Norway will accompany Viet Nam to achieve the goal of green and sustainable economic recovery

Ambassador of Norway to Viet Nam Grete Lochen shared her views on Vietnamese government's strong commitment to a sustainable green economic recovery that benefits for everyone.
Việt Nam theo đuổi tiến trình phục hồi kinh tế xanh và bao trùm
Ambassador of Norway to Viet Nam Grete Lochen talking with The World & Viet Nam Report. (Photo: Tuan Anh)

Talking with The World & Viet Nam Report on the sidelines of the International Conference “Green and Inclusive Economic Rebound: Lessons from International Experience” in Ha Noi on February 25, Ambassador of Norway to Viet Nam Grete Lochen expressed her impression of Viet Nam's determination and strong commitment to recover a green and inclusive economy.

Participating in the International Conference “Green and Inclusive Economic Rebound: Lessons from International Experience”, what do you think about the Vietnamese Government's strong commitment to green economic recovery after the pandemic?

This shows the intention of the Vietnamese Government to build back steady, green and inclusive and to follow up their ambitious commitments from the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP 26) in Glasgow (UK) last year. It’s highly commendable. However, we all know that the proof in the pudding is the ability to implement the policies.

The pandemic has been affecting everyone and the vulnerable people including women, children, migrant workers, the poor, persons with disabilities… have been disproportionately impacted. To recover from the pandemic, we need to include everyone to come up with solutions that work for everyone. Only by doing this, would the economic rebound outcome be sustainable and just.

We cannot overlook the important role of the private sector in this transition process. While the Government has to make policies and prioritize resources and budget on the pandemic’s socio-economic and health impacts which are equitable and just, the private sector will have a role to play not only by assisting the Government to shape the recovery policies but also, taking one example, creating more jobs, particularly for the vulnerable groups such as women and the poor. This is very important.

This is the chance for Viet Nam to build back better and greener, to shift towards a green, circular, low-carbon development model. The key is getting the legislation right and creating a fair level playing field with predictable policies in order to attract domestic and foreign investment.

In climate change response, particularly in clean energy development, infrastructure and the management of water and other natural resources are very important in order for the country to fulfil its commitment of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Norway is among the world’s leaders in the use of renewable energy, green technologies and sustainable/innovative resource handling. Can you share Norway’s experiences in green economic rebound?

It’s all about having a holistic approach which means a government-wide approach together with active participation from industries and civil society. As we are all facing the same health and climate crises, international cooperation is the key for us to build back green and sustainable.

In Norway, the Paris Agreement is the starting point for us to build economic recovery measures/solutions. First, Norway has strengthened our NDCs (national determined contributions) significantly in order to shape our climate actions and sustainable development plans.

Second, policies and solutions should be win-win to facilitate both the economy and climate change.

The green transition is of course not straightforward but sometimes very painful, creating debates and disagreements on what are the best approach and policies. What is very encouraging is that more and more Norwegian businesses are seeing good business opportunities in the green transition. It’s not any longer just the right thing to do but the smart thing in economic terms.

Technologies and technology-based smart solutions have proved to be a key factor in boosting green recovery. In Norway, we especially focus on developing policies that can create jobs and help build green technologies at the same time.

Substantial budget amounts have been set aside for research, piloting and implementation of green transition projects in various industries such as green shipping, renewable energy, battery storage, lower emission processes, and circular economy solutions in, for example, waste management.

In Norway, we promote the multi-stakeholder approach where the Government, academia, private sector and civil society work with each other on policies and measures. As you can see from the event today, our companies always stand side by side with the Government in this process.

Norway will accompany Viet Nam to achieve the goal of green and sustainable economic recovery
Ambassador Grete Lochen introduced to Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh the messages that Norway wanted to convey at the exhibition.

What Norway has been doing in Viet Nam to assist this process?

Learning from each other, sharing experiences and helping each other is necessary. The Government of Norway has been funding various projects in Viet Nam and through our sector dialogue partnership with ASEAN to push for a sustainable ocean economy, including an ASEAN-wide Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge (EPPIC) to combat plastic waste in the coastal cities of Ha Long Bay (Viet Nam) and Koh Samui (Thailand) and then in the Philippines and Indonesia. Some of the innovative solutions were presented in the exhibition area of the conference.

"I believe our companies are ready to bring their world-leading technologies and excellence in those sectors to Viet Nam... This is really important when governments around the world including Norway and Viet Nam have made commitments to promote a “green recovery” and the Vietnamese Government has pledged that Viet Nam would achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. We are here not only for the business purpose, we are here to assist Vietnam in implementing these commitments”, said Commercial Counsellor of Norwegian Embassy in Viet Nam, Arne-Kjetil Lian.

Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have also been implementing a Project Scaling up a socialized model of domestic waste and plastic management (DWP5C), aiming to develop integrated, green, and fair models to improve domestic waste and plastic management in five Vietnamese localities including Quang Ninh, Binh Duong, Binh Thuan, Binh Dinh, and Da Nang. Phase 1 of this Project has been completed and now a new Project on scaling up integrated and inclusive waste management models through empowering the informal sector and fostering the circular economy is being implemented in Binh Dinh and Quy Nhon Provinces.

In addition, Ocean Plastic Turned into an Opportunity in Circular Economy (OPTOCE) project funded through the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), and implemented by the Norwegian Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF) has been ongoing in Viet Nam and other countries in the region since 2019.

The Project is aimed to reduce the release of plastic waste to the ocean by involving local energy intensive industries, such as the cement industry, to use plastic as an energy source instead of coal. It’s a win-win solution, both reducing CO2 emissions as well as contributing to the circular economy and sustainable waste management.

However, the most important is probably that we see a keen interest from the Norwegian businesses to contribute to Viet Nam’s green transition, especially in offshore wind and circular waste management solutions. That’s why we wanted to present 3 prominent companies - Equinor, Scatec and Tomra in the Norwegian pavilion today.

They represent some of the most prominent Norwegian companies when it comes to innovation, recycling, high tech and offshore technology and with a record of success in emerging markets. They’re all long-term investors and developers, and want to stay in Viet Nam.

Thank you Ambassador!

Norway will accompany Viet Nam to achieve the goal of green and sustainable economic recovery
Ambassador Grete Lochen and Commercial Counsellor Arne-Kjetil Lian at the exhibition.

The Exhibition of Green Innovation and Technologies in Viet Nam is organized on the sideline of the International Conference “Green and Inclusive Economic Rebound: Lessons from International Experience”.

The exhibition aims to showcase innovation and new green technologies by enterprises, including Vietnamese corporations, SMEs, start-ups and SIBs, and FDI enterprises in Viet Nam.

The Norwegian Pavilion spotlights three leading Norwegian companies in the renewable energy and innovation sectors, namely Equinor, Tomra and Scatec.

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