Ho Chi Minh City seeks balance between green and economic concerns

September 16, 2023 | 09:00
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Ho Chi Minh City, accounting for nearly 23.3 per cent of Vietnam's total greenhouse gas emissions, seeks transformative strategies to shift towards a sustainable economy while remaining the country's dominant economic powerhouse.
Ho Chi Minh City seeks balance between green and economic concerns
The Independence Palace, Ho Chi Minh City

Contributing to approximately one-fifth of the nation's GDP and over a quarter of the national budget, Ho Chi Minh City stands as a vital cog in the Vietnamese economic machinery. Moreover, the city attracts the lion's share of the nation's foreign direct investment (FDI) and controls a formidable 30 per cent of the country's businesses.

“However, its accomplishments come with an environmental caveat; it emits the highest greenhouse gases in Vietnam, totalling 57.6 million tonnes, making up 23.3 per cent of the country's emissions,” said Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai during the fourth Ho Chi Minh City Economic Forum on September 15, 2023.

"At its core, the city's economy has progressed linearly without adequate greening. While there have been significant strides in environmental conservation, many concerns remain and more proactive steps are necessary," the DPM added.

DPM Khai emphasised three primary areas of focus for the forum: shared learning and collective action, financial and technological collaborations, and post-forum continuity.

Khai appealed to relevant departments to listen, discuss and learn from the experiences and proposals of businesses.

Special attention was directed towards urban characteristics, population scale, and the dynamic nature of the Ho Chi Minh City economy, making it an ideal testing ground for policies promoting a green and circular economy.

Businesses see this as a prime opportunity to re-evaluate traditional business models, approach new business ventures, and boldly collaborate and marshal resources for the long term.

"The citizen's awareness plays a pivotal role. After the forum, there's a need for more detailed, understandable, and relevant information dissemination, aiming to genuinely shift towards green consumption, energy conservation, environmental protection, and a future sustainable economy," he said.

During the forum's inauguration, Secretary Ho Chi Minh City's Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen highlighted significant global challenges faced by Ho Chi Minh City and many other cities, ranging from climate change and traffic congestion, to environmental issues.

In building a new trajectory towards sustainable growth, Ho Chi Minh City is diligently drafting a green economic development strategy up to 2030, and beyond. It places citizens and businesses at the heart of this transformation. There's a concentrated focus on developing green resources, infrastructure, behaviours, and pioneering sectors.

"Following the forum, the city will consider expert opinions and learn from experienced countries to swiftly refine its strategic framework and implementation plans. Emphasis is also being laid on bolstering investment in renewable energy, reducing greenhouse effects, and developing green public transportation systems. The city is initiating measures to create a conducive environment for businesses to join hands in building a green-growing economy towards net-zero emissions," Nen said.

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By Lam Tien

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