After five years of efforts to carry out the international commitment on climate change and reduction of greenhouse gas emission, Vietnam completed the update on Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), and sent it to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) amidst the complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic. In its update, Vietnam said it ha decided to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 9 percent by 2030, 1 percentage point higher than the target set in 2015. This could be further brought to 27 percent with international support through bilateral and multilateral cooperation and mechanisms under the Paris Agreement.
Vietnam completes updated NDC amidst COVID-19 outbreak
According to Tang The Cuong, Director of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Department of Climate Change, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, adopted at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21), is the first ever universal and legally-binding global climate change document that brings all nations into a common cause to cut greenhouse gas emission – the primary cause of the earth’s rapid climate change.
The Paris Agreement requires all parties to put forward their best efforts through the NDC to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead. Its most important regulations are on the parties’ responsibilities for developing and implementing their NDCs; monitoring and evaluating and providing financial and technological resources, and strengthening capacity for the implementation of NDCs. Each country provides information in its NDC on the efforts it will undertake contributing to global response to climate change, in the context of current socio-economic conditions and future projections. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) joined hands with competent ministries and sectors to update the NDC based on the nation’s certain condition, Cuong said, adding they worked to ensure the updated document’s targets are feasible.
Receiving the Prime Minister’s approval on July 24, 2020, the updated NDC was then sent to the UNFCC Secretariat on September 11, the time when Vietnam was working on its dual task of preventing the coronavirus outbreak and developing the economy.
In its updated NDC, Vietnam has reviewed and updated contributions to the mitigation and adaptation to make them more in line with the current situation and socio-economic development forecasts up to 2030, while ensuring that NDC implementation objectives is in line with the objectives of the country’s Socio-Economic Development Strategy, National Climate Change Strategy, Vietnam Green Growth Strategy, and Strategy for Natural Disaster Prevention, Response and Mitigation.
As compared to the NDC submitted in 2015, the update raises emission reduction target to combat climate change. To be more specific, in its latest NDC, Vietnam seeks to reduce carbon emissions by 83.9 million tonnes instead of the earlier 62.7 million tonnes through indigenous efforts. Vietnam’s contribution can be increased to 27 percent, or 250.8 million tonnes of CO2eq as compared to previous 198.2 million tonnes.
Cuong said as a country clobbered by climate change, its updated NDC manifests the nation’s utmost efforts to contribute to mitigating the global climate change. An array of actions have been carried out in the country in response to the climate change, including developing the low-carbon economy, promoting green growth, and strengthening potential measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the fields of energy, transport, and agriculture, among others. The Vietnamese Government has taken climate change response as a vital issue. Carrying out the updated NDC is the responsibility of both state and enterprises.
International community hails Vietnam’s efforts
In her letter to the MoNRE, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa highly valued Vietnam’s efforts in reviewing and updating the NDC in line with the COP21’s regulation in the context of immensely complicated pandemic. She described Vietnam’s preparation for the NDC submission as really amazing.
“Despite COP26 being postponed to November 2020 due to COVID-19, we must not forget that climate change remain as the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term. Vietnam’s strategic planning and sustained commitments to ambitious climate change actions and the Paris Agreement’s targets are greatly appreciated,” she stressed. Meanwhile, in a letter to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha on September 15, Global Director of NDC Partnership Support Unit Pablo Vieira highlighted that Vietnam has shown great leadership within the Partnership, driving forward more ambitious global climate action. “As the Partnership focuses on accelerating collaborative climate action led by our member countries, we look forward to working with the Government of Vietnam, through the MoNRE and the Ministry of Planning and Investment as focal points, on the implementation of Vietnam’s updated NDC in line with the country’s sustainable development goals. We stand ready to support Vietnam on the establishment of an NDC implementation on Support Mechanism, and on coordination and mobilisation of partners support for priority needs and gaps. “We are confident that Vietnam’s updated NDC will inspire out members to similarly raise ambition and accelerate action in the global fight against climate change, through a comprehensive whole-of government approach and involving a wide range of sectors,” he wrote.
In a writing posted on its website on September 17, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) said Vietnam’s 2020 NDC clarifies loss and damage and outlines contributions to advancing Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No.13 on climate action, SDG No.11 on sustainable cities and communities, and SDG No.12 on responsible consumption and production. It stated Vietnam updated its mitigation and adaptation contributions, noting co-benefits and synergies with the SDGs, and provided information on implementation impact and progress.
Vietnam pursues Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha highlighted Vietnam’s efforts in response to climate change, while sharing contents of the updated NDC with foreign ambassadors. He also sent letters to the UN Resident Coordinator for Vietnam and foreign ambassadors who are interested in Vietnam’s contribution to slashing down greenhouse gas emission in the updated document. He also expressed his hope to receive further international support and cooperation to carry out the updated NDC for SDGs.
Ha affirmed as a developing country with limited resources, Vietnam has pursued sustainable development goals, adding developing low-carbon economy and promoting the formation of a circular economy have been a key in the national strategies. Particularly, developing low-carbon economy which is resilient to climate change was institutionalised in the amended Environment Protection Law to be submitted to the National Assembly this year.
“In the coming time, Vietnam will work more to implement concrete strategies, plans and actions, such as reducing the use of fossil fuels and pushing the development of renewable energy, green finance, and carbon market in the future. The efforts are expected to contribute to carrying out the updated NDC from 2021,” he affirmed.
In response to climate change, Vietnam has splashed out billions of USD on natural disaster prevention and recovery. Regarding greenhouse gas emission reduction, the country issued a wide range of policies and regulations like Decree No.24-NQ/TW, the Politburo’s Conclusion No.56-KL/TW, and the Politburo’s Decision No.55-NQ/TW on orientation of national energy development strategy by 2030 with vision until 2045. With the updated NDC, Vietnam rolled out measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and harmonise benefits between the climate actions and sustainable development. To date, Vietnam is one of the few countries in the world increasing contributions to greenhouse gas emission reduction in the updated NDC…