“Green Accounting” Workshop in Vietnam

A four-day training workshop was been held 17-20 August at the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) on environmental accounting. The workshop was conducted within Danida’s Poverty Reduction Grant (PRG) programme, implemented jointly by CIEM and the University of Copenhagen. 

The University of Copenhagen organised the course, arranging for two experts from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to take charge of the training.

The objective of integrated environmental and economic accounting, also known as “green accounting”, is to provide policy makers with more accurate information on whether development is on a sustainable development path. These accounting methods have been developed in line with the System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA), as tools to track natural resource depletion and environmental degradation.

“Green National Accounting” refers to an accounting system deducting natural resources depletion costs and environmental degradation costs, in order to assess the quality of economic development in a real sense. National income account systems, as they currently stand, do not properly take into account the impacts of economic activity on the environment. For example, while national accounts typically include the depreciation of physical capital overtime, the depletion of natural capital, on the other hand, is treated as income. Similarly, polluting activities and the cost of pollution clean up are also treated favorably in national income accounts.

Vietnam is rich in natural resources, and is growing quickly in large part thanks to the exploitation of these resources. Green GDP, therefore, is an important concept for national statisticians and policy makers to understand. But it is also currently a relatively new and underexplored concept in Vietnam.

Representatives from the General Statistics Office (GSO), the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) and the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) attended the course and discussion. The four-day training course involved a series of lectures and interactive workshops at CIEM. Comprehensive discussion question and answer sessions were also held between all stakeholders, with some interesting and informative comments and suggestions for future work to try to mainstream environmental accounting into Vietnam’s system of national accounts.

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