A special report called “Blue economy scenarios for Viet Nam” was recently launched by UNDP and the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands. The study provides an overview of the current ocean economy and a blue economy scenario for six main sectors i.e. fisheries and aquaculture, oil and gas, renewable energy, coastal and marine tourism, the maritime sector, and environment and ecosystems.
According to the assessment of Vietnam’s current ocean economy, all six sectors showed both negative and positive relationships with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Fisheries and aquaculture, maritime industry and coastal tourism have been rapidly increasing over the past decade and contributed significantly to the economic growth of the country. However, these three sectors have also led to degradation of ecosystems and negatively impacted the ocean biodiversity and ecosystem services. Due to the activities in these sectors, important marine ecosystems such as seagrass beds, coral reefs and mangrove forests in Vietnam are facing risks of degradation. In terms of mineral resources and renewable energy, while gas production remains steady and oil on the decline, offshore wind power shows the greatest potential in the near future if fully exploited.
The study analyzes and compares between baseline, conservation and blue scenarios with a focus on blue economic development. For marine capture and aquaculture, the baseline model shows an increase in total marine capture but may lead to overfishing and declining shrimp farming productivity. Under the blue economy scenario, even though the total marine catch will decrease, there will be more efforts for technological application and management practices to ensure the maximum sustainable yield for catches. In the oil and gas sector, there will be more adjustments needed regarding the policy and legal framework to empower a transition towards renewable energy in the blue economy scenario compared to the baseline model. As the blue scenario shifts away from oil and gas, the electricity production from clean energy, especially offshore wind power, will be higher with around 1.5 times more jobs and revenues than the baseline trajectory. Overall, the projected GDP of the blue economy will increase significantly with 230 million VND/ per capita in 2025 compared to 147 million VND/ year in the baseline scenario.
However, the implementation of the blue economy model still faces many challenges. Among these include the geopolitical matters in the East Sea area, limited financial capacity for a green transition, lack of technological capacity and manpower, and inefficient planning and management. Despite many difficulties, the blue economy can open many opportunities for Vietnam. The development scenario offers suitable and sustainable solutions to enhance ecosystem values while developing the economy through green measures including technology transition, sustainable exploitation of resources and encouraging conservation using green credits and green bonds. It also aligns with resolution 36 on the Strategy for Sustainable Development of Vietnam’s Marine Economy to 2030, with a vision to 2045 and Vietnam’s commitments made at COP26 to achieve net-zero by 2050.
As a marine country, Vietnam’s ocean economy is an important aspect for national economic development. Therefore, the report recommends the adoption of the blue economy scenario with a long-term plan for implementation to address the current challenges and promote the sustainability of Vietnam’s marine economy.
You can find the full report here