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Post-COVID recovery: Việt Nam on the right track but more rigorous changes needed

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A solar energy farm in the foot of Núi Cấm Mountain in the southern province of An Giang. — VNA/ Photo

HÀ  NỘI — Việt Nam has been on the right track towards the goals of cutting carbon emissions and phasing out coal mine plants but will need more vigorous financial and institutional changes to deliver a green, sustainable and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

International experts, think tanks and government officials discussed solutions at a high-level conference hosted both online and in-person by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) yesterday in Hà Nội.

The conference was held as Việt Nam stands at a critical juncture, seeking to rebound from COVID-19, which has dampened the economic growth, and meet the commitments of carbon neutrality and transition to clean energy at COP26.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh said in the backdrop of unprecedented impacts caused by the pandemic, countries will have the opportunity to review issues and implement policy and measures to safely adapt to the pandemic, transition to the new growth models, pursue a green and circular economy, among others, to achieve more inclusive and sustainable recovery.

“The issue for the Vietnamese Government in the post-pandemic era is not simply pursuing recovery but how to pursue recovery,” he said.

“With bold commitments made at COP26, the Vietnamese Government has had a clear answer, which is to pursue green and inclusive rebound.”

He added that Việt Nam will actively partake in global trends such as reopening, socio-economic development, green transition and digital transformation.

The deputy prime minister said it will be an extensive transition that requires Việt Nam to focus on improving its institutions and policies and enhancing the efficiency and competitiveness of the economy.

“The transition also poses a challenge in tackling social impacts, as workers have not been equipped with a know-how and a capacity to participate in a new working market with higher demands and requirements,” he said, noting that the lack of finance, technology and capacity is also a problem that needs to be addressed.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor of Columbia University, and a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, said addressing climate change issues and the transition to the green economy will bring job opportunities and long-term sustainable growth for countries and Việt Nam needs to act now to be able to meet its commitments of carbon neutrality by 2050.

“I see addressing climate change as providing opportunities for growth and creating more dynamics in the economy. Climate change has potential for promoting growth and creating jobs,” he said.

 “Việt Nam is one of the few developing countries that has been stepping up and made commitments in carbon neutrality and elimination of coals, fuels.”

“Việt Nam’s approach is the right one. It’s better to be in the advanced guard in the transition to a green economy.

“The economy of the future is going to be the green economy. By moving more quickly toward that green economy, Việt Nam is taking an important step in advancing its own interest and rapid and sustainable growth.”

“The world and every country are facing multiple crises, including the health, climate, inequality crisis. For developing countries, this is a special challenge as this comes on top of the imperative close the gap they have in standards of living with countries,” Prof. Stiglitz said.

The professor said Việt Nam should grab the opportunity to make a sustainable and inclusive economy that is attractive to investment, which is now driven by geopolitics.

“This is the special moment of opportunity for Việt Nam as we are confronting a changing geopolitical arena.

“Việt Nam has the opportunity to create a more dynamic sustainable inclusive society and economy that has competitive advantages that will attract investment from all over the world and put it in good stead for the decades to come,” he said. 

Workers inspect a solar plant in An Giang Province. — VNA/ Photo

Prof. Stiglitz said the country must act now to realise its goals set at COP26.

“If Việt Nam is going to meet its commitments to carbon neutrality by 2050, it has to begin now and has to make sure the investments that are undertaken today will be consistent with that message of carbon neutrality by 2050.”

Besides regulatory framework, finance, and technology, the professor also emphasised the need to work on an education system “appropriately designed” to teach learners how to learn and become more adaptable to changes, as a green economy will create new jobs.

“As we move to the green economy, there will be large changes, mostly positive. It will create lots of jobs in sectors like service, R&D, knowledge economy and innovation economy.”

We want is resilient workers who can go from jobs that are going to be lost to new jobs that will be created, he said.

“The key is education, an education system that is appropriately designed to teach them how to learn, to create a learning society so they continue to learn in the rest of their life,” Prof. Stiglitz said.

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said a green and inclusive rebound is possible if we transcend the logic of trade-offs of economy versus environment and focus instead on the synergies from economic development that prioritises sustainability and inclusivity.  

Steiner highlighted six lessons from UNDP’s global efforts to support countries in driving a green circular economic rebound.

They include innovative long-term financing, just climate transition, bridging the digital divide, gender equality, triple-a governance (anticipatory, agile, and adaptive), and shock-resilient social protection.

“Việt Nam continues to be a pioneer in designing and implementing solutions to pressing development challenges such as stubborn pockets of poverty, economic and social inequalities, and limited digital and energy access,” said Steiner.

The one-day conference, which brought in eminent international and national thought leaders and policymakers, had three sessions focusing on green recovery and resilience; trade, investment and innovation for a sustainable rebound; and strengthening the role of government in accelerating a green and inclusive rebound. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/1158480/post-covid-recovery-viet-nam-on-the-right-track-but-more-rigorous-changes-needed.html

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S.Korea tops list of foreign visitors to Vietnam in first month of 2023

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South Korea is the country accounting for the highest number of international visitors to Vietnam in the first month of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The number of international tourist arrivals in Vietnam in January 2023 amounted to more than 871,000, making an increase of 23.2 percent compared to December last year, the GSO reported recently.

Among the total, some 259,000 travelers were from South Korea, placing the Northeastern Asian country in the first position on the list of international arrivals to Vietnam last month.  

Ranking second was the U.S. with nearly 77,900 tourists and the third place went to Thailand with some 55,000 travelers.

The fourth and fifth positions belonged to Australia and Japan with about 44,000 and 34,000 visitors, respectively.

This image shows a member of the group of 120 South Korean tourists being offered flowers by a local receptionist when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, in south-central Vietnam, on January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

This image shows a member of a group of 120 South Korean tourists getting flowers when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, south-central Vietnam, January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

International travelers to Vietnam by air occupied the largest portion, at 91.9 percent, while those by road and by sea represented 7.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, the GSO said.

The figure of foreign arrivals to Vietnam in January 2023 rose 44.2 percent from a year earlier, but it fell 42 percent compared to the same period of 2019, when the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to hit the Southeast Asian country. 

Last month saw numbers of visitors to Vietnam from China and Russia, two of Vietnam’s major sources of tourists, reach nearly 47,000 and 12,000, respectively, far lower than over 660,000 and 36,000 in the same period in 2019, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Total tourism revenue in January neared VND46 trillion (US$1.96 billion), lower than the expected monthly average of VND54 trillion ($2.3 billion) for 2023.

The tourism sector has set a goal of welcoming about eight million international visitors in 2023, equal to 45 percent of the 2019 target, the VNAT said.

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South Korea is the country accounting for the highest number of international visitors to Vietnam in the first month of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The number of international tourist arrivals in Vietnam in January 2023 amounted to more than 871,000, making an increase of 23.2 percent compared to December last year, the GSO reported recently.

Among the total, some 259,000 travelers were from South Korea, placing the Northeastern Asian country in the first position on the list of international arrivals to Vietnam last month.  

Ranking second was the U.S. with nearly 77,900 tourists and the third place went to Thailand with some 55,000 travelers.

The fourth and fifth positions belonged to Australia and Japan with about 44,000 and 34,000 visitors, respectively.

This image shows a member of the group of 120 South Korean tourists being offered flowers by a local receptionist when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, in south-central Vietnam, on January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

This image shows a member of a group of 120 South Korean tourists getting flowers when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, south-central Vietnam, January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

International travelers to Vietnam by air occupied the largest portion, at 91.9 percent, while those by road and by sea represented 7.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, the GSO said.

The figure of foreign arrivals to Vietnam in January 2023 rose 44.2 percent from a year earlier, but it fell 42 percent compared to the same period of 2019, when the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to hit the Southeast Asian country. 

Last month saw numbers of visitors to Vietnam from China and Russia, two of Vietnam’s major sources of tourists, reach nearly 47,000 and 12,000, respectively, far lower than over 660,000 and 36,000 in the same period in 2019, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Total tourism revenue in January neared VND46 trillion (US$1.96 billion), lower than the expected monthly average of VND54 trillion ($2.3 billion) for 2023.

The tourism sector has set a goal of welcoming about eight million international visitors in 2023, equal to 45 percent of the 2019 target, the VNAT said.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230201/skorea-tops-list-of-foreign-visitors-to-vietnam-in-first-month-of-2023/71250.html

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Work starts on operation building for Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line

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The groundbreaking for the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line was held on Tuesday.

Upon completion, the operation and management (O&M) building will be the headquarters for Ho Chi Minh City No.1 Urban Railway Company with the primary function of operating the entirety of metro line No. 1.

The facility is located at Long Binh depot in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City.

The construction of the city’s first metro line is about 94 percent complete, Nguyen Quoc Hien, an official from the municipal Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), the project developer, said at the ceremony.

The developer, contractor, and consulting team are working hard to complete the remaining categories and prepare for technical test operation of the metro route in 2023, Hien continued.

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building covers an area of more than 1,500 square meters, has two stories, and has a lifespan of 100 years.

The construction is expected to last for nine months.

This year marks an important phase of the project as it will be the transition from the construction of the metro line to the official operation of the route in 2024, according to Hien.

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong stated that 2022 marked many memorable milestones of metro line No. 1, especially the trial operation of the elevated section from Suoi Tien Terminal to Binh Thai Station.

Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building is a very important ‘piece’ for the whole project, Cuong stressed.

The official requested that relevant units ensure the progress of the project and put it into operation in 2024.

The city’s first metro line is 19.7 kilometers long, including 2.6 kilometers of underground railway and 17.1 kilometers of elevated track.

It runs from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in Thu Duc City through three underground stations and 11 stops above the ground.

The project broke ground in August 2012 at a cost of VND43,700 billion (US$1.86 billion), most of which comes from Japan’s official development assistance loans.

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The groundbreaking for the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line was held on Tuesday.

Upon completion, the operation and management (O&M) building will be the headquarters for Ho Chi Minh City No.1 Urban Railway Company with the primary function of operating the entirety of metro line No. 1.

The facility is located at Long Binh depot in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City.

The construction of the city’s first metro line is about 94 percent complete, Nguyen Quoc Hien, an official from the municipal Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), the project developer, said at the ceremony.

The developer, contractor, and consulting team are working hard to complete the remaining categories and prepare for technical test operation of the metro route in 2023, Hien continued.

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building covers an area of more than 1,500 square meters, has two stories, and has a lifespan of 100 years.

The construction is expected to last for nine months.

This year marks an important phase of the project as it will be the transition from the construction of the metro line to the official operation of the route in 2024, according to Hien.

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong stated that 2022 marked many memorable milestones of metro line No. 1, especially the trial operation of the elevated section from Suoi Tien Terminal to Binh Thai Station.

Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building is a very important ‘piece’ for the whole project, Cuong stressed.

The official requested that relevant units ensure the progress of the project and put it into operation in 2024.

The city’s first metro line is 19.7 kilometers long, including 2.6 kilometers of underground railway and 17.1 kilometers of elevated track.

It runs from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in Thu Duc City through three underground stations and 11 stops above the ground.

The project broke ground in August 2012 at a cost of VND43,700 billion (US$1.86 billion), most of which comes from Japan’s official development assistance loans.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230201/work-starts-on-operation-building-for-ho-chi-minh-citys-first-metro-line/71248.html

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4 undersea Internet cables face problems, affecting Vietnam’s international connections

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Four out of the five submarine Internet cable systems connecting Vietnam to the world are facing problems, with the latest failure recorded on Saturday, seriously affecting users’ international connections, an Internet service provider (ISP) said.

The Intra Asia (IA) cable system encountered problems on January 28 when a cable breakage happened about 130 kilometers from a shoreline station in Singapore, leading to a total loss of international data from Vietnam to the city-state, the ISP said.

This system, with a total length of 6,800 kilometers, has been in operation since November 2009 to connect Internet users in Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam. 

It also served as an important route for Internet data transit to the Americas and Europe from users in Vietnam and other regional countries.

On January 21, the APG cable system faced an incident on its S9 branch connecting to Singapore, interrupting the connection between Vietnam and Singapore and Japan.

This line runs about 10,400 kilometers underwater across the Pacific Ocean, linking Vietnam with mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore.

Two other undersea cable routes, AAG and AAE-1, have had troubles since the end of 2022 and have not been fixed yet. 

In addition to these five lines, Vietnam is hooked up to two other submarine Internet cables, SJC2 and ADC, but they are not yet officially operational, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported. 

The latest incident means that Vietnam currently has only one undersea cable line left, the SMW3, to link the country to the world.

However, this system is outdated and is about to be discarded, according to ISPs.

The failure of the four cable systems has seriously affected the speed of Vietnam’s international Internet connections.

ISPs said they have deployed routing solutions to overland cable lines, as well as implementing other contingency plans, to minimize the impacts on domestic users.

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Four out of the five submarine Internet cable systems connecting Vietnam to the world are facing problems, with the latest failure recorded on Saturday, seriously affecting users’ international connections, an Internet service provider (ISP) said.

The Intra Asia (IA) cable system encountered problems on January 28 when a cable breakage happened about 130 kilometers from a shoreline station in Singapore, leading to a total loss of international data from Vietnam to the city-state, the ISP said.

This system, with a total length of 6,800 kilometers, has been in operation since November 2009 to connect Internet users in Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam. 

It also served as an important route for Internet data transit to the Americas and Europe from users in Vietnam and other regional countries.

On January 21, the APG cable system faced an incident on its S9 branch connecting to Singapore, interrupting the connection between Vietnam and Singapore and Japan.

This line runs about 10,400 kilometers underwater across the Pacific Ocean, linking Vietnam with mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore.

Two other undersea cable routes, AAG and AAE-1, have had troubles since the end of 2022 and have not been fixed yet. 

In addition to these five lines, Vietnam is hooked up to two other submarine Internet cables, SJC2 and ADC, but they are not yet officially operational, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported. 

The latest incident means that Vietnam currently has only one undersea cable line left, the SMW3, to link the country to the world.

However, this system is outdated and is about to be discarded, according to ISPs.

The failure of the four cable systems has seriously affected the speed of Vietnam’s international Internet connections.

ISPs said they have deployed routing solutions to overland cable lines, as well as implementing other contingency plans, to minimize the impacts on domestic users.

Like us on Facebook or  follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230131/4-undersea-internet-cables-face-problems-affecting-vietnams-international-connections/71241.html

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