COP26 President Returns to Vietnam to Drive Progress on Clean Energy Transition

President of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Alok Sharma, returned to Vietnam to drive forward discussions on a Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP).

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COP26 President Returns to VietNam to Drive Progress on Clean Energy Transition
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) and COP26 President Alok Kumar Sharma. Photo: VGP

“I thank Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s leadership and ongoing commitment to progressing climate action, and look forward to continued collaboration with Vietnam as we deliver the commitments of the Glasgow Climate Pact”.

President of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Alok Sharma shared the above with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at a meeting on August 29.

On his third visit to the country as COP President, Sharma is continuing the work of the UK COP Presidency in pressing for updated climate commitments from all countries ahead of COP27 as agreed in the Glasgow Climate Pact.

During a reception in Hanoi, Chinh said following COP26, Vietnam has actively worked to fulfil its commitments, VNA reported.

The Vietnamese Government has established the National Steering Committee for realising Vietnam’s commitments to COP26; built the National Power Development Plan for the 2021-2020 period with a vision to 2045, a national strategy on climate change till 2050, the transport sector’s action plan on green energy transition and reduction of carbon and methane emissions, a national action plan on green growth for 2021-2030, and an action plan on methane reduction towards 2030.

The Vietnamese Government has also phased out thermal power plants to cut emissions, developed green energy, promoted investment in forest plantations, and reduced methane emissions, he said, adding that the Vietnamese ministries and agencies have been taking practical and specific actions to achieve the goal of zero emissions by 2050.

Highlighting the need to ensure fairness in response to climate change, PM Chinh said as a developing country, Vietnam has made climate change response commitments in line with developed nations and therefore needs their support in training, technology, governance and institution building.

He suggested development partners transfer technology related to renewable energy to Vietnam as well as offer loans at reasonable costs.

The host proposed the UK and the international community assist in assessing the potential of solar and wind power in the country to build a roadmap and encourage investment in the field.

The PM also asked Sharma to urge technical groups to work more together and accelerate talks on fair energy transition.

COP26 President Returns to VietNam to Drive Progress on Clean Energy Transition
President of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Alok Sharma urges Vietnam to bring forward a revised 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), aligned with its 2050 net zero target. Photo: VGP

Sharma, for his part, vowed to pool the support of the UK Government, developed nations, the United Nations and international organizations in realizing commitments as well as in finance, technology and human resource training.

He also promised to convey the PM’s message about fairness in energy transition cooperation and climate change response to development partners.

He said he hoped a political statement on the establishment of the Just Energy Transition Partnership will be adopted at COP27 in Egypt later this year.

Meeting with Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Tran Hong Ha in Hanoi on August 29, Sharma highlighted that JETP would support Vietnam to accelerate its transition away from coal as part of the country’s commitment to its 2050 net zero target.

As a country-led partnership, JETP will be a long-term political agreement between the Government of Vietnam and an International Partner Group (IPG) of countries, comprising the UK, European Union, France, Germany, Japan, and the US.

The partnership will be underpinned by clear plans to deliver a just energy transition and catalyze clean energy investment, offering Vietnam the opportunity to become a world leader in renewable energy.

COP26 President Returns to VietNam to Drive Progress on Clean Energy Transition
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha had a meeting with visiting President for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) Alok Kumar Sharma in Hanoi on August 29. Photo: VGP

On the same day, National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue welcomed Sharma, saying the country has released a set of tasks and solutions for fulfilling the COP26 commitments, the national strategy against climate change by 2050, an action plan on cutting methane emissions by 2030, and an action program on green energy transition and reduction of carbon and methane emissions in the transport industry.

Vietnam is finalizing the PDP VIII, aiming to make the most of natural gas and renewables for electricity production and minimize the number of coal-fired thermal power plants, he added.

He thanked COP26 President Sharma for helping Vietnam mobilize support from the UK Government, the EU, and development partners in its energy transition process by driving forward discussions on the Just Energy Transition Partnership.

Vietnam wishes to learn from developed countries’ practices in order to seize opportunities and surmount challenges in energy transition, he added.

Given that talks on energy transition remained very complex and difficult, he said Sharma’s visit is very important as it is expected to drive the process forward.

Hue further noted that the Vietnamese NA has developed an action plan to enhance the regulatory framework for the energy transition and will allocate resources for this process and intensify supervision of the legal enforcement of this matter.

COP26 President Returns to VietNam to Drive Progress on Clean Energy Transition
President of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Alok Sharma visits the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho. Source: UK’s embassy in Hanoi
COP26 President Returns to VietNam to Drive Progress on Clean Energy Transition
Half of the Mekong Delta is at risk of permanent flooding, impacting the livelihoods of around 17 million people, and two-thirds of Viet Nam’s agricultural output. Source: UK’s embassy in Hanoi

In his trip this time, Sharma also visited Can Tho in the Mekong River Delta – accompanied by researchers from Can Tho University and Dragon-Mekong Research Institute – to observe the impact of river bank erosion and sea level rise on vulnerable areas.

Sharma heard first-hand accounts from local communities benefiting from a project on urban resilience against flooding and climate change impact.

Sharma emphasized collaboration with countries, including Vietnam, to tackle the effects of our changing climate, and protecting lives and livelihoods, is a key focus of the UK’s COP Presidency.

Hannah Nguyen