DataViz - Custom code

Vietnam, officially Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is a country located in Southeast Asia, covering an area of 331,699 km², with a population of over 96.5 million in 2019. Vietnam has an extensive coastline and a diverse but generally warm climate including temperate and tropical regions [1]

The year 2021 marks 76 years since Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence, 46 years since Reunification, and 35 years since the launch of Ðổi Mới, which catapulted the nation from the ranks of the world’s poorest to one of its great development success stories [2], [3].

Important National Context

Vietnam is experiencing a rapid demographic and social change. According to the results of the 2019 census on population and housing, the total population in Vietnam is expected to expand to 120 million by 2050. Results also indicated that 55.5% of the population is under 35 years of age. Unfortunately, the population is rapidly aging.

Over the recent decades, the urban area has increasingly shown its driving force in socio-economic development, contributing about 70% of the country's GDP. According to the Ministry of Construction, the urbanization rate increased from 30.5% in 2010 to 38.4% in 2019 nationwide [4].     

Between 2002 and 2018, GDP per capita increased and more than 45 million people were lifted out of poverty. Poverty rates have fallen sharply from over 70% to under 6% (US$3.2/day PPP). Vietnam's economy has shown remarkable resilience and although it has been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, GDP continued to grow in 2020 [2].

The acceleration of information technology, robotics, and artificial intelligence will bring challenges and opportunities to the country's manufacturing and telecommunications industries. Vietnam is an increasingly open economy, embroiled in international markets and competition. Any disruptive technological breakthrough anywhere will have an impact, but a modern national innovation system will prepare the country to manage the challenges and maximize the opportunities [3].  

Environmental Governance

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) continues to play an important role in the state management of Vietnam’s environment. The functions of environmental management in several specialized areas, such as solid waste management, marine environment, marine and island environment management, and biodiversity management and conservation, have been assigned to relevant ministries and agencies of local governments, which participate in their implementation.

At the local level, environmental protection agencies (EPA) have been established in all 63 provinces and municipalities to date, and natural resources and environment bureaus have been established in 672/675 districts. Many districts have increased the number of staff with environmental expertise for the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DONRE). In most communes and districts, the state management of the environment is entrusted to part-time cadastral officers, but a few have full-time staff. Others have entrusted this task to the clerks of the People's Committee of the commune or district.

National context alignement with the EU Green Deal

After adopting the European Green Deal in December 2019, the European Union (EU) has been working closely with partner countries, including Vietnam, to provide technical and policy support aimed at strengthening sustainable consumption and production policy and implementation towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient and a more circular economy, aligned to the priorities and ambitions set out in the Green Deal.

Specifically, the EU has been providing support to the Government of Vietnam to develop and implement the National Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production (2021-2030). This Action Plan aims to identify key priority activities and tasks to implement and promote sustainable consumption and production in Vietnam, enhancing sustainable lifestyles and improving the quality of people's lives towards a circular economy. In addition, through the SWITCH-Asia Programme, the EU is continuing to support Vietnam to develop Sustainable Seafood Consumption and Production Guidelines [5],[6].

The EU and Vietnam signed a free trade agreement in 2019, which will eliminate 99% of all tariffs, reduce regulatory barriers and red tape, and open markets for services and public procurement. Vietnam ranks as the EU's 15th “trade in goods” partner and the EU's largest trading partner in ASEAN in 2020. EU exports to Vietnam are mainly high-tech products, vehicles, and pharmaceutical products, while Vietnam exports electronic products, footwear, textiles and clothing, coffee, rice, seafood, and furniture.

Key Environmental-Development Challenges

Climate Change

Climate change is already occurring in Vietnam and will intensify in the coming decades. Climate change poses a major threat to development in Vietnam, where more than 50% of the labour force and income depend on climate-sensitive natural resources. In addition, the majority of the population live in coastal areas and lowland deltas subject to sea level rise and flooding. Old and inefficient infrastructure and current social development paths may increase economic vulnerability without considering potential changes in temperature, rainfall, and other climatic variables.

In recent years, extreme climate events have been recorded with increasing intensity and frequency. In addition, Vietnam has high and increasing exposure to the moderate impacts associated with slow onset sea level rise, ocean warming, and acidification, as well as the abrupt impacts associated with tropical cyclones and rapidly rising extreme heat. In the Mekong River delta reduced flow and sediment from transboundary hydropower development and rising sea levels are causing saline intrusion and damaging paddy irrigation areas. Given the multiple pathways through which climate change will affect Vietnam, economic and social impacts are likely to be significant and far-reaching. A variety of sectors and areas are being affected by climate change, including agriculture, aquaculture, urban dwellers, human health, and infrastructure. Moreover, climate change impacts the country's valuable coastal zones, where more than 60% of the coastal population depend on marine resources for their livelihoods. Coral reefs and mangroves are valued at $2 billion and $83 million per year, respectively, for their contributions to fishing, tourism, and storm protection [7].


[1] Climate Risk Country Profile: Vietnam (2020): The World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank.

[2] [Online]. Available:

[3] World Bank; Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam. 2016. Vietnam 2035 : Toward Prosperity, Creativity, Equity, and Democracy. Washington, DC: World Bank. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.

[4] [Online]. Available:

[5] [Online]. Available:

[6] [Online]. Available: 

[7] Emerton, Lucy. (2013). The economic value of ecosystem services in the Mekong Basin: what we know, and what we need to know. 10.13140/2.1.4583.0728.

[8] [Online]. Available:$id=192