-Da Nang, 11 October 2020 – Da Nang Circular Economy Hub and Bootcamp: Green Avengers was launched today at Da Nang Business Incubator (DNES) with the participation and support of local government and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and young people who are interested in green environment and sustainable values.

A panel discussion during the Launching Event delved into the context of the Circular Economy in the world and in Viet Nam with many voices and perspectives from representatives of the environmental specialized organizations in Da Nang, environmental expert from UNDP, and local environmental businesses as well as projects that created social impacts in the city.

Linear economy usually starts with extraction of natural resources (Take), to manufacture (Make), for consumption (Use), and finally to (Dispose). Such operation makes the resources to be continuously exploited and the waste is to be discharged back into the environment at an increasing rate. It is estimated that between now and 2050, the total amount of solid waste in urban areas worldwide will increase by about 70%. In particular, the amount of plastic waste dumped into the sea may be more than the total volume of fish in the oceans.

In 2016, Viet Nam's amount of urban solid waste was 11.6 million tons (average 0.33kg / person / day), which is forecast to double by 2050. Although Viet Nam is ranked 68th in the world in terms of area and 15th in terms of population, the amount of plastic waste in the sea of Viet Nam is currently ranked 4th in the world, with more than 1.83 million tons / year.

The above-mentioned problems have caused great pressures on the economy and have put forth the need to change the development model. An economy that is cyclical (a circular economy) is therefore considered to be the best way to break the longstanding bonds between economic growth and negative environmental effects. More specifically, the circular economy helps promote economic development with reducing both resource extraction and waste to the environment.

From 2019, the Accelerator Lab (AccLab) in Viet Nam, which is also part of UNDP global network of 90 AccLabs, has been carrying a spirit of social innovation experiments. In Da Nang, the group had some typical environmental activities such as: Experimenting on building a model of friendly garbage classification in the Cam Le apartment complex; and Study on the informal waste collection ecosystem and the impact of COVID on bottles.

In the process of practice, the environment and waste issue is a highly complex thing with many stakeholders, along with factors of infrastructure, culture, and habits that are difficult to change for a long time. Realizing the need for  community mobilization and finding synchronous solutions in environmental activities, AccLab Viet Nam has collaborated with the Da Nang Business Incubator (DNES) to develop rigorous and methodical sustainable programs to spread awareness and create a greater impact in the community in the Central region. From here, the Da Nang Circular Economy Hub (DCEH) was born. The Hub will focus on supporting talented people with innovative projects for the environment to promote improvement of solid waste treatment systems in Da Nang and Central provinces; and, at the same time, promoting sustainable consumption / green consumption in communities in the Central region. 

Da Nang Circular Economy Hub will focus on people and resources for sustainable development and circular economic practice in the Central region,” said Ms. Sitara Syed, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Viet Nam.The Hub will also focus on the development of current solid waste treatment systems and advocacy for green consumption. From there, we will see the positive benefits for the environment and the community of this system in the future.”

Mr. Nguyen Tuan Luong, Head of Solutions Mapping, UNDP Accelerator Lab in Viet Nam, shared:  “In 2020, the world in general and Viet Nam in particular have suffered many natural disasters, especially the most recent is the historic flood in the Central region. This urges us to act even more. Da Nang city is the economic and cultural center of the central region and in this project program the city will be in the center of spreading the wave of environmental protection in the region. The DCEH will be a platform for dedicated people, connecting projects and creating innovative solutions for the environment to cope with the current situations. In the more distant future, DCEH promises to become a powerful network thanks to the  enthusiastic individuals who commit to join hands for the sustainable development of Da Nang city, thereby spreading inspiration in the central region."

After the Launching Event, Da Nang Circular Economy immediately 'activated' the “Green Avengers” Program with the Bootcamp to select environmental “messengers” to join Green Avenger. Through this camp, members from the environmental organizations who cherish ideas and projects to create a social impact can connect and share social responsibilities together. There are also training sessions to provide expertise advices, leadership capabilities, cooperation promotion, and funding for the Green Avengers to create realize ideas together.

The time for calling and selection is divided into 4 phases:

- Phase 1 - RECRUITMENT, is from October 21 to November 6, 2020, in which the applications are received for reviewing the selection of the participants. Participants are members who have been doing environmental projects or are cherishing the desire to participate in environmental projects. The selections prioritize those who have practice and had experience mainly in the Central region. In addition, the attendees that are committed are to participate fully 5 days of Boot Camp and plan to pursue the project for 6 months (phases 3 & 4).

- Phase 2 - BOOTCAMP, from 11/11 to 15/11/2020: The 30 selected members in the selection process will participate in 5 days of Boot Camp with activities such as: Deep understanding of their knowledge about cyclic economics, waste management, system thinking; practical experience; proposing and developing ideas.

- Phase 3 - TESTING, from November 15 - December 15, 20: Project teams formed in Boot Camp will have 1 month to check and re-evaluate plans or test new ideas, get feedback and learn from practice to perfect the project's description. You decide for yourself to plan and how to experiment with the guidance of UNDP Accelerator Lab. At the end of this phase, project teams will send proposals to the Advisory Committee and only projects assessed as feasible will continue to Phase 4.

- Phase 4 - PAYMENT: Projects selected through Phase 3 will have a project implementation period until mid-2021 to spread the impact to the community. During this phase, in addition to receiving preliminary funding, the participants will also receive mentoring, network support and other training activities. This vision will be the foundation in forming a community network for innovative projects for environmental sustainability in the central provinces.

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