Sharing environmental protection experiences

15:59 | 27/02/2014 Science - Technology

(VEN) - On February 18, in Hanoi, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, in association with the National Assembly’s Committee for Science, Technology and Environment and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), organized a workshop on International Experience on Environmental Law.

For the last eight years, the Environmental Protection Law which was promulgated in 2005 has significantly contributed to the development of the legal system in the field of environmental protection and restricted the adverse impacts of socioeconomic development on the environment. However, the law has revealed some limitations. The prime minister has assigned the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to preside over the drafting of amendments to the law.

In the framework of cooperation with the UNDP, the workshop was organized for participants to share experiences in making and implementing the environmental protection law, helping Vietnam learn the international experiences in this field.

Le Ke Son, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Environment Administration, said that amendments to the Environmental Protection Law 2005 would be made according to five principles: 1) protecting the environment is the responsibility, obligation and right of all organizations and inpiduals; 2) environmental protection is associated with economic development, green growth/sustainable development, environmental security and adaptation to climate change; 3) preventing environmental pollution, degradation and improving the environment; 4) polluting organizations and inpiduals must be responsible for compensations; and 5) the state must manage environmental protection activities.

UNDP Vietnam Deputy Director Bakhodir Burkanov emphasized that the workshop was an important event in the context of amendments being made to Vietnam’s Environmental Protection Law 2005. He proposed four recommendations about amendments to the law. Firstly, the law must ensure the consistency and harmony in state management and national development plans. The government must assign the ministry which is responsible for managing the environment at the state level to check national development plans to find whether they are harmonious with environmental protection objectives. The protection of land, water, biopersity, mineral, marine and littoral resources must be harmoniously combined with activities to boost socioeconomic development and implement national defense tasks. Secondly, the law should create favorable conditions for inpiduals and organizations to take part in supervising environmental pollution cases as well as the creation and approval of environmental impact assessment tools. Thirdly, the legal framework and policies must recognize gender equality as a basic principle. Fourthly, it is necessary to tighten supervision over the implementation of the law.

At the workshop, international environmentalists highly appreciated Vietnam’s Environmental Protection Law 2005 but they also highlighted the need to amend the law, especially in the context of widespread industrial pollution, spontaneous mineral exploitation and challenges in multi-field development and adaptation to climate change. These factors have affected the lives and livelihoods of local people, raising community concerns.

Before the workshop took place, the Vietnam Environment Administration organized another workshop for Vietnamese environmentalists and those from the Republic of Korea (RoK) to share experiences in amending the Environmental Protection Law. Kim In Hwan, former Deputy Minister of Environment of the RoK, said that today Vietnam enjoyed more favorable conditions than what the RoK had in the past, and that under the leadership of the government, Vietnam would gain many achievements in the field of environmental protection. The RoK is willing to provide Vietnam with consultancy to help it create a suitable legal framework and policies in this field, he added.

The draft version of the amended Environmental Protection Law consists of 19 chapters with 160 articles covering major issues such as general stipulations on environmental impact assessment, environmental protection in natural recourse exploitation and utilization, adaptation to climate change, environmental protection of the sea and islands, water and land resources, environmental protection plans, certification of environmental protection-related activities, environmental protection of craft villages, environmental protection in waste imports, management of waste and wastewater, environmental treatment and recovery in polluted areas, coping with environmental incidents, technical and environmental standards.

Draft Version No. 5 of the amended Environmental Protection Law was discussed at the sixth session of the 13th tenure National Assembly. Draft Version No. 6 is being made to be submitted to the National Assembly at the earliest possible./.

By Phuong Tam