Interview: ‘The NDC is a national contribution, not a ministry contribution’

March 06, 2018
Hanna Reuter
Interview Viet Nam

Interview with Mr Pham Van Tan (on the right), Deputy Director General, from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) of Viet Nam and Mr Nguyen Tuan Anh (on the left), Deputy Director General, from Viet Nam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).


Viet Nam has launched an inter-ministerial working group to review and update its NDC. How does it work? What roles do the environmental ministry and other ministries have, and how has the whole process been designed?

Mr Pham Van Tan: While we have already developed a plan to implement our current commitments, Viet Nam is now in the process of reviewing and updating its NDC. We are doing this for two reasons: First, as a result of the decisions made at COP21, every Party is required to submit a review of its NDC by the end of 2019. Second, the time available for developing Viet Nam’s INDC was very limited, so stakeholders and especially sectoral ministries were not as involved in the process as we would have liked.

To perform the review, we need to look closely at the current (I)NDC to determine what fields of actions are most relevant to different stakeholders and ministries in order to best promote a sense of ownership among them – you see, they are the real ones tasked with delivering on Viet Nam’s commitments. One idea that arose was to bring all the ministries together. As Viet Nam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is the country’s lead agency for the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, it has been tasked with coordinating this process. This Ministry has therefore asked various of the country’s other ministries to put forward delegates to participate in a collaborative process to review and update Viet Nam’s NDC. The participants must be able to represent their ministry, provide relevant information and then take responsibility for the contribution required of their respective sector. The review and updating work got underway in June 2017, and a steering committee was established. We expect the process to complete by 2019 in line with the requirements laid down at COP21.


Does this steering committee operate more at the technical level or more at the high-ranking political level?

Tan: It works at the technical level. For the high-ranking level, we already have a National Committee on Climate Change, which provides political guidance. The steering committee is for those at the department level involved in delivery. That said, the delegates representing the different ministries need to have a certain level of authority; enough to be able to make decisions on the department’s behalf and to convince their ministries to commit to the plan and continue developing their processes accordingly.


Besides engaging the ministries, how do you involve other stakeholders such as civil society, the private sector and academia?

Tan: The NDC is a national contribution, not a ministry contribution. So, all stakeholder groups in Viet Nam need to be involved, especially the private sector. For this, the sectoral ministries need to gather information from different stakeholders like NGOs, the private sector and others and must factor these inputs into the formulation of Viet Nam’s commitment. In short, the NDC review and implementation process must be inclusive. When the process got underway in June 2017, we consulted with and invited the participation of representatives from different interest groups in Viet Nam – the private sector, NGOs, development partners and scientists – involving them in the work to outline a clear roadmap for national and sectoral outcomes leading up to the end of 2019.


Viet Nam has been working for quite a while on developing and implementing nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs). What experiences have you gained from this work and how are they being fed into the NDC process?

Tan: The NAMA approach fits very well with the NDC because both describe national efforts. In terms of mitigation action, our NAMAs provide us with information about what we can do and what we can contribute in certain areas. NAMAs have featured little in discussions at COP23 but, from our perspective, they serve to translate the NDCs into the mitigation contributions made by a specific activity or sector. NAMAs also provide us with valuable experience that we can use in the NDC process – for example, experience in measurement, reporting and verification (MRV). A good example of this is the NAMA for Viet Nam’s cement sector, which is already quite advanced and has involved applying MRV for the first time in that sector. Furthermore, with support from GIZ and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, we formulated regulations and guidelines for MRV at the project level that are now being considered for use as national guidelines for MRV implementation at the sectoral level.


A persistent challenge when implementing NAMAs is financing, and this is obviously a feature of NDC implementation too. The private sector has a crucial role to play here. Do you already have some concrete approaches in place for incentivising the private sector to invest in climate-friendly technologies, climate-friendly business models, and so on?

Mr Nguyen Tuan Anh: With Germany’s support, provided through GIZ, we have been working with the State Bank of Vietnam to develop a number of regulations that provide the country’s commercial banks with guidance on how to create incentives for those willing to invest in environmental and climate-friendly technologies.

These regulations are currently being piloted. When this piloting stage completes, the State Bank of Vietnam will consider the lessons learned and look at how the guidelines can be implemented more broadly. We think they will be an important tool in Viet Nam for bringing the private banks on board and for incentivising the private sector.

Incentives are not, however, the only tool we consider, as it is also important to change the behaviour of the private sector. To do this, we have adopted new compulsory regulations and have also changed the feed-in tariffs for renewable energies.


During the Global NDC Conference in Berlin in May 2017, Viet Nam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment presented an interesting tool for tracking public climate finance. How does this tool work?

Anh: With the support of the United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] and the World Bank, we are conducting a review of private and public expenditure. Together with the Ministry of Finance, we are tracking financial flows in the public sector with the help of a classification methodology that enables us to classify which projects and which activities are related to climate change and green growth and which activities are not climate proof. This work has revealed that, over last five years, between 17% and 20% of public sector investment has been dedicated to mitigating and adapting to climate change.


What forthcoming milestones in your NDC implementation process do you want to reach over the next six months?

Tan: Looking at what lies ahead for MONRE, within the next six months I expect to receive the first draft of the NDC review and update, which is being developed with the involvement of major players in Viet Nam. The National Committee on Climate Change’s next meeting with development partners is set for June and the draft of the new NDC will be presented for discussion.

Anh: In the next six months, MPI needs to think about how to integrate climate change issues into the budgeting process and into the guidelines for development project proposals. We will start by integrating climate change considerations into the design of agriculture and irrigation investment projects.

A longer-term goal is to implement the NDC and mainstreaming NDC and SDGs into the socio-economic development strategy. The MPI shares with the Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Vietnam the mandate for mobilising the resources required to implement the commitments made in the NDC. Engaging the private sector is therefore crucial, especially when it comes to mitigation because the public resources allocated for this work are insufficient and are mostly directed towards adaptation. Contributions from the private sector are necessary for the NDC process to be successful.


Mr Tan, Mr Anh, thank you very much for this interesting interview.



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