Environment and Energy
Environmental Management in Viet Nam
The poor are always more affected by environmental degradation. Seventy percent of Vietnamese people earn their living from the land, making them directly dependent on the quality and availability of natural resources. At the same time, a growing population, increased urbanization and rapid economic development are placing increasing pressure on Viet Nam's environment and the people who depend on it.
Forest quality continues to decline, and 700 animal species are now considered endangered. Urban and industrial pollution regularly surpass acceptable limits while, dust in urban areas is at least double maximum levels.
Ensuring the sustainability of the environment is an important target for Viet Nam and one of eight Millennium Development Goals the country has committed to reach by 2015. Given the wide scope of this target, it is difficult to measure. Key conventional indicators do show that Viet Nam may be on track to halt environmental damage, though it’s still a long way from reversing the environmental degradation of the last decade.
A Firm Commitment, a detailed strategy
The Vietnamese Government has put in place a sound legal framework for environmental management, beginning with changes to the constitution in 1992 and later in 1994 with the Law on Environmental Protection. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was recently set up; it including a National Environment Agency, the General Department of Land Administration, and the Hydro-meteorological Service.
The country’s 2001-2010 National Strategy for Environmental Protection identified three broad objectives for national policy:
- Preventing and controlling pollution.
- Protecting, conserving and sustainably using natural resources.
- Improving environmental quality in urban, industrial and rural areas.
The current National Environmental Action Plan (2001-2005) further sets priorities in: sustainable development, solid waste and water management, forest management, and strengthening environmental institutions, environmental education and community participation.
UNDP: Linking poverty reduction to environmental protection
Implementation of this agenda remains a challenge for government agencies, which often lack the capacity, tools and influence to make environmental protection a key factor in economic and social planning.
UNDP Viet Nam recognizes that long-term environmental management is key to sustainable development. It has made a major commitment to provide advocacy, expertise and resources to help Viet Nam’s government and people protect their health and preserve their natural resources. UNDP supports the need for integration of environmental issues into education, investment planning and decision making.
Viet Nam’s rich biodiversity and natural environment must be managed for future generations. Supporting the linkage of poverty reduction and environmental stewardship, UNDP is working with international partners to develop laws, expertise and public awareness. Education and outreach are essential.
UNDP also supports developing more sustainable environmental practices in urban areas, providing people with environmentally-sensitive alternatives for income generation and the development of a National Education Strategy.