Learning centre set up to foster sustainability

09:18 | 20/06/2015
The Asian Institute of Technology, in conjunction with international development partners, has successfully set up a Vietnam Learning Centre on Environmental and Social Sustainability.

The centre’s main aim is to foster knowledge exchange and capacity building for environmental and social safeguards in Vietnam. It successfully organised the first workshop of their Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Training of Trainers Programme, from June 8-16 at the Asian Institute of Technology Centre in Vietnam (AIT-VN) in Hanoi.

The programme was designed to equip a group of 25 potential trainers with the knowledge required to teach Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), applying World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) policy and guidance.

Based on their performance in the course, a targeted group of trainers, in collaboration with ADB and WB experts, have been selected to conduct training in Vietnamese to the Project Management Unit, local consultants, and others on implementing ESIA. They will continue to train their secondary groups through mentoring and field experience with donor projects.

The initial funding was provided by the Australian government, and in early April, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by other developers that would commit to provide technical support, such as WB, ADB, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and AIT-VN.

“Vietnam has made great strides in recent years to introduce legislation dealing with social and environmental safeguards,” said Tomoyuki Kimura, ADB country director. “The challenge now is to ensure that the country develops the necessary technical skills and capacity to effectively implement its safeguard requirements. ADB is delighted to be supporting the learning center and believes it has a major role to play in developing highly skilled safeguard professionals in Vietnam, and thus contributing to the country’s move towards a path of environmentally sustainable growth.”

Given the surge of investments in the infrastructure sector and Vietnam’s challenges of environmental pollution and climate change related vulnerability, the Center is expected to play a critical role in the long-term capacity building of Vietnam’s development projects.

“Investments in Vietnam’s infrastructure will be more long-lasting and effective, and benefit from a lower risk of serious problems, if Vietnam finds ways to incorporate social and environmental safeguards,” said USAID Vietnam Mission Director Joakim Parker.  “The Center will help provide the country with the latest information and capacity building to achieve this, as will other efforts like USAID’s, in order to support a broader base for decision-making.”

In May, AIT-VN, in collaboration with United Nations Environment, also effectively organised the national workshop on Eco-Innovation in Vietnam, which attracted some 100 participants. The project aims to integrate policy and program production, as well as sustainable consumption, which is deemed beneficial for ecological innovation in existing policy frameworks. It will entice the participation of small and medium business associations, public universities, and other government agencies in Vietnam.

By By Trang Nguyen

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