentuated the potential of renewable energy sources.
Mr Pham Van Tan, team leader of the task force for the development of the Plan for Implementation of the Paris Agreement, presented the just named Plan. The overall objective of the task force was to “identify and implement appropriate activities and solutions until 2020 and 2030 to gradually carry out all provisions of the Paris Agreement that are applicable to Viet Nam.” Specific objectives were related to areas of governance, adaptation, mitigation, transparency (Measuring, Reporting and Verification) and resources.
After these contributions, donor representatives had the opportunity to comment: Participants from the World Bank, the French Development Agency, the European Union, the United States, Germany, Denmark and Canada gave statements, focussing on their specific contributions to Viet Nam’s climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, and on specific risks and challenges for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Remarks included points on the high need for coastal protection, on the importance of private leverage and investment, and on Viet Nam’s responsibility to higher its ambitions to become a regional leader in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Further statements came from representatives of ministries (Finance, Agriculture and Rural Development), and from civil society. The breadth of participants and the variety of voices heard during the high level meeting helped to move Viet Nam a step closer to a successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.