UK pledges support on Vietnam’s path to pursue a greener future

Vietnam and the UK have substantial cooperation opportunities in the fulfilment of green growth targets, British Ambassador Gareth Ward has affirmed in a recent interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency.

According to British Ambassador Gareth Ward, Vietnam is facing a slew of challenges like increased salinity levels and extreme weather events, and the “very dynamic economy” needs energy to continue its economic development.

So against that background, it's a big challenge to get the climate policy right, he said.

The ambassador, therefore, said he is very impressed by the commitments set out by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, the UK, last November.

"So we were extremely impressed, very impressed by the commitments set out by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at Glasgow last year. First of all, the headline commitment to join 80 or 90% of countries globally who have now committed to net zero in 2050. And then more specifically, to commit to a transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy, to protect forests to reduce methane emissions. So there's a lot of work that we can do together," he said.

UK Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward said the international community also increased its commitment to provide finance to developing countries, such as Vietnam.

"We want to work with Vietnam and other big donors and institutions like the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and other partners to ensure the climate finance is flowing to Vietnam, particularly to the grid," he said.

Regarding the Vietnam-UK strategic partnership in 2021, Ward said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the relations have made a lot of progress in politics, security and economy.

He highlighted the exchange of delegations in the year, notably the trip to the UK by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh from October 31 to November 2, and the official visit to Vietnam by British Secretary of State for Defence Robert Ben Lobban Wallace in July.

The highlight of last year was the signing and implementation of the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, which officially took effect from May 1 and is creating opportunities to businesses of both sides.

"We can already see that that is improving the trade statistics. We know that last year, trade increased about 16 percent compared to 2020. So that shows that the UK Vietnam Free Trade Agreement is giving opportunities to businesses on both sides," he added.

For the COVID-19 fight, the ambassador said Vietnam has done "very well” in speeding up its vaccination programme, which has saved many lives.

"Vietnam has successfully attracted donations of vaccines for and has purchased vaccines from other countries, and now your vaccination rate is the same as or perhaps even higher than the UK. So that's an excellent achievement.", he highlighted.

In addition, Vietnam has also modified procedures of tracking and tracing to make sure that it can be balanced against living with COVID-19.

He suggested the country focus on supporting the economic recovery and getting children back to school in 2022.

The UK will continue to support Vietnam in the pandemic combat, and coordination in science and technology, especially in tracking new variants, the ambassador pledged./.

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