Vietnam News Agency speaks with Vu Thi Vinh, General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Cities, on the importance of engaging the masses in promoting green growth.

* We have been referring to green growth in many forums and conferences. Can you provide a clear definition of this concept?

Green growth has been of increasing concern to many countries in recent years. It is considered sustainable economic development and aims to create jobs in low-emission sectors, while addressing poverty and environmental degradation.

Building a "green economy" is based on increasing investment, protecting the environment, developing efficient means of using natural resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while stimulating economic growth.

* In order to achieve green growth, what should be done?

Green growth plays an important role in ensuring sustainable and effective economic development in Vietnam, and is integral to the national strategy on climate change.

In 2012, the Prime Minister approved the National Green Growth Strategy for the 2011-20 period with a vision to 2050.

Developing green cities requires the involvement of governments at all levels, businesses, social organisations and citizens.

Vietnam is in the process of making plans for sustainable urbanisation. Areas most affected by climate change will need to adapt infrastructure development to reduce the economic impact.

The country has over 760 urbanised areas, of them 111 are cities and towns. Whilst industrialisation and modernisation have brought remarkable economic achievements, they have also changed the landscape of Vietnam's urban areas.

Although, urban development has many limitations, including having a negative effect on natural resources and water pollution.

* Co-operation between authorities, businesses and people is a strong foundation for boosting the growth of green urban centres. What role do they each have to play?

Green growth requires political commitment from authorities. It starts with giving financial incentives for the private sector and driving people to participate in the process.

At the city level, green growth needs to be embraced and treated as an important priority in urban planning.

The role of enterprise and the private sector is also critical. Enterprises need to be encouraged to use modern technologies that are efficient and create environmentally friendly products.

The private sector plays a very important role in providing jobs and stabilising the economy. Therefore, it is extremely important for them to commit to this as a priority and produce products that meet demand and are environmental friendly.

This leads to the role we need to play as "green consumers". We need to avoid using products that damage the environment. Consumers are entitled to demand eco-friendly products and services from companies.

This depends on raising awareness and changing attitudes and purchasing habits so we're using goods that aren't causing harm to the environment or our society.-VNA