What is slowing Vietnam’s just energy transition?

(China Dialogue, 9 Mar 2023) The country has negotiated a strong Just Energy Transition Partnership with wealthy nations, but progress may be impeded by domestic politics and a narrow understanding of ‘just transition’

In December 2022, Vietnam became the third “developing” country, after South Africa and Indonesia, to agree to a Just Energy Transition Partnership with “developed” nations.

The partnership will see Vietnam receive billions of dollars in loans, grants and investments from the International Partners Group (IPG) to assist its transition away from coal and towards renewable energies. The IPG comprises the European Union, United Kingdom, France, Germany, United States, Italy, Canada, Japan, Norway and Denmark.

The UK and EU, in their role as lead negotiators for the IPG, celebrated the agreement. Yet the Vietnamese side made few public statements despite their successful negotiation. The IPG put US$5 billion on the table initially, but the final deal includes a finance package of $15.5 billion. In comparison, South Africa negotiated $8.5 billion and Indonesia $20 billion.

Beyond the headline numbers, much remains unclear in the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) agreement, especially how it will be implemented. A few key issues in Vietnam’s current domestic politics explain the lack of public comments from Vietnam and the deal’s missing clarity.

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China Dialogue, 9 Mar 2023: What is slowing Vietnam’s just energy transition?