Ten notable natural resources and environment events of Vietnam in 2019

Saturday, 2020-01-11 17:31:38
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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (C) and delegates walk to call for the international community's joint efforts in combating plastic waste.
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NDO – Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha recently signed a decision to announce the ten most talked-about events of Vietnam’s natural resources and environment sector in 2019.

Accordingly, among the environmental issues of the past year, the Da River water contamination was the most serious incident that received a “red alert” from the minister concerning water security. The incident triggered a clean water crisis in a number of places across Hanoi for more than half a month.

In addition, air pollution, with days of air quality dropping to bad levels, and even receiving an “urgent health warning”, happened in big cities nationwide, adversely impacting public health, especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Thus far, ministries, sectors and localities have been struggling to work out solutions to control the situation.

The following are the ten notable events of the natural resources and environment sector in 2019:

Efforts made to realise commitments on handling plastic pollution

A series of domestic and international moves were implemented in 2019, including the signing of a letter of intent between the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and the World Economic Forum on cooperation in dealing with plastic waste, and the establishment of an alliance to end plastic waste.

Notably, the Prime Minister attended and directed the launching ceremony of an anti-plastic waste campaign in Hanoi in June 2019, and continued to affirm Vietnam’s consistent policy of economic development going hand in hand with environmental protection. Hailing environmental protection as one of the three sustainable development pillars, the PM called for the community to join hands in combating plastic waste, towards a Vietnam without single-use plastics in 2025.

Creating a strong transformation in implementing solutions to sustainably develop the Mekong Delta

On September 5, 2019, the Prime Minister issued Directive No. 23/CT-TTg on stepping up the implementation of Resolution No. 120/NQ-CP, aiming to enhance efforts of all levels and sectors in the face of the dual impacts of climate change and human life; to strengthen coordination institutions, regional links and resources; and to mobilise the participation of businesses and the private sector together with appropriate financial mechanisms to implement programmes and projects on infrastructure in service of large-scale transformation and sustainable development in the Mekong Delta region.

Previously, the PM issued a master action programme on the implementation of Resolution No. 120/NQ-CP with six groups of key and specific tasks, while chairing a conference in June 2019 to review the outcomes of the two-year implementation of the resolution in Ho Chi Minh City with many strategic directions and solutions.

Vietnam’s hydro-meteorological industry affirms its history of establishment and development

In 2019, the permanent representative of Vietnam was elected by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to hold the position of Vice President of the WMO’s Region II (Asia), while participating in the agenda of the 18th session of the WMO Congress.

Heat waves appeared more frequently in 2019, the WMO reported, stating that El Nino and climate change led to an increase in the number of global sunny spells, with prolonged duration and high levels of severity in many areas of the Americas, Europe and Australia.

Many environmental incidents and problems arise, directly affecting the people

Air pollution causes bad impacts in some areas of Hanoi.

2019 saw the emergence of a number of environmental incidents which directly affected the lives of the people, including the Rang Dong light bulb warehouse fire in Hanoi that caused air and water pollution; waste discharging into the Da River that resulted in polluted water supplies and caused a crisis of clean water in many districts of Hanoi; and serious air pollution spells in big cities that adversely affected the people’s health and living environments.

Vietnam brilliantly fulfills the role of Chair of the MRC Joint Committee

Over the past year, Vietnam joined the member countries of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to step up the effective implementation of commitments in the Siem Reap Declaration 2018, to implement the Basin Development Strategy (BDS) based on integrated water resources management for 2016-2020 and the MRC’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020, and to update the BDS for the next 10 years and the strategies on sustainable hydropower development and drought management.

In addition, Vietnam also issued comments and forecasts regarding drought and water shortages in the 2019-2020 dry season, while supporting agencies and localities regarding the issues of landslides, subsidence and saltwater intrusion through reports, research and development of response solutions.

Debut of Vietnam’s nationwide GPS stations

For the first time, Vietnam invested in and operated a network of satellite positioning stations (VNGeoNet) that constantly log and process satellite-based GPS data, with 65 Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) stations covering the entire country and one data processing centre in Hanoi. Geolocation data that the stations receive from satellites around the clock are transferred to the centre in Hanoi to be processed, which will then be fed to VNGeoNet users in real-time via 3G or 4G networks with high accuracy.

In 2019, the MONRE also finalised the measurement and mapping work on land border demarcation and market planting between Vietnam and Cambodia in service of the signing of a “Supplementary Treaty to the 1985 Treaty on the Delimitation of National Boundaries and the 2005 Supplementary Treaty” and a “protocol on land border demarcation and marker planting” between the two countries in October 2019.

Completing a set of groundwater resource maps on a national scale

Following the national hydrogeological map established in 1987 at a scale of 1:500,000, this is the first time Vietnam has obtained such a specialised set of maps in the field of groundwater resources, which are updated and supplemented with available data & information sources nationwide. The concepts and the methods of calculating the forecast water resources, exploitable reserves, storage volumes and storage reserves have been updated in accordance with the latest viewpoints and scientific achievements of the world.

Vietnam has four new ASEAN Heritage Gardens

The Vu Quang National Park in Ha Tinh Province is one of the four new ASEAN Heritage Gardens of Vietnam.

In 2019, Vietnam had four Heritage Gardens recognised by ASEAN, including the Vu Quang National Park in Ha Tinh Province, the Bidoup Nui Ba National Park in Lam Dong Province, the Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum, and the Lo Go-Xa Mat National Park in the southern province of Tay Ninh. To date, Vietnam has 10 ASEAN Heritage Gardens, the largest number in ASEAN.

Completing targets on implementing e-Government during 2019-2020 and administrative reforms

In the past year, the MONRE completed the e-Government building targets set in the Government’s Resolution No. 17/NQ-CP one year ahead of schedule, and was also the first ministry to approve the e-Government Architecture Version 2.0.

In addition, the MONRE successfully applied many information and database systems to adapt the traditional working ways to an electronic network environment, while closely associating the application of information technology, the reforms of administrative procedures and the improvement of service quality.

Localities actively involved in environmental protection activities, towards sustainable development

Da Nang City summarised 10 years of implementing the project “Da Nang – Environmental City”. Over the past decade, the people of Da Nang have been determined, unanimous and united in performing many tasks and action programmes aiming to improve the quality of environmental protection based on the trend of urban development, in the context of global integration, development and the impacts of climate change.

Many rural environmental protection works were invested in, and the quality of the environment improved significantly.

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