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The Party’s viewpoints on rapid and sustainable development of Vietnam

(PTOJ) - The 13th Party Congress called for igniting the country’s development aspirations to make Vietnam a developed country with a socialist orientation by the middle of the twenty-first century. The article examines the fundamental perspectives and answers for achieving rapid and sustainable growth in Vietnam from 2021 to 2030, with a vision to 2045.

The 13th Congress advocated for "comprehensively and synchronously promoting public the renewal, rapid, and sustainable development of the country” - Source: vovworld.vn

1. The Party’s viewpoint from the 8th to the 12th National Party Congress on rapid and sustainable development

The country’s reconstruction line has a constant and cross-cutting goal of lifting Vietnam out of poverty and backwardness and transforming it into a modern industrialized country with a socialist orientation. Because the country’s foundation is deficient and weak due to its low starting point, rapid and sustainable development is an objective necessity in the national industrialization and modernization process.

The strategy of sustainable development was first expressed in the 13th National Congress Document (1996), which stated: “Economic growth is related with social progress and fairness, maintaining and enhancing the people’s cultural identity, and environmental protection”(1). The policy of rapid development in conjunction with long-term sustainability was first mentioned at the Ninth Congress in 2001. “Fast, effective, and sustainable development, economic growth goes hand in hand with progress, social fairness, and environmental protection,” according to the 2001-2010 socio-economic development strategy(2). The 11th Congress (2011) stated that rapid and sustainable development is a long-term goal in the process of promoting industrialization and modernization, while also defining the relationship between rapid and sustainable development: “Sustainable development is the foundation for fast development, and rapid development creates resources for sustainable development.” Rapid and sustainable development must always be tightly linked in socio-economic development planning, programs, and policies. To secure the country’s growth, particular emphasis must be directed to maintaining socio-political stability, enhancing national defense and security, and resolutely protecting national independence, sovereignty, unity, and fast and indefinitely territorial integrity”(3). “Ensuring swift and sustainable development on the basis of macroeconomic stability and constantly enhancing productivity, quality, and efficiency,” the 12th Party Congress (2016) continued to add. Efficiency and competitiveness are two critical factors. Balanced growth of width and depth, concentrating on in-depth development, knowledge economy, and green economic development. Cultural and social growth, environmental conservation, and a proactive reaction to climate change must be strongly tied to economic development. Providing for national defense and security, as well as peace and stability for national development”(4). The 12th Congress, in particular, stressed the role of the economic element in the three pillars of sustainable development, viewing economic growth as a fundamental condition for ensuring Vietnam’s long-term development.

As a result, our Party increasingly supplemented its viewpoint on development based on scientific awareness from the 8th to the 12th Party Congress, in the framework of sustainable development becoming a global development trend(5). Economic, social, and ecological sustainability - natural resources and environment - are the three pillars of sustainability. As a result, the content of Vietnam’s quick and sustainable growth is defined to include: sustainable economic growth; economic growth is closely linked with cultural development, promoting social progress; economic growth associated with efficient use of resources, environmental protection, and response to climate change; ensuring national defense and security, creating a peaceful and stable environment.

In order to quickly develop Vietnam into contemporary industrial socialism, the concept of rapid and sustainable development has been concretized and put into reality for the promotion of industrialization, modernization, and international integration. However, despite the great historical achievements in the renovation process, the Party has highlighted the factors that contribute to unsustainable development, stating that “creating the foundation to bring Vietnam to become an industrialized country on the path to modernity has not yet achieved the set target”(6). Economic growth has been volatile, averaging 7% from 2006 to 2010(7), 5.9% from 2011 to 2015(8), and around 6% from 2016 to 2020(9). The economic sector structure that meets the criteria of a modern industrialized country has yet to be achieved; for example, the proportion of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries is still high, accounting for 14.88% in 2020; industry and construction 33.72%; and services 41.63%. The contribution of total factor productivity (TFP) has increased slightly but remains low, hitting around 29% in 2011-2015 and 45.7% in 2016-2020(10). National competitiveness has not improved significantly. The industry is still primarily processing and assembling, with low added value; supporting industries are developing slowly, with low localization rates and limited effective participation in global value chains; agricultural growth has slowed, with natural disasters, epidemics, and climate change having a significant impact. The socio-economic infrastructure system has not evolved in lockstep(11).

Economic development has not been strong enough to support social progress and has failed to make significant advances in raising people’s income and living standards, putting them at risk of falling into the middle-income trap. In 2015, per capita income reached 2,109 USD/person; by 2020, it will have risen to nearly 2,750 USD/person, but it remains low in comparison to the aim of an industrialized country. Poverty reduction is not a long-term solution; there is no effective way to address the rich-poor split, growing economic inequality, and control and manage conflicts and societal problems. The benefits of the country’s development successes are not evenly distributed.

Economic growth linked to resource efficiency, environmental protection, and climate change response has a number of flaws, as seen by the trend of resource scarcity and inefficient resource usage; environmental pollution produced by increased growth and poor pollution control. Slowly changing the structure of energy usage in the direction of conservation, with a higher proportion of renewable and new energy. The state of natural ecosystems and biodiversity is deteriorating. Imports of obsolete technology, machinery, equipment, raw materials, fuel, and commodities that do not meet environmental criteria are gradually being phased out(12).

The variables affecting the implementation of rapid and sustainable development in Vietnam are expected to be quite substantial between 2021 and 2030 and the following years; namely, the world situation is undergoing numerous rapid changes. Climate warming has significant implications; the Covid-19 pandemic is still uncertain.

The limitations of the process of accelerating industrialization, modernization, and international integration from 1996 to 2020, as well as forecasts for the trend of globalization, international integration, and climate change in the future, have created new requirements, namely, that the country must continue to have the correct views and appropriate solutions on fast and sustainable development in order to achieve the set goals.

2. Basic viewpoints on rapid and sustainable development at the 13th Party Congress

The 13th Congress advocated for “comprehensively and synchronously promoting public the renewal, rapid, and sustainable development of the country”(13), based on the country’s objective requirements in the interaction between development goals and the new context of globalization and international integration. The goal is to strive for “by the middle of the twenty-first century, our country will become a developed, socialist-oriented country”(14).

Following in the footsteps of past congresses, the 13th Congress proposes the following viewpoints on rapid and sustainable development: (1) Rapid and sustainable development based primarily on science and technology, innovation, and transformation. (2) Taking comprehensive, simultaneous, modern reform and improvement of the quality of socialist-oriented market economic institutions and effective law enforcement as prerequisites for development. (3) Arousing the desire to construct a prosperous and joyful country, as well as the drive to self-sufficiency and the strength of the great national united bloc to build and defend the Fatherland. Taking cultural values into account, Vietnamese people are the foundation and crucial endogenous strength for ensuring sustainable development. (4) Creating an autonomous economy based on technological mastery and proactive market integration and diversification, strengthening the economy’s adaptability. Internal strength is a critical aspect while dealing with external influences and the strength of the times. (5) Struggling actively, resolutely, and persistently to firmly protect national independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity; closely and harmoniously linking economic, cultural, and social development with national defense and security, environmental protection, and improving foreign affairs efficiency(15).

The 13th Party Congress continued to focus on the domains of economy, culture - society, natural resources - environment, and national defense - security to achieve rapid and sustainable development. In terms of implementation methods, the new points are:

Emphasizing the role of three factors: science, technology, innovation, and digital transformation; affirming the need to renew thinking and action; proactively seizing the opportunities of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 in conjunction with the international integration process; development of digital economy, digital society.

In terms of driving force in rapid and sustainable development, consider the following: Emphasizing the desire to develop a prosperous and happy country, the desire to be self-sufficient, and the strength of the great national unity bloc; human beings as the center, subject, and most crucial resource of development; cultural values as the foundation and essential endogenous strength to ensure sustainable development; Vietnamese people as the foundation and essential endogenous strength to ensure sustainable development.

The 13th Party Congress focused on essential solutions to rapid and sustained development in order to attain the established goals:

In terms of economic development: Focus on perfecting and increasing the quality of socialist-oriented market economic institutions and improving the state-market-society relationship. To promote the digital economy and construct a digital society, implement a comprehensive national digital transformation. Develop science, technology, and innovation, and digital transformation to achieve breakthroughs in productivity, quality, efficiency, and competitiveness in the economy; science, technology, and innovation are the main engines of economic growth.

It is necessary to accelerate industrialization and modernization, restructure the economy in conjunction with the renewal of the growth model, assure substance and efficiency; to build the digital economy, and promote rapid and sustainable growth based on macroeconomic stability. It is ensured that state-owned firms are a vital material force in the government economy by renovating and improving their efficiency, accelerating the application of science and technology, innovating, and managing according to international standards. It is focused on encouraging the formation and development of large private economic groups with solid potential and regional and international competitiveness; strongly developing the private sector of the Vietnamese people in both quantity and quality, truly becoming a critical driving force in economic development; encouraging agricultural restructuring, as well as the development of high-tech applied agriculture, organic agriculture, and ecological agriculture, while adhering to prevalent food safety norms; building a robust national industry through a harmonic combination of width and depth, a concentration on developing in depth, and a breakthrough in enhancing industrial product productivity, quality, and competitiveness; restructuring the industry to improve technology, innovation, and digital transformation, taking full use of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s potential and commercial advantages; promoting industrial restructuring in the direction of growing high-tech, high-value-added industries and advancing to high-value-added stages in each industry’s value chain; establishing some platform industries; making the growth of a few spearhead industries, new technologies, and high technology a top priority; developing the military and security industry in a dual-use approach has the potential to become a national industrial leader; developing infrastructure, regional economies, and the maritime economy, and use metropolitan areas as a driving factor for regional development and new rural regions construction.

In terms of economic development, which is intimately tied to cultural development and promotes social progress: We have to develop the cultural fields fully and synchronously, which ensure that while promoting the nation’s good values and at the same time we still can both promote the nation’s good values and absorb humanity’s cultural essence to serve as a catalyst for socio-economic progress and international integration. Additionally, it is essential to advance the development of a digital society.

There are some primary tasks including: implementing multi-dimensional, long-term, and inclusive poverty reduction initiatives at the same time, especially in ethnic minority areas; continuing to implement the National Target Program for Poverty Reduction in a Sustainable Way; improving population quality, as well as people’s bodily, and mental health, as well as life expectancy and quality of life; systematically and synchronously reforming of the wage policy towards compliance with the principle of labor distribution and the objective laws of the market economy; adjusting the income distribution relationship; creating a work environment that is harmonious, stable, and progressive; innovating the methods of approaches in developing and executing laws, labor policies, and jobs that are in accordance with the country’s socio-economic development realities and current trends, closely linking labor and employment goals and targets to economic development goals; continuing to better the financial and spiritual lives of those who have rendered meritorious service to the revolution, as well as their family, in line with the trend of economic growth, progress, and social justice; completing the legislative framework for social insurance and pushing on with universal coverage; continuing to execute social security measures effectively, particularly for the poor and the vulnerable; implementing well the goal of religious unity, and the great national unity; consistently implementing the motto “taking the people’s happiness and well-being as a goal to strive for”, “the people enjoy” the achievements of social progress and development.

In terms of economic growth linked to resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change response, and natural disaster prevention, control, and mitigation: Exploiting market principles, strictly manage and increasing the efficiency of using resources, particularly land, water, and minerals; accelerating the completion of the legal framework, methods, and policies to promote market synchronization and transparency, so that natural resources can be capitalized, allocated rationally, and used effectively; ensuring water security, dam safety, and the protection of water resources; preventing degradation by maximizing the usage of agricultural land; protecting, developing, improving forest quality, and expanding forest cover, particularly in watersheds; preserving nature reserves and biodiversity. Stakeholders who gain from natural resources and the environment must be obligated to contribute to environmental conservation through reinvestment.

It is ensured that economic development and environmental conservation are in sync. Implementing and improving the quality of strategic environmental impact assessments should be a top priority. It should be controlled and eliminated environmental degradation generated by war’s consequences in a safe and complete manner; improved air quality, taken efforts to minimize noise pollution, and handled waste in urban and highly populated regions by strengthening supervision, entirely and timely disclosing information, and improving air quality. It should be applied that people who pollute the environment must pay for treatment, remedial repercussions, environmental improvement, and restoration.

In addition, we should encourage the development of a circular economy model for integrated and efficient use of the outputs of the production process; actively monitor and respond to climate change; develop a green economy, low waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and low carbon. Improve the infrastructure system’s and economy’s resilience and adaptability to climate change, and implement smart adaptation solutions in agriculture, fisheries, and forest development.

In order to achieve the country’s development goals for the period 2021-2030 and vision to 2045, the 13th Party Congress reaffirmed the view of rapid and sustainable development, which links economic growth with social progress and environmental protection in the new context of globalization, international integration, and climate change.

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Endnotes:

(1) CPV: Document of the 8th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 1996, p.14.

(2) CPV: Document of the 9th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2001, p.162.

(3), (7) CPV: Document of the 11th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, pp.99, 151.

(4), (8) CPV: Documents of the 12th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2016, pp.270, 246.

(5) On the basis of the emergence of the School of Sustainable Economics in the 90s of the twentieth century, the concept of sustainable development has been recognized by countries and placed in global relations.

(6), (9) (13), (14) CPV: Document of the 13th National Party Congress, vol.I, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2021, pp.103, 20, 33, 35-36.

(10) Office of the Government: Work Report for the 2016-2020 term of the Government, No. 99/BC-CP, dated March 23, 2021.

(11), (12), (15) See CPV: Document of the 13th National Party Congress, vol.I, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2021, pp.80-81, 85-88, 214-217.

DR. TRAN THI NHAN

Institute of Party History,

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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