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Capacity building for activities of ASOEN Vietnam, towards ASEAN Community 2015


   Việt Nam increasingly reconfirms its role and position in cooperation activities on environmental protection. 2015 marks a very important milestone to ASEAN in general and to Việt Nam in particular, marking 20 years of Việt Nam becoming a member of ASEAN. This is also a year that ASEAN countries continue to promote the implementation of master plans in three pillars in Security - Politics, Economics and Culture - Social, towards the formation of ASEAN Community on 31 December 2015.

The 13th meeting of the ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities in Đà Lạt city (Lâm Đồng province) on 8 July 2015

   Important milestones in 2014

   To promote cooperation activities on environment in ASEAN, the Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) assigns the Department of International Cooperation and Science, Technology to collaborate with the Department of Personnel and Organizations and relevant agencies to develop the scheme to consolidate the organizational structure of the Việt Nam ASEAN Senior Officials on Environment (ASOEN Vietnam).

   By March 2014, the VEA developed the scheme on capacity building for ASOEN Vietnam and on 15 December 2014, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) signed the decision on consolidation of the organizational structure of ASOEN Vietnam.

   With the objectives of active implementation of annual activities on environment according to ASEAN’s plan and proposed initiatives of Việt Nam, enhancing the role of Việt Nam in ASEAN, in 2014, the VEA has completed the draft Action Plan of Việt Nam to participate in ASEAN cooperation on environment during 2014 - 2015. This is the legal basis to propose and develop activities of Việt Nam to participate in ASEAN cooperation on environment, towards ASEAN community in 2015. The Action Plan was approved by the MONRE on 31 July 2014.

   In the past year, ASOEN Vietnam Office has cooperated with MONRE’s internal and external agencies to organize successfully events within ASEAN and regional cooperation framework. In addition, organize delegations to attend meetings, workshops and events of ASEAN such as, the 5th ASEAN working group on climate change in Indonesia; the 2nd ASEAN - EU dialogue conference in Malaysia; the 16th meeting of the ASEAN working group on coastal and marine environment in Indonesia; the 12th meeting of the ASEAN working group on environmentally sustainable cities in Thailand;  the 25th meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials on Environment (ASOEN 25) and relevant meetings; the 15th Informal ASEAN Environment Ministers Meeting and relevant meetings organized in Laos.

   In addition, Việt Nam participated in meetings within the framework of ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB); ASEAN cooperation with partners; ASEAN+3 cooperation and implementation of other projects and activities such as:  “rehabilitation and sustainable use of peatland forests in Southeast Asia” project (Peatland project); Project on proposing the network of environmentally sustainable cities (ESC) in ASEAN and Southeast Asia countries; Project on proposing cities to be nominated for ASEAN environmentally sustainable cities awards (Hue of Việt Nam was awarded the ASEAN ESC award in its 3rd ceremony) and certification of cities that are potential to become ASEAN ESC (Da Lat is one of six ASEAN cities nominated as ESC for second time on clean air); Project on capacity building to harmonize the implementation of provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity on access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits in the region - Việt Nam Component (2012 - 2014); Assessing the outcome of the establishment of the ASEAN community and implementation results of Việt Nam by 31 December 2015 when the ASEAN Community forms and finalizing national procedures to contribute to the ASEAN Biodiversity Fund (ABF).

   Enhancing ASEAN cooperation on environment to a new high level

   Year 2015 marks an important milestone in the ASEAN cooperation, towards forming the ASEAN community 2015. Consequently, Việt Nam as well as other member states in the region have actively implemented many activities to contribute importantly to the development and success of the Association. Particularly, Việt Nam will host the 13th ASEAN Environment Ministers’ Meeting (AMME 13), ASEAN+3 Environment Ministers’ Meeting and relevant meetings. The MONRE is the focal point of Việt Nam to organize the ASEAN Environment Ministers’ Meeting and ASEAN Senior Officials on Environment Meeting to prepare for the Ministers’ Meeting. The Action Plan of MONRE on ASEAN cooperation on environment during 2014 - 2015 (Decision No. 1600/QD-BTNMT) identifies tasks in collaboration with domestic and international agencies to successfully organize the 13th AMME meeting with relevant events as an important task of MONRE in 2015.

   To prepare for the 13th AMME and relevant meetings, MONRE established the Steering committee for organizing the 13th AMME meeting (Decision No. 760/QD-BTNMT dated 2/4/2015) and established the Organizing committee of the 13th AMME meeting and relevant meetings (Decision No. 761/QD-BTNMT dated 2/4/2015). Accordingly, MONRE will collaborate with Ministries: Foreign Affairs, Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Agriculture and Rural Development to organize the 13th AMME meeting, ASEAN+3 Environment Ministers Meeting and relevant meetings. Of which, ASEAN Environment Ministers Meeting is periodically organized every three years within the environment cooperation of ASEAN, to assess the implementation of environment cooperation in the region; to discuss new cooperation areas, at the same time to recommend, propose solutions to promote ASEAN cooperation activities in the upcoming time.

   There will be relevant meetings in conjunction with the 13th AMME meeting organized in Ha Noi, from 26 - 31 October 2015 including: The 14th AMME+3 Environment Ministers (14 AMME+3) and Meeting of Senior Officials preparing for the Ministers Meeting; the 11th Meeting of Committee under COP of ASEAN Agreement on transboundary haze pollution (COM 11); the 11th conference of parties to the ASEAN Agreement on transboundary haze pollution, in order to review the implementation results of programs and projects belonging to 10 environment cooperation areas within ASEAN, ASEAN+3 cooperation.

   At the 13th AMME meeting, Ministers are going to discuss and endorse ASEAN common declarations including: ASEAN declaration on climate change in advance of the COP21 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; ASEAN declaration on protection of endangered species from extinction; Minutes and conclusion of the Ministers’ Meeting. These are large-scale meetings with a large number of participants and of importance compared to other meetings within the ASEAN cooperation on environment.

Đà Lạt city was awarded the certificate for ASEAN potential environmentally sustainable cities on clean air

   In addition, in 2015, Việt Nam hosted the 13th meeting of the ASEAN working group on ESC in Da Lat - a city recently receiving the certificate as a potential city for becoming ASEAN ESC. Some activities were taken place at the meeting namely “Honoring cities of Việt Nam” awarded ASEAN ESC. The award is organized every three years. This was also an opportunity to propagate and introduce to ASEAN participants about one clean air city of Việt Nam and encourage other cities of Việt Nam to develop towards ESC. In addition, Việt Nam also organized training working and launching workshop of the climate change project in ASEAN seas “Impact, Vulnerability and Adaptation”. The workshop follows the initiative of Việt Nam within the ASEAN working group on coastal and marine environment, endorsed by ASEAN in 2013.

   With the objective of participating, contributing to form the ASEAN community post 2015 in order to increase ASEAN cooperation and regional linkage to a higher level, in the upcoming time, Việt Nam will be more active in implementing annual activities on environment according to ASEAN’s plan and propose Việt Nam’s initiatives in the meetings. As a result, enhance awareness on ASEAN in general and ASEAN cooperation on environment in particular, as well as the role of Việt Nam in ASEAN.

   Việt Nam has actively mobilized internal resources and contributed importantly to the development of the environment of ASEAN, contributing to create a solid foundation for ASEAN to come to a historic decision to increase the connection/linkage, towards successful establishment of a unified and strong ASEAN community.

Nguyễn Thị Thanh Trâm

ASOEN Vietnam Office

Vietnam Environment Administration 

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