Vietnam hosts East Asia seminar on environmentally sustainable cities hinh anh 1Ha Long city received ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable Cities Award in 2008 (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Experts and policy managers from East Asian countries are discussing how to build environmentally sustainable cities at a high-level seminar that opened in Hanoi on March 3.

The High Level Seminar on Environmentally Sustainable Cities (ESC) is the flagship collaborative initiative by 18 East Asia Summit (EAS) participating countries (consisting of ten ASEAN member states, plus Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the US and Russia) to foster concrete activities on ESC in the region.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan said the seminar, the seventh of its kind, takes place following an array of the world’s important events relating to environmental protection and sustainable development.

He cited the Paris Agreement reached by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris late last year as an example.

Such commitments have opened up many opportunities and challenges for each participating nation in environmental protection as well as ESC development, the official said.

During the two-day seminar, delegates share their experience to help the member countries establish and maintain a regional ESC network more efficiently.

They will also compare notes on challenges hindering the development of ESC such as environmental pollution, climate change, biodiversity and water security.

Over the past years, a number of Vietnam’s cities have joined the ASEAN ESC Model Cities Programme and three of them have received the ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable Cities Award such as Ha Long in northern Quang Ninh province, Da Nang and Hue in the central region.

With the support of the Global Environment Fund, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is teaming up with the Asian Development Bank to set up a project on sustainable cities in an effort to strengthen institutional capacity and policies to address challenges regarding environmental pollution and climate change in urban areas.-VNA