Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan proposed setting up a string of regional centres for green economy, while delivering his speech to the Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 21.

According to him, the centres should monitor the key indicators of green economy of all countries in the region, provide consulting services for policy formulation and best practices for countries, organise workshops on green economy and help the UN to prepare and publish bi-annual World Reports on Green Economy.

“For Southeast Asia, Vietnam is ready to work with ASEAN countries and the UN to set up the Regional Centre for Green Economy in Vietnam and to share fifty percent of the operational costs of this Centre,” he said.

Deputy PM Nhan also affirmed the country’s viewpoint that sustainable sustainable development is the consistent goal in the current and future national development and thus has pursued Agenda 21 as well as other national development strategies.

“Thanks to the enormous efforts of the Government and people of Viet Nam, as well as the support and cooperation of the international community, Vietnam has been able to record significant achievements in socio-economic development and improve the quality of life for our people,” he said.

From 1992 to 2011, Vietnam recorded an average annual GDP growth of 7.41 percent, and has moved from the low income to the middle income group. In 1992 GDP per capita was approximately 150 USD, in 2011 it was 1,300 USD. The poverty rate has been reduced from 58.1 percent in 1993 down to 11.76 percent in 2011.

Additionally, Vietnam has achieved universalisation of primary school in 2000, of secondary school in 2010, and are implementing universalisation of kindergarten for age-5 children, with expected completion by 2015.

In 2011, 92 percent of families had access to clean water; 95 percent of farmer households had electricity and 63 percent of the population had health insurance, he said, adding the average life expectancy in Vietnam is nearly 74.

He further said that Vietnam was ranked as the world’s second happiest nation out of 151 countries and territories in the Happy Planet Index published by the UK-based NGO New Economic Foundation.

“T he reality of Vietnam is proof that although labour productivity may not be high (GDP per capita of under 1,000 USD) it is still possible to implement sustainable development policies successfully. The country has also taken part in regional cooperation and international integration efforts as an active and responsible member with a view to promoting regional and international sustainable development,” said the Deputy PM.

Nhan stressed the significance of the Rio+20, affirming that the event will provide a chance for countries worldwide to reaffirm their commitments as well as to put forth new political determinations and efforts for global sustainable development and to strengthen cooperation and partnership in this area.

He recommended that the UN assemble a new set of sustainable development goals toward 2020 and 2030, which should be of a universal nature, applicable to all countries, yet allowing for different approaches suited to the specific conditions of each country, but showcasing the examples set and responsibilities taken by highly-developed countries.

A monitoring and assessment mechanism for sustainable development goals should be established, he added.

Restructuring and upgrading of UN’s agencies are also necessary in order to improve their responsibilities, functions and efficiencies in realisation of sustainable development goals.

Regarding sea level rising, Nhan called upon the UN to establish an UN network and UN programme to quickly and effectively deal with the matter, combining the knowledge, technology and the resources of the developed and developing countries..

Also on June 21, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan had meetings with Guinean President Alpha Conde, World Bank Managing Director Mahmoud Mohieldin, Netherlands Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen, and attended the “Sustainable energy for all” gala.-VNA