Strong economic growth in Vietnam has brought about rapid deterioration in the quality of environment and natural resources, according to a new World Bank report "Vietnam Environment Monitor 2002." Its economy doubled in the past ten years, exports increased by 25% per year, poverty rate reduced by half to 35% of the total population; and foreign direct investment has increased from 169 million to 800 million in 2000.
Unfortunately, burgeoning urban populations are overwhelming municipal infrastructure and services and causing serious environmental damage – untreated hazardous waste and raw sewage flowing into open channels. The Government of Vietnam and other key stakeholders are addressing this issue to work towards sustainable economic growth that protects the environment and invests in human and social capital, the World Bank reported.
The Environment Monitor advocates the necessity of providing quality data and analyses to facilitate cost-effective policy responses. Improving data collection and storage methods, systematising analysis and enhancing accuracy, sharing information, and strengthening capacity would provide Vietnam with the required tools to better formulate, implement and refine its environmental policies. The Monitor is seen as a modest first step to address this gap by presenting a snapshot of key environmental trends in the country.
The Vietnamese government will use the Monitor to help implement environmental priorities outlined in the National Environmental Strategy and Action Plan (2001-2010). The World Bank intends to prepare annual monitors for Vietnam, each with special emphasis to priority environmental issues in coming years, according to Zafer Ecevit, sector director for Environmental and Social Development.