Astrid Klug: Vietnam is an important partner in environmental protection

The Federal Environment Ministry will provide the government of Vietnam with increased assistance for environmental and climate protection. Following political talks in Vietnam, Astrid Klug, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry, stated: "Ongoing climate change is a very serious threat for Vietnam. Measures to protect Vietnam's long coastline and the sources of livelihood of people in the large river deltas are urgently needed. This is why we support the coastal protection project which promotes self-help locally". Altogether the Federal Environment Ministry is providing more than 2.8 million euro for this purpose and for projects geared to expanding wind energy and the use of small biogas installations.

As well as talks with the Vietnamese government, Astrid Klug's programme comprised a visit to a climate project in the southern Bac Lieu province. With its long coastline and the two large estuaries - the Mekong delta in the South and the Red River delta in the North - Vietnam is one of the countries most affected by climate change. An increasing number of hurricanes and the rise in sea level constitute a threat to the "rice bowl of Southeast Asia" and the living space of millions. The coastal protection project is being financed through the Federal Environment Ministry's international climate initiative with 1.6 million euro. Together with the local administration the GTZ (Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit) will contribute to coastal stabilisation and to the protection of biological diversity by planting mangrove forests.

Under the Federal Environment Ministry's climate initiative, assistance is also being provided for the government in Hanoi for improving the framework conditions for expanding wind energy. 1 million euro is earmarked for this purpose. Vietnam plans to adopt a promotion tool based on the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). German experts are also assisting the Vietnamese Finance Ministry in launching ecological taxation.

Finally, the Federal Environment Ministry is providing 230,000 euro for a programme which makes manure from pig fattening farms usable for biogas generation. Pork is a staple food in Vietnam. In particular small farms do not have an opportunity for adequate manure disposal and simply discharge manure into open lagoons or rivers. This is not only a major threat to human health; it also leads to the release of large volumes of methane.

In bilateral talks in Hanoi, Astrid Klug and Vietnamese government representatives discussed topical issues of environmental policy and perspectives of future cooperation. Astrid Klug stated: "Dynamic industrialisation and rehabilitation geared to overcoming the consequences of war constitute great challenges for Vietnam. This applies in particular to environmental protection."

Astrid Klug also opened a German-Vietnamese workshop on brownfields redevelopment. For years Germany and Vietnam have closely cooperated in areas such as the reclamation of contaminated sites, soil conservation, water supply and waste water management as well as waste management. With more than 86 million inhabitants Vietnam is an important partner in Southeast Asia and an interesting market for environmental technology.