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Speech on behalf of UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Pratibha Mehta by UNIDO Representative, Mr. Patrick Jean Gilabert

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Date:  3 June 2012
Event: World Environment Day celebrations
Venue: Ha Long

  • Your Excellency, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai;
  • Minister of MONRE;
  • Chairman of the General Confederation of Labour;
  • Chairman of Quang Ninh People’s Committee;  
  • Colleagues from the international community and friends from the media;
  • Ladies and gentlemen;

It is an honour to be here with you today to celebrate World Environment Day 2012. This year marks the 40th anniversary for World Environment Day, since the celebrations began back in 1972. Although much has changed since then, promoting sustainable development and taking action to protect the environment is as important today, as it was 40 years ago. World Environment Day is a fantastic opportunity for people from all walks of life to come together to celebrate and promote a cleaner and greener future for all of us – just like the event today, which brings together so many groups of people.

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is “Green Economy: Does it include you?” A green economy touches on almost every aspect of our lives. For example, a green economy is about promoting sustainable energy, creating green jobs and green policies and ensuring resource efficiency. A green economy is one which is low carbon, resource efficient and protects the environment. Just as important, a green economy also aims to improve the quality of economic growth, overall human well-being and social equity.

This year, 2012, has also been declared by the United Nations as the year of Sustainable Energy for All. This initiative focuses on providing sustainable energy for everyone – that is energy which is accessible, clean and efficient. Viet Nam has made very substantial progress in this area. Between 1986 and 2009 access to electricity grew from about 10 per cent to 97 per cent – with almost all households now connected to the grid.

Viet Nam has also made good progress in environmental protection. However, more needs to be done to achieve key targets under MDG7 which are currently lagging. This includes access to clean water, cleaner production services, resource and energy efficiency and biodiversity conservation.

In the area of green economy there is also much to be proud of. Particularly commendable is the development of the draft green growth strategy, which shows that Viet Nam is serious about pursuing sustainable development.

The green growth strategy stresses the need for low-carbon development, green production, restoring of natural assets and green lifestyles. These are all essential elements in promoting and furthering sustainable development.

At the UN, we believe that the strategy is a critical step in helping Viet Nam to prepare for the future and move to the next phase in its development. It will help Viet Nam to move from its current economic growth model to one that is more sustainable, and to better balance economic, social and environmental protection priorities. The UN will continue to work with the Government to advance this sustainable development agenda.

Looking ahead, we are now less than twenty days away from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20. The Rio+20 conference is a unique opportunity to move away from business as usual and act to deepen global commitments to sustainable development. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to agree on how to build a green economy and to achieve a sustainable future – a future with more jobs, more clean energy and a decent standard of living for all.

We look forward to Viet Nam’s active participation in the conference, which will also provide a good opportunity to showcase the draft green growth strategy.  

Let me end by thanking everyone here today for attending the event. By celebrating World Environment Day, we remind ourselves and others of the importance of caring for our environment. Working together, we can secure a sustainable future for all.

I wish you all a very happy World Environment Day!