Mangrove forest in Viet Nam

Environment and climate Reconciling ecological, social and economic interests

Viet Nam suffered decades of war and destruction. The resulting deforestation, land contamination and reduced biodiversity are still evident today. Moreover, the rapid economic development of the past few decades has resulted in serious environmental degradation.

The excessive exploitation of natural resources, along with air, water and soil pollution, and the uncontrolled disposal of waste have reached alarming levels. This has resulted in severe water shortage, erosion, and salinisation of the Mekong Delta.

Viet Nam also has enormous levels of plastic waste. Due to inadequate recycling, part of this waste ends up in the world's oceans through the Mekong, one of the largest rivers in the world. Carbon emissions, too, have significantly increased over the last few years. Environmental challenges in rural regions are reinforcing the rural exodus, which is in turn exacerbating problems in metropolitan areas.

Houses by the Mekong river

Houses by the Mekong river

Houses by the Mekong river

Climate change

In the future, Viet Nam will have to contend with the effects of climate change, in particular in its coastal regions. The typhoon season has become longer, which is already leading to more frequent flooding and storm damage in southern and central Viet Nam. Various climate scenarios suggest that an increase in the number and intensity of such disasters must be expected for the near future. In the Mekong Delta, natural events of this kind hit a densely populated region, with severe effects for the living conditions of local people.

Putting climate action on the political agenda

As a result of growing environmental awareness and the visible effects of climate change, the government now attaches great importance to environmental protection and climate action. At the COP26 climate conference in November 2021, Viet Nam announced that, with international support, it seeks to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and exit from coal by the end of the 2040s. This will also have an influence on the revision of national climate strategies and decarbonisation plans, which are to be based on the national climate change strategy to 2050, which is Viet Nam's first political framework to outline a net zero emission trajectory for the period up to 2050.

In order to improve coordination between ministries and relevant stakeholders, a steering committee has been set up under the leadership of the Prime Minister.

As at: 22/06/2022