Position Paper #1: Vietnam and Sustainable Development
Committee: General Assembly Regional Committee
Topic: Sustainable Development
Environmental problems are changing our world as we know it. Scientists, media, politicians and citizens from all over the globe have been more and more aware of that fact. During the last decades, climate change and global warming have been increasingly important issues in the political agendas of every state. The first UN conference on sustainability was the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), or Earth Summit 2002, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. The agreement that resulted from that first conference, the Johannesburg Declaration, is an agreement to focus on the problems that affect worldwide and threaten the sustainable development of the world’s citizens, such as chronic hunger; malnutrition; foreign occupation; armed conflict; illicit drug problems; organized crime; corruption; natural disasters; etc, and in particular HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Sustainability depends on a green economy, which the dictionary defines as “a sustainable economy and society with zero carbon emissions and a one-planet-footprint where all energy is derived from renewable resources.”
Sustainability is relevant throughout Asia since most of the countries are newly industrialized countries with limited technical infrastructure and financial resources. For example, Vietnam has an agriculture-based economy that is becoming more and more industrialized, leading to the building of infrastructure and factories that can emit harmful gases and other substances, threatening the environmental well-being of the ecosystems. Recently, environmental issues have taken greater priority in Vietnam’s political agenda. Vietnam’s Agenda 21 states that “Protection and improvement of environment quality are to be considered as inseparable factors from the development process”. Moreover, the revised Law on Forest Protection and Development approved by the National Assembly in November 2004 provides the general framework for the achievement of a more social and community-based forestry. There is, however, still much work to be done in order to integrate environmental protection into economic and development planning.
Vietnam’s government is aware of the repercussions that environmental problems have for every inhabitant of Earth. We therefore form part of many Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), such as the Conventions on Biodiversity Conversation, Climate Change, Endangered Species (CITES), Ozone Layer Protection (Montreal Protocol), and Kyoto Protocol and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Vietnam agrees with Time magazine’s observation that we can’t “blow it—good planets are hard to find.” All the members of our planet must work together to preserve it for future generations.
Vietnam’s first proposal is based on sustainable industrialization. We uphold the creation of a law requiring every factor built to be maintained at least in half by renewable energies, such as solar or hydroelectric power. Since Vietnam is not a completely developed country, we call upon the UN for financial support to build these power plants. We also propose tax breaks to reward the businesses that use renewable energies to power more than half of their factories. Vietnam, together with other countries, could use Grassroots programs to collect funds. That money could improve knowledge, tools, capacity and coordination for development of climate change policy and investment in Vietnam’s sustainable development. To raise the percent of the sustainable development of aquaculture, Vietnam will raise the fishing production in the form of intensive cultivation, improving the quality of input materials and diversifying markets. Vietnam suggests creating more green areas in order to promote a society more conscious about taking care of the environment. We are also committed to improving the quality, accessibility, and effectiveness of public transportation, so that fewer people will rely on cars or motorbikes. Vietnam will follow all the agreements reached in this conference and we hope our suggestions will be considered as a path to the improvement of our world.