20 December 2021

Vietnam, as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, called for fairness and justice in climate change issues at the recent Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (“UNFCCC”), held from 31 October 2021 to 13 November 2021. Over 190 world leaders came together at the 26th conference to address climate change (“COP26”), which culminated with all countries agreeing the Glasgow Climate Pact.

In his remarks at COP26, Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh noted that Vietnam is a developing country that started industrialisation just over three decades ago. He reiterated that developed countries should offer assistance in his country’s journey to sustainable development and provide Vietnam with preferential green finance and technology, noting that developed countries, being major emitters in the past in exchange for present economic prosperity, need to fully meet their existing financial commitments.

The Prime Minister pledged that Vietnam will reach its net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 and has agreed to phase out coal-fuelled power generation in the 2040s (or as soon as possible thereafter).

Vietnam also committed to ending deforestation by 2030 in signing the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use (“Declaration”). Signatories to the Declaration commit to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030 and facilitate sustainable trade and development policies, internationally and domestically. The Declaration also notes the empowerment of local communities, including indigenous peoples, a group often negatively affected by the exploitation and degradation of forests. Finance is also key in the Declaration, as signatories agree to facilitate the alignment of financial flows with international goals to reverse loss and degradation, while ensuring policies to accelerate a transition to a greener economy.

Vietnam also signed the Global Methane Pledge (“Pledge”). Participants joining the Pledge agree to take voluntary actions to contribute to a collective effort to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, which could eliminate over 0.2˚C warming by 2050. Participants also commit to moving towards using the highest tier Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change good practice inventory methodologies, as well as working to continuously improve the accuracy, transparency, consistency, comparability, and completeness of national greenhouse gas (“GhG”) inventory reporting under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, and to provide greater transparency in key sectors. Vietnam has targeted to reduce GhG emissions by 9% with domestic resources and 27% with international support by 2030.