Call to double ‘green” funding

Published: 11/06/2011 05:00



Viet Nam Environmental Administration asked the National Assembly yesterday to
consider doubling annual State expenditures on environmental protection

Workers of the Ha Noi Housing
Development and Investment Corporation clean up the dirt of the renovation of
the Son Tay ancient citadel’s trench in Son Tay Town, Ha Noi. (Photo: VNS)

Hoang Duong Tung, deputy director
of the administration which is under the Ministry of Natural Resources and
Environment, said the State’s annual expenses on environmental protection
accounted for only 1 per cent of its total spending in 2006, a rate that remains

In his speech at the conference to
announce the ministry’s 2010 National Environment Report, Tung said the State
spent VND6.59 trillion (US$314 million) on environmental activities in 2010.
Though it was nearly twice as high as the 2009 figure, it was still unable to
satisfy actual demand for dealing with the rising number of pressing environment

The sum only accounted for 0.4 per
cent of the country’s GDP. In China and ASEAN countries, annual investment for
environmental activities generally accounts for between 2 and 3 per cent of GDP.

Minister of Natural Resources and
Environment Pham Khoi Nguyen said Viet Nam had gained many socio-economic
achievements over the past year and an average economic growth rate of 7.2 per

However, economic growth combined
with the rapidly growing population and urbanisation rate were challenging
environmental protection, he said.

With 86.9 million people in 2010,
Viet Nam’s population ranks third in Southeast Asia and the country has one of
the highest population densities in the world, according to the report.

The natural environment was only
capable of dealing with a finite amount of waste, meaning the rapid rise in
population and untreated waste discharged into the environment could make it
impossible for the environment to clean itself and recover.

In addition, capital had not been
disbursed or used efficiently and some localities even used the money for other
purposes, Tung said.

Inefficient use of the funds could
be attributed to the fact that capital allocation in many localities was carried
out without the participation of local departments of Natural Resources and
Environment or the supervision of local People’s Councils at all levels.

According to the report, of among
eight targets set for the 2006-10 period only one was fulfilled: residents in
rural areas to access clean water. In that period, the percentage of people
living in rural areas who had access to clean water rose to 79 per cent, while
the target was 75 per cent.

The five-year plan also targets to
have 100 per cent of all industrial and processing zones equipped with
standardised waste water treatment systems, but as of 2009 only 60 per cent of
the zones achieved the target, which made it the worst performing target.

Under these circumstances, the
environmental administration suggested that policies to encourage more
investment in the natural resources and environment sector should be developed.

The agency also asked for the
completion of legal documents on environmental protection, the improvement of
pollution management efficiency, a rise in public awareness as well as expansion
of international co-operation.

A representative from the Central
Institute for Economic Management stressed the increase of environmental
protection expenses would not work without enhancing environmental governance.

Luu Duc Hai, head of the
Environment Science Faculty under the University of Natural Science said the
environmental observation system must be modernised in order to provide a
precise database for assessment.

He said State money should also be
focused on developing human resources to help maintain the diversity of natural
resources and reduce the risk of environmental pollution.

Nam News

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