A seminar on urban green growth in Hanoi advocated for more awareness among investors and policymakers.

The Ministry of Construction and Vietnam Urban Forum hosted the seminar last week, titled Building up Green Growth Urban Centre in Vietnam. It attracted representatives from ministries of construction, planning and investment, and NGOs in Vietnam.

Deputy Minister of Construction Phan Thi My Linh said the implementation of a Government-approved National Green Growth Strategy from 2013 to 2020 is facing obstacles due to a shortage of awareness on green growth and investment among urban centres' authorities.

The National Green Growth Strategy has mapped out how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 to 10 percent by 2020 against 2010. Vietnam could decrease its emissions by 20 percent with international assistance.

However, the implementation of the national strategy has had limited results, the deputy minister admitted. Minimal research has been conducted.

Authorities of Sa Pa township (in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai) and Soc Trang city in the south have promulgated green-growth strategies.

Other urban centres such as Da Nang, Tam Ky and Bac Ninh are researching their strategies on green growth and climate change.

Representatives at the seminar agreed that localities were lagging on creating plans because they lacked clear concepts and concrete criteria on green urban centres.

Deputy Minister Linh said green urban centres' citizens would enjoy living in areas with more nature and comfortable infrastructure. More importantly, authorities of such urban centres must invest more in the conservation, development and efficient use of natural capital, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and improvement of environmental quality.

Vietnam lacks policies to mobilise financial sources from international climate funds and attract investment.

Vietnam's environmental policymakers estimated the country needs 30 billion USD to implement the National Green Growth Strategy. Organisations and individuals outside of the State would need to supply 70 percent of the funds.

Nguyen Quang, programme manager of UN-Habitat in Vietnam, said the Government needed to encourage enterprises and the entire community to join in on green growth projects.-VNA