Vietnam-Japan cooperate towards green growth

Vietnam-Japan cooperation in the development of green growth still has enormous untapped potential, heard participants at a seminar themed Vietnam-Japan cooperation towards green growth" in Hanoi on Tuesday, September 12.
Workers at a high-tech farm in HCMC. VNA/VNS Photo

Workers at a high-tech farm in HCMC. VNA/VNS Photo

Vietnam-Japan cooperation in the development of green growth, a cornerstone in the two nations' future economic relations, still has enormous untapped potential, heard participants at a seminar themed: "Vietnam-Japan cooperation towards green growth" in Hanoi on Tuesday, September 12.

The seminar is part of a series of activities leading up to the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Japan (21/9/1973 - 21/9/2023).

The seminar was co-organised by the Vietnam News, the country's English language daily newspaper under the Vietnam News Agency, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Green growth remains one of Vietnam's key objectives in the country's next phase of economic development. Building on the time-tested and strong Vietnam-Japan relationship, during a recent bilateral high-level economic conference, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh stressed the importance of a new direction in the cooperative relationship between the two countries, one with a focus on sustainable development and green growth.

He said sustainable development and green growth have become top priorities among Vietnam's developmental goals, given the challenges of climate change. In addition, pursuing green growth is also about fulfilling its commitments at the COP26 conference and its responsibilities as a member of the international community.

In October 2021, the Prime Minister's Office approved the National Strategy for Green Growth for the 2021-23 period, with a vision to 2025, setting a framework for sustainable development on a nationwide scale with clear objectives, including a harmonious relationship between pursuing economic activities and preserving the environment, leveraging advanced technologies and human resources towards a green economy.

In order to realize said objectives, Vietnam has recognized Japan as a key partner as the advanced East-Asian economy possesses the technologies, experiences and capital investment required.

Speaking at the seminar, Pham Quang Hieu, Ambassador of Vietnam in Japan, said: "Vietnam-Japan bilateral relationship is at its height in the history of the two nations, deserving of an extended strategic partnership built on sincerity, trust and mutual support."

"In the medium and long term toward the goals of 2030-2050, both countries have significant potential for further cooperation in green technology, energy transition and bilateral research collaboration in applying Japanese technology that aligns with Vietnam’s needs and transition roadmap.”

On the other hand, the Japanese government and businesses have identified Vietnam as an important economic partner and among the most attractive investment destinations in the Southeast Asia region.

As of August 2023, Japan has 5,167 active projects with a total registered investment capital of more than US$71 billion. Japan currently ranks third among 143 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

According to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in Vietnam, focusing on green growth will help tackle some of the most pressing issues faced by the Southeast Asian country in the coming decades such as water quality, air pollution, waste treatment, recycling, energy saving and carbon emission.

JETRO advised the Vietnamese government to implement stricter environmental protection regulations soon, extend manufacturers' environmental responsibilities, especially in waste treatment and recycling, and speed up the country's transition to renewable energies including solar, wind, biomass and hydro, as well as upgrade the national power grid to conserve and reduce power loss.

Japan has reaffirmed support for Vietnam in its Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, a set of self-defined national climate pledges under the Paris Agreement, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The agency has been working closely with the Vietnamese agencies to bolster Vietnam's ability to plan and implement carbon emission reduction, and towards the country's net-zero goal.

JICA said key areas of interest include water resource management, collaboration with agriculture firms, improving human living conditions, and the application of modern technologies to help mitigate adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters.

In addition, the agency highlighted bilateral cooperation in the development of renewable energy projects including the Da Nhim Hydropower Plant, the Ham Thuan-Da Mi Hydropower Plant, the Thac Mo Hydropower Plant, the Dai Ninh Hydropower Plant the Tay Ninh Solar power Plant, the Phu Yen Solar power Plant and the Quang Tri Wind power Plant with a total output of 1,588MW.

According to the World Bank's data, Vietnam ranks 8th among the top 10 countries with the highest investment in renewable energy in the world, with a total capital of $7.4 billion. The country's renewable energy development rate currently ranks 4th in the world.

According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), in terms of boosting green growth, the country's transition to wind and solar power alone could contribute $70-80 billion to GDP annually and create about 90,000-105,000 jobs; the hydrogen ecosystem based on renewable energy could contribute $40-45 billion to GDP annually and create 40,000-50,000 jobs.

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