VietNamNet Bridge – Developing nations in the Asia-Pacific region must build up climate resiliency and shift towards lower-carbon pathways if they want to sustain hard-won human development gains attained over the past decades in the changing climate context.
The newly-released Asia-Pacific Human Development Report titled One Planet to Share highlights the urgent need to successfully deal with the trade-offs between economic growth and reducing emissions "because there is no choosing one over the other".
The report, sponsored by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), says that the Asia-Pacific region must do what has not been done before - continue to sustain growth, lift people out of poverty, but do so with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
It argues that the region can solve the prosperity-emission dilemma because its unfinished development agenda allows it to do things differently.
The areas for changes, it suggests, include producing for the future, raising rural resilience, building greener cities and promoting fair and balanced consumption.
Speaking at the launching of the report in Ha Noi yesterday, May 15, Deputy Country Director of UNDP Viet Nam Bakhodir Burhanov said: "One thing that makes this report particularly distinguished is the coverage of sustainable lifestyle and consumption – an area which has not been covered extensively in international researches."
He said that sustainable consumption became an increasingly important issue due to the rising middle-income class throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including Viet Nam.
United Nations Resident Co-ordinator Pratibha Mehta said that in alignment with the report's recommendation, Viet Nam needed to prioritise disaster mitigation and investments in rural communities because the country was highly prone to climate-induced disasters, such as floods and storms.
"Repeated climate shocks reinforce inequalities and weaken human development. In order to help the poor to increase their resilience to climate change, much greater investment in infrastructure, institutions and capacities is therefore needed," she said.
Apart from that, Viet Nam should do more to promote energy efficiency and energy conservation.
Mehta said the UN noted that more than half of all electricity in Viet Nam would be generated from imported coal by 2030, which would bring high pollution whilst global market prices were volatile.
She said as the report suggested for countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Viet Nam should gradually phase out undesirable subsidies on fossil fuels to give way for renewable energies. "Such subsidies have a considerable negative effect on the environment and are incompatible with sustainable development."
In order to reduce heavy reliance on fossil fuels, Viet Nam also needed to reform energy prices, as well as measures to protect low-income groups, Mehta added.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News