Remark by Ms. Adriana Dinu, UNDP Executive Coordinator, Global Environmental Finance, at the "Join hands to protect oceans" event

Jun 26, 2018

"Join hands to protect the oceans" in Da Nang 2018

Date: Tuesday, 26 June 2018, 6:00
Venue: Nguyen Tat Thanh beach, Da Nang

Your Excellency; Chairman; Naoko; Distinguished delegates; Colleagues; Friends

On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme, I would like to join the Minister and the GEF CEO in welcoming you to this very important event in the beautiful city of Da Nang.

It is very appropriate that we gather here this morning to take action to protect the environment and address the Sustainable Development Goals. The presence and participation of more than five hundred delegates, representatives from countries, students, youth and the army send a strong signal of determination to keep the ocean pollution-free. We all benefit from this beautiful bay and we all must take action to protect it.

With more than three thousand kilometres of coastline, Viet Nam both contributes to and is affected by ocean plastic pollution, both from coastal population centres and that carried into the ocean by rivers. With as much as twenty percent of Vietnam’s GDP dependent on ocean resources, Vietnam has much to gain and ample incentive to take necessary steps for coastal and ocean protection and restoration.

UNDP commends the Prime Minister’s advocacy for “an ever-blue ocean, free from plastic” pronounced at the G7 forum held in Canada earlier this month. UNDP supports Viet Nam’s regional initiative to tackle ocean plastic pollution, and its strong linkages to the upcoming GEF financed programme on reducing river-based pollution, including plastics, with ASEAN countries supported by UNDP.

UNDP has also been working closely with Viet Nam’s government and Vietnamese citizens to promote greener growth, more sustainable lifestyles and consumption habits. Together with our sister UN agencies, we recently launched a 7-day challenge to encourage people to eat, live and move smartly and sustainably.  In our offices, we have also stopped using plastic bottles.

Ladies and gentleman, I would like to highlight three actions that we can do right now to make a difference.

First, let’s commit to act. Let’s collect and dispose of waste in the right places and stop littering in public places. Let’s use local, environmentally-friendly products, and reduce our consumption of single use plastic products.

Second, let’s improve land-based planning and waste management. As more than 80 percent of the waste that ends in the sea comes from activities taking place on the mainland, we must integrate our management of river basins, coasts and land use.

Third, global and regional coordinated and joint actions, and strong private sector engagement, are essential because a single country cannot deal with the regional and global nature of ocean pollution alone. Waste is produced locally but its impacts are regional and global. Let’s share our experiences and lessons among countries.

Allow me to conclude with the words of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on World Environmental Day: “If present trends continue, by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic than fish. The message is simple: reject single-use plastic. Refuse what you can’t re-use. Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world”.

And now, it is time to take local action in the beach of Da Nang!
I wish you all a wonderful morning!
Xin Cam On!

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