A robust Just Energy Transition Partnership has been negotiated between the country and wealthy countries, but domestic politics and a limited definition of “just transition” could obstruct progress.
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.
As part of the partnership, Vietnam will receive loans, grants, and investments totaling billions of dollars from the International Partners Group (IPG) to help it transition away from coal and toward renewable energies. The European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the United States, Italy, Canada, Japan, Norway, and Denmark are all members of the IPG.
As the IPG’s principal negotiators, the UK and EU celebrated the agreement. Despite their successful negotiation, the Vietnamese side made few public statements. The IPG initially offered $5 billion, but the final agreement includes a finance package worth $15.5 billion. South Africa negotiated $8.5 billion and Indonesia $20 billion, in contrast.
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.
Many senior party and government officials have lost their jobs as a result of an anti-corruption campaign led by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong. It has even cost them their freedom in some instances. The latest surprising personnel change was the resignation of President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who stepped back in January after corruption scandals around Covid measures reached his family. In government ministries, a lot of employees have left because they are afraid of being fired or charged with corruption.