Japan continues assisting Vietnam in environment protection

11:15 | 08/12/2015
Mori Mutsuya, chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Vietnam gives his assessment of the efficiency of Japanese assistance in Vietnam’s environmental protection, as well as the opportunities to deepen business relations in this field. Bich Ngoc reports.

What are the main activities of JICA Vietnam in the field of environmental protection?

JICA has been implementing many projects to assist Vietnam in its initiative for environmental protection in areas such as air pollution management, water quality improvement, waste management and climate change mitigation.

While the technical assistance project on air pollution management has just been finalised in March 2015, JICA still continues working with the Ministry of National Resources and Environment (MoNRE) to set up related decrees and circulars to standards and regulations on environment to standardise Vietnamese environmental policy.

Among these are draft regulations targeting emission cuts from thermal power plants – one of the largest sources of environmental pollution. These regulations and standards are expected to be issued in 2015 and 2016.

Japan is also actively participating in the field of managing water environment. Based on the results released from finished technical assistance projects, JICA has been coordinating with the MoNRE to set up an inter-provincial mechanism to manage river basins.

In the field of solid waste management, JICA is implementing a technical assistance project with the Ministry of Construction to improve and draw up policies on waste management at the national level, and review both the environmental and financial solutions employed in the solid waste management plan of Hanoi. The lessons will be utilised in the drafting of the project to build suitable solid waste landfills in Hanoi and in Thua Thien Hue province.

JICA  is also engaged in a continuous policy dialogue with the Vietnamese government on our programme to support policies on climate change and continuously exchange views on the implementation of related policies until 2020.

In the coming time, JICA will continue helping Vietnam to strike balance between sustainable development and environmental protection.


It could be beneficial to provide favourable tax incentives to enterprises  which are effectively reducing their greenhouse emission

What do you think about the efficiency of JICA projects  in greenhouse gas emission reduction and climate change mitigation?

Although the Vietnamese government has been rather active in its response to these threats and has implemented a range of related projects, many issues still remain and must be considered.

In the future, Vietnam needs to further strengthen its regulation framework to set up a national reduction target decided by the nation (INDC - Intended Nationally Determined Contribution) and consider widening the range of solutions to strategically implement these targets.

The Vietnamese government has been strongly focusing on climate change and has initiated many currently active implementation procedures to tackle the threat.

During the past five years the Vietnamese government has initiated a number of  policies to inspect issues related to climate change.

What are the most pressing issues related to greenhouse gas emission and climate change? In your view, what line of actions should Vietnam purse to mitigate or prevent these?

The most pressing issue is an apparent disharmony in state regulation. While the green growth strategy is the mandate of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the climate change responding strategy belongs under MoNRE competence. Vietnamese policy makers should focus on setting up  a policy to synchronise and monitor the harmonisation of the two plans via the National Committee for Climate Change.

To implement solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emission enterprises will have to invest an extra sum. This investment does not bring direct benefits, therefore they have been unwilling to do so.

In this regard, I am of the opinion that encouraging policies must be mapped out to push enterprises into joining the programme to cut emissions. For example, it could be beneficial to provide favourable tax incentives to enterprises  which are effectively reducing their greenhouse emission.

Parallel with encouragement, the government should lay out fines to enterprises which violate environmental regulations.

JICA has recently provided assistance  to Vietnam in the form of step loans via the Vietnam Development Bank to promote energy-saving technologies.

This assistance was provided to some cement plants and small sized power plants in Vietnam.

Apart from that, I think, a number of  sectors should be given priority in applying energy saving solutions, such as green buildings and infrastructure.

Despite Vietnam has taken its first steps in emission management by the implementation of legal policies and regulations, the government still needs to consider economic solutions which can maximise effectiveness in the reduction efforts.

An illustrious example of an economic solution to emission management was the introduction of the carbon tax.

How do you see the future of Japanese-Vietnamese corporate cooperation in the field of green development?

I think that the Joint Credit Mechanism, which is now implemented in Japan, is based on effective cooperation with Japanese enterprises.

Within the framework of this mechanism Japanese companies will transfer low carbon and GHG emission reduction technologies to their Vietnamese counterparts.

However, we have to re-evaluate whether this technology transfer will strengthen the competitiveness in the international market.

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