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|As one of the most vulnerable to climate change, Vietnam has an important role to play at COP26|
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will attend the United Nations’ COP26 climate change conference, “strongly demonstrating a message that Vietnam is a responsible and active member in joining hands with the international community in dealing with shared challenges in climate change, and helping the international community have better understanding about Vietnam’s policies, determination, and efforts in fighting against climate change, as well as the country’s difficulties and challenges in responding to it.”
It is expected that at COP26, Vietnam will make a commitment on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Within COP26, PM Chinh and Vietnam’s delegation will hold bilateral meetings with leaders of some nations, international organisations, and important partners during November 1-2, in order to further strengthen the cooperation between Vietnam and them, especially in responding to climate change, policy consultancy, and beefing up trade ties.
Pham Van Tan, vice director of the Department of Climate Change under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said that while being heavily vulnerable to climate change, Vietnam has become one of the nations with relatively high GHG emissions, currently ranking 21st globally and second within ASEAN, just after Indonesia.
“This is a fact, though we don’t want it,” Tan said. “This has made Vietnam important at COP26, and the nation will receive more attention from the international community. Vietnam’s experience in responding to climate change will likely be studied by many nations.”
He said that Vietnam’s efforts in reducing GHG emissions will make a significant contribution to global efforts, and many nations with the same development level as Vietnam could take the chance to see what this country is doing to combat climate change.
COP26 is expected to be partaken in by about 30,000 delegates from nearly 200 nations, including more than 100 leaders of nations and many others from large international organisations.
The climate crisis will continue to happen, if left unattended, and adverse impacts will become more and more serious. According to a report published at the end of 2020 by the McKinsey Global Institute, due to the impact of climate change, Southeast Asian countries will lose about 8-13 per cent of GDP each year until 2050.
Vietnam is one of the countries heavily affected by climate change, which has already become an existing reality with widespread impacts across the regions. The climate is becoming increasingly harsh and unpredictable, and natural disasters are increasing in both intensity and level. Floods, high tides, droughts, saltwater intrusion, water scarcity, and landslides partly caused by climate change also continuously occur in regions across the country and cause more damage every year.
Over the past 50 years, the average temperature in Vietnam has increased about 0.5-0.7 degrees Celsius, and the sea level has risen about 2cm.
Vietnam’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution from September 2020 stated that the country will reduce its GHG emissions with its own domestic resources by 9 per cent by 2030, and by up to 27 per cent with international support.
Vietnam also aims to improve adaptation efficiency through strengthening state management and resources; enhance resilience and adaptive capacity of communities, economic sectors and ecosystems; and reduce disaster risks and minimise damage.
At a May meeting with British MP Alok Sharma, the COP26 President who was on a visit to Vietnam, PM Chinh reaffirmed that Vietnam regards green growth as a key goal in its sustainable development strategy. It is transforming its economy into a green one in a stable, harmonious, and effective manner, taking into account employment and the lives of workers in the transition.
“Vietnam is responsible towards cooperating with and implementing international commitments regarding climate change,” said PM Chinh, adding that the country is willing to work closely with the United Kingdom and other partners to ensure the success of the conference.
PM Chinh expressed hope that the conference will pledge a stronger commitment to support developing countries, especially in accessing financial resources and technology, as well as in implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
While attending COP26, PM Chinh will also pay a working visit to the UK and an official visit to France, both aiming at further cooperation between Vietnam and these two nations in many sectors, with a focus on both trade and investment.