The majority of deputies agreed with the Government report and the NA Standing Committee monitoring report presented by Head of the NA Committee for Science, Technology and the Environment, Phan Xuan Dung. The monitoring report pointed out the current status of the environment, as well as the results, limitations and shortcomings of environmental protection work in EZs and craft villages. After nearly ten years of implementation, the development of EZs and craft villages was in line with Party and State policies for international economic integration, and has contributed to socio-economic development in a number of localities.
Vietnam currently has 4,575 craft villages which create jobs for more than 11 million workers, attracting about 30% of the rural labour force, even as high as 60% in some localities. The development of craft villages has contributed to increasing income and improving living conditions for local people, as well as preserving traditional cultural values.
In addition to the positive results, many deputies also mentioned limitations and shortcomings in the environmental management at EZs and craft villages.
Deputies Nguyen Minh Lam from Long An, Nguyen Anh Thu (Lam Dong) Than Duc Nam (Da Nang), Nguyen Ngoc Bao (Vinh Phuc), and Ma Dien Cu (Quang Ngai) shared the same opinion that there were still overlapping functions and responsibilities among local authorities in charge of environmental protection in EZs and craft villages, and inspections have not been practical or effective. Despite the large number of EZs and craft villages, most lacked specialised staff for protecting the environment and the laws governing the sector. The recent law on environmental protection also did not specify investors’ responsibilities and was not consistent in the definition of environmental protection or how to apply charges for disposing of waste water.
Deputy Ly Kieu Van from Quang Tri said that punishments for those who violated environmental laws should be strictly enforced.
Deputies Ma Thi Thuy from Tuyen Quang, Bui Thi An (Hanoi), My Duc Nam (Da Nang), and Pham Van Tan (Nghe An) proposed that future inspections should be more focused to promptly detect and prevent behaviours that cause environmental pollution. In the meantime, environmental protection human resources in EZs and craft villages should be enhanced in both quantity and quality.
Deputies also agreed that environmental protection measures in the zones and villages should be regularly inspected by NA agencies, the Government and local authorities.