A Centre for Environmental Technology – Swedish CENTEC Vietnam is established as a bridge between Sweden and Vietnam to facilitate meetings between Swedish and Vietnamese partners in the environmental field, including energy and climate change – related issues.
The Centre will promote exchanges between the two countries both at state and private levels. It is a clear example of stakeholder involvement and entirely financed under the development assistance.
The Ambassador of Sweden in Vietnam, Mr Staffan Herrström highlighted that CENTEC will lead to a new and long-term bilateral cooperation which benefits both Swedish and Vietnamese partners. Mr Staffan Herrström stressed: “Sweden has an excellent reputation in Vietnam and there is great demand for Swedish know-how in areas such as environmental technology. As the development assistance to Vietnam will be phased out, the Swedish government has decided to increasingly focus on the so-called stakeholder involvement. This means a stronger collaboration between the partners in each country aimed at long-term partnerships to boost the development of both Vietnam and Sweden.”
Vietnam has over the last decade had an annual economic growth of around 6-7 percent. This has meant that Vietnam have been able to go from one of the world’s poorest countries to one lower middle income country with a GDP per capita exceeding $ 1,000 per year. Rapid economic growth has also brought great pressure on the Vietnamese environment. This, together with the increasing climate change will have serious consequences for Vietnam. Only a small change in sea level can have major effects on South Vietnam.
The Director of the Swedish CENTEC Vietnam, Mr Tomas Hertzman has conducted a series of discussions with potential partners in both Sweden and Vietnam and saw a wide scope of work for CENTEC, ranging from waste management to waste and energy; sustainable fish farming/aquaculture; education for sustainable development/climate change, energy efficiency, bio-fuel and more. Mr Tomas Hertsman noted: “There is a great interest in what Vietnam is and stands for and a general positive attitude to continue supporting development here. The challenge in the task ahead of CENTEC is maybe to find the mutuality in partnership – to not fall back into old traditional one-way flow of resources. I am actually sure Sweden and Swedish sustainable development actors can learn from and develop through a closer partnership with Vietnamese partners.”
CENTEC is defined to act within three clusters of potential partners. The Private Sector is maybe the one that is most vibrant and where the most expectations are. But also in the market economy there is need for well-defined “rules of the game” and ministries and authorities have to find a way to work with and for the private sector in a rapidly changing global context. The third cluster is the Institutions where Universities and education play a key role in developing capacities and skills to support not only development but to make development sustain while contribute to livelihood improvements.