People take care of newly planted trees on a coast in Huong Phong commune of Huong Tra township, Thua Thien-Hue province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam’s participation in ASEAN cooperation in the environment has clearly demonstrated the country’s proactive, active and responsible integration into the world.

General Director of the Vietnam Environment Administration Nguyen Van Tai made the remark at a workshop on January 6 reviewing 20 years of Vietnam’s engagement in the ASEAN environmental cooperation.

The country, which became a member of ASEAN in 1995, began participating in the bloc’s environmental cooperation in 1996.

Since its foundation, the Vietnam office of the ASEAN Senior Officials on the Environment (ASOEN) has actively taken part in all spheres of environmental cooperation such as biodiversity, climate change, chemicals and waste, marine environment and coastal zone, environmental technology, environmental education, trans-boundary haze pollution control, water resources management, and sustainable production and consumption.

For over 20 years, Vietnam has established itself in different fields of cooperation, including environment, Tai said, noting that through ASEAN cooperation, countries in the region and the world have gained a better understanding of Vietnam’s foreign policy and Doi moi (renewal) attainments.

At the same time, the country has also had chances to exchange experience, access scientific and technological advances, improve its capacity and proactively suggest initiatives in order to promote win-win cooperation, he added.

As ASEAN is building and implementing the targets of the ASEAN Community by 2025 across the three pillars of politics-security, economy and culture-society, cooperation within ASEAN and between the bloc and its partners will be further expanded. 

Therefore, Vietnam should timely grasp opportunities to improve capacity, contribute more to the ASEAN Community and realise the Sustainable Development Goals, the official said.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Tram from the ASOEN office in Vietnam said the scope of environmental cooperation is very large, and a flexible mechanism is necessary to mobilise all domestic resources to effectively participate in environmental cooperation activities in ASEAN. Strategic solutions also need to be carried out to capitalise on advantages and opportunities and tackle difficulties.

She said the country should proactively design and propose initiatives that can benefit the region and itself while enhancing communication activities to raise public awareness of regional cooperation in the environment.-VNA