EuroCham presented at the ASEM Conference on Climate Action to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - Ways Forward in Can Tho

On 19th June, 2018, Mr. Tomaso Andreatta, Vice-Chairman of EuroCham and Chairman of EuroCham’s Green Growth Sector Committee, attended the ASEM Conference on Climate Action to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – Ways Forward. The conference, a joint initiative by Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Myanmar, the Netherlands and Viet Nam, was endorsed by ASEM Foreign Ministers at the 13th Asia – Europe Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw in November 2017 with a view to providing a venue for richer discussions and broader perspectives in climate change adaptation and reinforcing the ASEM climate partnership in the new era of development.

The Conference gathered around 200 participants, including ASEM government officials, researchers, experts, representatives from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), ASEAN Secretariat, the European Commissioner for Climate Action, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and Partnering for Green Growth and Global Goals 2030 (P4G). (The full list of participants is attached as an Annex).
 
The conference was attended by H.E. Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam, who stressed that climate change is the defining challenge of our time. He also highlighted the urgent need for ASEM’s actions in strengthening the resilience of people, infrastructure, economies and environment against the intensifying impacts of climate change.
 
During the discussions, participants highlighted that the historic Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, both adopted in 2015, had set the world on a long-term path to a low-carbon future. This requires early actions as well as international climate cooperation at an unprecedented scale to succeed. Participants underscored that actions to address climate change and sustainable development must be incorporated in national strategies. They called for an integrated approach at local, national, inter-regional and international level, with broad-based concerted action from all levels of society - public and private - and the engagement of all key stakeholders, particularly women, young people and the poor.
 
At the conference’s Third Plenary Session on Climate Change Action: The Role and Engagement of Stakeholders, Mr. Andreatta shared his insights and expertise in the field of sustainability and long-time advocacy for Vietnam’s green growth. He underlined the engagement of Government, public sector, and development agencies to work with the private sector to address climate change challenges.
 
EuroCham focuses on vital Green-Policy-Development-specific reforms, showcasing good practice, knowledge sharing and capacity building, transfer of know-how and technology to local private sector partners, cooperation for sustainable development, and especially the No Cost Energy Policy Reforms - 2015, the Made in Vietnam Energy Plan – 2016.
 
By stressing the impacts of ineffective use of fuels and energy in transportation, manufacturing, and electricity generation, EuroCham’s Vice-Chairman provided recommendations from the Chamber and its Green Growth Sector Committee aimed at finding more sustainable solutions. Currently, Vietnam has low-priced transport fuel, and there are no incentives to use biofuels, hybrid or electric vehicles, which are more expensive and require recharging infrastructure. The price of electricity is subsidised, so steel and cement makers have little reason to implement efficienct investment. He also pointed out the difference in public and private sector investment and presented challenges for the private sector to work on a better Energy plan for Vietnam. According to Mr. Andreatta, Vietnam should have a full and credible Roadmap to Commercial and Industrial Market-Based Electricity pricing and encourage the distribution of renewable energy - like rooftop solar.
 
Furthermore, participants emphasised the importance of ensuring peace and stability as a prerequisite. The recommendations were to enhance the tangible cooperation between ASEM partners to promote climate action for a sustainable future, including: enhancing ASEM contributions to global efforts in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
 
Participants praised Viet Nam for successfully hosting this important conference and encouraged ASEM partners to participate in and organise future events of this nature to further promote ASEM’s tangible cooperation in climate action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals as well as to enhance the visibility of ASEM. The outcomes and recommendations of the conference will be reported to the 12th ASEM Summit in Brussels in October 2018.
 
The conference also stressed the importance of capacity building, good governance at all levels, innovation and technology application, trans-disciplinary research, public–private partnership enhancement and financing to ensure that specific mitigation and adaptation measures are implemented effectively. Participants agreed that a coherent response to climate change would include the sustainable management of natural resources, increasing productivity, disaster risk reduction, among others. They also underscored the huge costs of inaction and highlighted the benefits of investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation for the global environment, improved public health, new jobs, new opportunities for sustainable prosperity and business competitiveness. Many valuable experiences and best practice, including local, bilateral, sub-regional and regional arrangements, were shared.

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