Vietnam is currently in the process of developing a "green" gross domestic product (GDP) index which is expected to be ready for use in 2014.

With support from the UK 's Foreign Commonwealth Office, Vietnam 's Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) and the General Statistics Office are conducting research to develop a methodological framework for a national Green GDP Index.

According to Nguyen Manh Hai from CIEM, the traditional GDP which is currently applied in Vietnam does not account for the costs of pollution and natural resource exhaustion.

The Green GDP will include the depletion of natural resources and costs of pollution in its calculations.

Deputy director of CIEM Vu Xuan Nguyet Hong said that the economic development of Vietnam in the past two decades has heavily relied on natural resource extraction with high energy use and rapid growth of polluting industries.

"The current GDP is no longer an adequate indicator of economic growth," she said, adding that a Green GDP is indispensable for sustainable development policies.

Research has revealed that the Green GDP index is often lower than the traditional index.

"The real number might be worse," Hong said, adding that the Green Index will provide a more comprehensive and accurate view of the economy.

Hong also stressed that it will be a very hard road ahead for the Green Index to be made available in 2014 because environmental accounting is still new to policy-makers and statistical practitioners in Vietnam .

The country should first focus on building natural resources and pollution accounts, which are the most important, said Hai.

The natural resource account will provide information on the availability and reserves of the nation's natural resources, while the pollution account woill estimate the real costs of pollution. "The most urgent work now is to prepare data for accounting," he added.

In 2006, China issued the world's first Green GDP, accounting for the year 2004.

Under Prime Minister Decision No 42, the Green GDP woill be included in the national system of socio-economic indices by 2014.-VNA