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Building sea-based economy key to sustainable marine development: Minister

A sea-based economy holds the key position in sustainably developing the sea and the islands, according to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha.

He made the confirmation in an article written ahead of the 8th session of the 12th Party Central Committee from October 2 to 6. The Vietnam Maritime Strategy towards 2020 is part of the event’s agenda.

The minister emphasised that Vietnam is a littoral nation with its history, traditions and culture closely connected with the sea. The East Sea holds a pivotal role in the country’s geostrategy, politics, economy and nature.

Amidst the trend of developing and capitalising on marine potential and advantages, the 10th Party Central Committee issued Resolution No. 09-NQ/TW, dated February 9, 2007, on the Vietnam maritime strategy towards 2020. This is a big and visionary policy matching the global trend and meeting requirements in the cause of national building and defence.

Minister Ha said over the 10 years of the implementation of the resolution, a number of fundamental and important achievements have been gained, from mindset to awareness and from economy to defence and security ensuring, diplomacy and international cooperation.

However, to become a strong maritime nation in the new context, Vietnam needs a breakthrough mindset that comes in line with the world’s sustainable development trend and ensures harmony between development and conservation.

Building a sea-based economy on the foundation of knowledge, creativity and natural potential plays the central role, and this must be the strategic orientation for the viewpoints and targets on sustainable maritime development of Vietnam, he wrote.

Ha noted that global challenges, especially environmental degradation and pollution, biological degradation and climate change, have been seriously threatening the health of the seas and oceans around the globe, including in Vietnam.

In the past, economic development and marine environment protection were not connected closely. The health of Vietnam’s sea areas has not been ensured as the country has yet to succeed in harmonising the utilisation of marine resources with the protection and recovery of marine and coastal ecosystems.

To develop a sea-based economy, it is necessary to reduce marine pollution sources right in the mainland by simultaneously curbing the expansion of industries using outdated and polluting technologies, and promoting the recycle and reuse of products and emissions generated by one industry in other sectors, he said.

He also called for stronger investment to the conservation and development of biodiversity values by expanding and setting up marine conservation areas and reviving natural ecosystems, particularly coral reefs, seagrasses, mangrove forests and coastal protection forests.

Vietnam should improve the disaster forecasting and warning capacity, stay active in preventing and mitigating disasters at sea, and adapt to climate change.

Additionally, the country also needs to restructure sea-based economic sectors and to prioritise marine tourism, renewable energy and marine biotechnology, aside from continuing to step up traditional industries like shipping, petroleum and marine resources exploitation, aquaculture, fishing, and shipbuilding, Minister Ha wrote.

He added the potential of Vietnam’s sea-based economy has yet to be fully tapped, partly because of a shortage of high-quality manpower in marine science and technology. Therefore, modern science – technology and high-quality human resources are breakthrough factors that will help with sustainable marine development in the time ahead.

The official concluded that to become a strong littoral nation, Vietnam needs to boost consistent awareness of the role and the special importance of the sea in the cause of national development and defence among the whole Party, people and army. Sustainable marine development must be the responsibility of the entire political system as well as the right and obligation of each organisation, business, community and citizen, the minister said.