Sustainable economy: green growth in Viet Nam

Viet Nam’s Government has set itself the goal of making its economic growth sustainable. Working towards the 2030 Agenda, it is linking economic, environmental and social development.

Viet Nam’s economy is booming. The country has come a long way since it opened up to global markets in the 1980s. Rapid development has taken millions of people out of poverty. Yet there are downsides: environmental damage has assumed dramatic proportions, with heavy use of resources, serious air pollution and polluted soils and waterways.

To tackle these challenges, the Government needs to integrate economic, environmental and social development more closely. This underpins the ‘integrated approach’ taken by the 2030 Agenda, which has been adopted by the international community as target image for sustainable development. Viet Nam, too, has plans to integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development more closely.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting the country in its political reforms. The objective is green growth, and the Government has adopted a strategy and an action plan. For example, it has introduced an environmental tax, levied among other things on coal, petrol and certain chemicals. Revenue from this tax rose fivefold between 2012 and 2018 to around USD 2.1 billion. The use of natural resources is becoming more expensive, so investment in green and more efficient technologies is becoming more attractive. GIZ is advising the Vietnamese Government on legal issues and facilitating exchange with international experts.

Both the state and the private sector have to be involved in economic growth. For example, the Government is bringing its public finances up to date to enable it to plan further ahead and make more efficient use of public funds. With the financial involvement of the European Union, GIZ and its partners have provided training for more than 5,000 civil servants since 2015. A further priority area is mobilising more private funds. 26 banks in the country are issuing green loans, which facilitate investment in areas such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and organic agriculture.

To link green growth with social policy, it has embedded special impact assessments in the political process. Political projects are analysed for their impact in areas including poverty, health care and gender equality. GIZ has lent its support in investigating why employees opt out of the social security system, for example. These impact assessments make it possible to take the groups affected and the results of new legislation into account more effectively.

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