World scholars discuss green and inclusive economic rebound

Posted February 25, 2022

Ha Noi, 25 February 2022 – Today, the Government of Viet Nam and the UN Development Programme hosted the International Conference “Green and Inclusive Economic Rebound: Lessons from International Experience”, bringing in world leaders and scholars to share country experiences for driving policy, finance, and institutional change to deliver a green, clean, and inclusive economic rebound from COVID-19. 

The Conference is timely as Viet Nam stands at a critical juncture as it seeks to rebound from COVID-19 in ways that generate growth, are job-rich, sustainable, and inclusive. It provided a platform for policy makers and other stakeholders to share visions, knowledge and best practices relating to green economic stimulus, COVID-19 economic recovery, climate action, circular economy, anticipatory and inclusive governance and green finance and investment.

The Conference addressed current fundamental development issues facing Viet Nam, including:

  • Ensuring green recovery and resilience;
  • Strengthening the role of government in accelerating the transition to renewable energy and the circular economy, in line with Viet Nam’s ambitious COP26 commitments;
  • Stimulating innovation and preparing the workforce for the jobs of the future; and
  • Promoting a sustainable rebound through trade, investment, and innovation.

The one-day conference had three sessions with keynote addresses and panel discussions. Session 1 focused on “Green Recovery and Resilience”, what other countries have done to address this set of difficult decisions in the transition to low carbon green and circular economy; and what opportunities are available to prompt countries to transition to clean energy.

Session 2 on “Trade, Investment and Innovation for a Sustainable Rebound” discussed how Viet Nam should adjust its approach to trade agreements and FDI to promote a sustainable and inclusive growth pattern that encourages domestic innovation and productivity.

Session 3 focused on Strengthening the Role of Government in Accelerating a Green and Inclusive Rebound. Discussion sought answers to the questions: What can Viet Nam learn from the experiences of other countries regarding the synergy between competitive markets and innovative government policies? What policies and governance structures have countries put in place to promote sustainability and inclusion? and How can a mission-oriented approach help Viet Nam cope with issues like the Mekong River Delta and endemic poverty in upland and remote regions?

An exhibition of green innovation and technologies was also organized on the sidelines of the Conference with the presence of 12 enterprises and initiatives visioning a green and inclusive future.

The International Conference brought in eminent international and national thought leaders and policymakers. First Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam Pham Binh Minh delivered a keynote speech alongside with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Quang Hieu, and Vice Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Le Cong Thanh.

From the international side, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner delivered a keynote address to the Conference, alongside Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz the Nobel Memorial Prize economist, UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant, Green Climate Fund’s Executive Director Dr. Yannick Glemarec, University College London’s Professor Mariana Mazzucato, and speakers from key development partners and countries including Botswana, India, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore and South Africa, among others.

In his opening remarks, First Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam H.E. Pham Binh Minh underlined that serious threats from non-traditional security challenges require countries to re-evaluate, develop and implement policies and measures to innovate growth models, promote green and circular economies, strengthen international economic cooperation and linkage, digital transformation for a more inclusive and sustainable recovery. He affirmed that as one of the countries heavily affected by the COVID-19  pandemic, Viet Nam is determined to pursue a green and inclusive recovery. While acknowledging difficulties and challenges faced by Viet Nam in the transition process, he wished leaders and experts at home and abroad would share experiences on green and inclusive recovery, propose overall solutions suitable to Viet Nam's circumstances, conditions and priorities, thereby supporting Viet Nam to effectively implement the Socio-economic Development and Recovery Program Association, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and Viet Nam's commitments at COP26.

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner commended Viet Nam for impressive achievements in reducing poverty, reaching high human development, and rapidly rolling out universal adult vaccination. He affirmed that a green and inclusive rebound is possible if we transcend the logic of trade-offs of economy versus environment and focus instead on the synergies from economic development that prioritizes sustainability and inclusivity.  Steiner highlighted 06 lessons from UNDP’s global efforts to support countries in driving a green circular economic rebound, including: innovative long-term financing; just climate transition; bridging the digital divide; gender equality; triple-a governance (anticipatory, agile, and adaptive); and shock-resilient social protection.

Viet Nam continues to be a pioneer in designing and implementing solutions to pressing development challenges such as stubborn pockets of poverty, economic and social inequalities, and limited digital and energy access,” said the UNDP leader. “As ever, UNDP and the UN family will be on hand, working together with you, to ‘co-create’, test and scale the solutions needed at this pivotal moment”.

You won’t have a sustainable road unless it is inclusive road,” Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz stressed in his keynote address. “As one formulates one’s program for recovery from COVID-19, one has to make sure that the money does its proper duty. To succeed, one has to have a comprehensive strategy. A strategy about the regulation, carbon pricing, and public investment… Addressing climate change has providing an enormous opportunity for growth and creating a more dynamic inclusive economy”.

Viet Nam has used the power of trade and investment to trigger and sustain economic development. To support a continued successful development path, it is worth exploring new and innovative ways to adapt trade agreements and investment strategies to enhance sustainability and inclusiveness,” said Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Isabelle Durant.

“...As the world begins to cautiously emerge from the worst of the pandemic, we also have an opportunity.   To build a green, sustainable recovery that also significantly helps global climate efforts by unlocking much needed financial flows.  I want to send a strong message today that GCF is with you on this journey,” said Green Climate Fund (GCF) Executive Director Yannick Glemarec.

Putting public value at the center of the economy and adopting a mission- driven approach that is cross-sectoral and driven by bottom up solutions is critical for Viet Nam to achieve the Green and inclusive economic rebound, “ said University College London’s Professor Mariana Mazzucato

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For further information, please contact:

Nguyen Thu Trang, Viet Nam Ministry for Foreign Affairs, email: trangthunguyen79@gmail.com.

Nguyen Viet Lan, UNDP, email: nguyen.viet.lan@undp.org.