Mr. Lars Ronnas speaking at the event

The event, co-organized by Embassy of Sweden, Center for Media and Development Initiatives and Vietnam Climate and Energy Journalism Network, aims to provide Sweden’s experiences in sustainable development and give recommendations for Vietnam on the sideline of the International Water Week in Hanoi.

Since the mid-1990s, Sweden is one of few industrialized countries that have managed an absolute decoupling between economic growth and green house gas (GHG) emissions: a rising economy paired with falling emission levels. The country’s GHG emissions are among the lowest in the EU and OECD, whether calculated per capita or as a proportion of GDP.

According to Mr. Lar Ronnas, Sweden is ready to collaborate with other countries, like Vietnam to look for new kind of development that is needed to address climate change.

For the 2015-2018 period, Sweden has allocated SEK4 billion (EUR522 million), for the United Nations Green Climate Fund, a financial mechanism that will help the transition to the new climate economy.

Dr. Jakob Granit, General Director of Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management said Vietnam and Sweden will develop cooperation in freshwater management; marine management; environmental monitoring, digitalization and information systems for sustainable water use.

The agency will continue to support the implementation of the Ridge to reef project of Quang Nam and Da Nang on the Vu Gia - Thu Bon River Basin system over the period 2017-2020. These supports policy influenced and recommendations for the linking freshwater and marine targets for integrated management approaches.

Dr. Phil Graham, International projects manager and senior researcher at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute said the institute currently has an active cooperation with National Center for Water Resources Planning and Investigation under Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

He recommended that Vietnam needs to continue developing capacity to perform climate change assessments and impacts analysis over many different sectors. One of the main areas that need continued work is providing relevant information for relevant applications.

Much climate “data” is being produced worldwide, but this does not really serve its purpose until it is processed into “usable information” for decision makers and planners at regional and local level, he added.

Ms. Birgitta Liss Lymer, Programme Manager at Stockholm International Water Institute stressed Vietnam and Sweden are moving from a period of water abundance to more water scarcity as a result of climate change and it is necessary to improve the management of water demand through pricing (Vietnam has the lowest price on water in ASEAN) water use efficiency and water re-use.

“A recent study identified among 10 rivers that contribute the most plastic to the ocean, eight are located in Asia. We need to reduce the amount of plastic flowing into the sea from river basins,” she added.

Vietnam is considered as one of the countries most affected by climate change, its Mekong Delta is one of the world's three most vulnerable deltas (together with the Nile Delta in Egypt and the Ganges Delta in Bangladesh) to the sea level rising.

The challenge urges the country to take greater efforts in its policies and measures to improve public awareness and capacity of responding to climate change while promoting economic development in order to raise the country’s economic competitiveness and national status on the international arena./.

Minh Van