Deputy PM Minh's keynote address at ASEM conference on climate action to achieve SDGs
18:30 | 19/06/2018
VGP - The following is the full Keynote Address by Deputy PM, FM Pham Binh Minh at the ASEM Conference on climate action to achieve the sustainable development goals-ways forward, held in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on June 19.

Infographics: Viet Nam's 17 sustainable development goals

 Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very delighted to join you all at this ASEM Conference on Climate Action to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - Ways Forward.

Your broad participation and invaluable inputs at our today’s Conference vividly demonstrate our determination to take bolder action in response to climate change for the achievement of sustainable development goals pursued by the international community.

As an important inter-regional forum bringing together 53 members of Asia and Europe and a key driver for economic growth and innovation in the 21st century, ASEM has full ability and responsibility to champion for climate action for sustainable development.

We can be proud of what ASEM has contributed to addressing environmental issues over the past two decades, particularly cooperation in sustainable management of natural resources, including water resources management.

However, more efforts should be made. Closer and more substantive cooperation should be forged as climate change is reshaping the future life of human being.

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. It seriously threatens all aspects of social life with direct impacts on the realization of the development goals and security of every country, region and the world.

These challenges caused by climate change, with increasingly greater scope and intensity, will hinder the efforts for improving the life quality of the people and for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development.

ASEM members have recently witnessed mega disasters and extreme weather.

Notable of which are the historical floods in India, South Asia in 2017. They are also the 2018 extreme cold snaps and heavy snowfalls in Europe and China and heat wave on record in Australia and many other countries.

Viet Nam is among the top five countries worst hit by climate change and sea level rise. Right here, where we are, the Mekong Delta, including Can Tho - the center for agricultural production of Viet Nam, is one of the world’s three floodplains most vulnerable to sea level rise.

In the Mekong Delta, the year 2016 saw a record drought and saline intrusion in 100 years, causing adverse impacts on the livelihoods of millions of people.

If solutions to those challenges cannot be found, achievements of humankind will be drawn back.

Nevertheless, more than ever before, we are now endowed with a unique opportunity to strengthen concerted actions on climate change and sustainable development.

The historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change are universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.

Our Leaders, at the 11th ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar in 2016, committed to “working together towards the timely and full implementation of the goals set [in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement] at the national, regional and global levels”.

But above all, we need to translate words and commitments into concrete actions, particularly at the Global Climate Action Summit to be held in San Francisco and the 24th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Katowice.

It is high time for ASEM members to join hands with the international community to adopt the Action Plan to deliver the promise of the Paris Agreement for the benefits of our people and businesses.

In that spirit, I encourage you to share your ideas and be bold in your recommendations on the following issues:

First, we need to develop a comprehensive approach for common understanding and actions on doubling efforts for climate change response towards sustainable development.

We need to make linkages to various initiatives, projects and tangible cooperation areas on sustainable water management, disaster risks reduction, energy, food safety, gender equality and poverty reduction. Since they are cross-cutting and interrelated to sustainable development.

And, at the national level, climate action should be integrated into the national strategy for sustainable, balanced, equitable and innovative development.

Second, it is necessary to promote multi-stakeholder partnerships for climate action for sustainable development.

We need to establish a network of information sharing between policymakers, parliamentarians, research institutes, the academia, businesses, localities and other stakeholders in this field.

We really need to encourage corporate social responsibility and public-private partnership. We should also work to promote the use and transfer of green and clean technology.

These are the foundation for building strong and resilient communities with the people and the businesses at the centre, capable of adapting to irregular climate change and turning challenges into opportunities for development.

Third, developed members of ASEM should provide specific support to developing members vulnerable to climate change.

With financial capacity and advanced, low-emission technologies, developed ASEM members could provide access to financing, technology transfers, smart investment into clean, renewable and environment-friendly energy, and capacity building for climate response - all moving towards green and low-emission growth.

Taking this opportunity, Viet Nam highly values the strategic partnerships on climate change and the effective cooperation and assistance programmes on financing and technology transfer that many ASEM members have extended for Viet Nam.

These programmes have effectively assisted Viet Nam in sustainable water resources management, enhancement of climate change monitoring and adaptation capacity, response to sea level rise and widespread saline intrusion in the Lower Mekong River Basin. These have also improved Viet Nam's capacity to contribute to the joint endeavours by the international community.

This will fundamentally transform our social and economic structures, foster new dynamism for economic restructuring and transform the growth model towards a green and low-emission economy while enhancing the resilience of each citizen, community and country.  

Fourth, at the recent expanded G7 Summit in Canada, Viet Nam proposed establishing a global mechanism on reduction of plastic litter into oceans. This has generated support from the G7 Outreach countries.

It is imperative to redouble global efforts in addressing challenges endangering the maritime ecosystem and the oceans’ health

I call upon ASEM members to join hands in these endeavours and put this focus of our cooperation high on the agenda.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our deliberations at this Conference as well as various initiatives, projects to be undertaken in days to come will serve as a crucial preparatory step to be adopted at the upcoming 12th ASEM Summit in Brussels.

With this in mind, I do look forward to more substantive deliberations at this Conference with concrete measures to move closer cooperation among ASEM members forward.


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