UNDP joins efforts to support Viet Nam to remediate dioxin contaminated hotspots

24 Aug 2007

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will work with Office 33 in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), the Ministry of Defense and local authorities on a new project entitled “Capacity Building and Completion of the Overall National Plan for Environmental Remediation of Dioxin Contaminated Hotspots in Viet Nam”.

The US$350,000 support project will strengthen the foundations for overcoming consequences of toxic chemicals used in the war by building capacities for planning, contamination assessment, and remediation of dioxin-contaminated hotspots such as those in Danang, Bien Hoa and Phu Cat. It will also help complete the Overall National Plan for dioxin hotspot remediation, including specific action plans for remediation and to ensure safe land use in and around these hotspots. It will thus help to eliminate the continued health risks of local residents and workers from pollutants that still linger in soil and sediments.

“Viet Nam is making many efforts to overcome the dioxin legacy of the war. The UN is mandated to support Viet Nam to fulfil its obligations under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which includes dioxin contamination", said United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr John Hendra. "A constructive dialogue between the United States and Viet Nam is currently creating the conditions for practical solutions, which are also being supported by international NGOs. UNDP will help address environmental questions, and UNICEF is initiating support to disabled children, including disabled children in dioxin affected areas. The UN is very happy to join the collective efforts and apply its knowledge and networks to these two sides of the dioxin issue, and to enable others to join as well".

“A strong overall plan and specific action plans for remediation of the hotspots will be essential for making real progress”, said UNDP Country Director Ms Setsuko Yamazaki. “It is critical that we bring international expertise to strengthen national capacities, and to ensure that hotspot remediation will be definite.”

“We are very pleased that the UN is joining this effort”, said Vice Minister of MONRE Mr Nguyen Cong Thanh, “because we need considerable additional expertise and also financial resources in order to study, plan, and remediate all the hotspots and eliminate health risks for our citizens”.

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