Photo: Lekima Hung

Mr. Ta Dinh Thi, Director General of Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands
Mr. Nguyen Que Lam, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands
Colleagues from international development partners;
Ladies and gentlemen.
A very good afternoon and xin chào.

Human beings evolved from the oceans. It is high time we evolved a different attitude to the place from where we came. The health of our oceans and seas is intimately linked with the health of our planet and all life on earth.

Oceans and seas keep us alive.
Yet our oceans are now under threat as never before. Pollution, overfishing and the effects of climate change are severely damaging the health of our oceans. According to one recent study, plastic could outweigh fish in our seas by 2050 if nothing happens.

Numerous reports, global commissions and scientific assessments have described the serious damage to our most vital life support system – but the situation is getting worse.

We created these problems. With decisive, coordinated action, we can solve them. The adoption of Viet Nam’s National Action Plan on Marine Litter Management for 2020-2030 is one such action.

I am delighted to welcome you to this important workshop to launch Viet Nam’s National Action Plan on Marine Litter Management. This National Action Plan is a major commitment to taking decisive action to nurturing and protecting the lifeblood of our planet.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to take this opportunity to underline the importance of Viet Nam in addressing the critical global issue of the plastics accumulating in our oceans.

While marine waste may appear as a nebulous global problem to some, science and data are crystal clear about it. According to a study, Vietnam is among the top countries in ASEAN member states contributing plastic waste to the ocean. Vulnerable Vietnamese coastal communities that rely on fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism for their livelihoods are already paying the price of the ocean pollution. 

Colleagues and friends,
Actions and initiatives to combat plastic pollution are already taking shape in many countries around the world, and Viet Nam is well placed to be at the very centre of the fight.

I commend the enormous efforts of the Government of Viet Nam, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands in this regard. We fully support Viet Nam’s regional initiative to combat ocean plastics announced at the G7 forum and at the Global Environment Facility Assembly in Da Nang and we applaud the plans to establish an international research centre for marine plastic waste headquartered under MONRE right here in Viet Nam.

I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to MONRE on their dedication and swift action in preparing and submitting this Action Plan for approval in a very short time. It will trigger improvements in national regulations for reducing the import of waste, help develop strategies for sustainable waste management; and encourage the creation of a circular economy that fundamentally rethinks how we approach the question of waste.

At UNDP, we are proud to have supported VASI in developing this Action Plan; and we stand ready to continue our support as it takes the next step forward into implementation.

UNDP is also implementing some innovative projects, such as an ASEAN ending plastic pollution innovation challenge, scaling-up socialised model of domestic waste and plastic management with support from Norwegian Government. UNDP has also launched the Accelerator Lab to up-scale effective local actions to address 21st century development challenges such as plastic pollution.

As Viet Nam ascends to the role of ASEAN Chair this year, the eyes of the world will be on us. Viet Nam is in a position to become a regional leader in the fight against ocean waste, and the actions it chooses to take will serve as a model for its neighbours and beyond. The time to act is now, and we at UNDP look forward to supporting Viet Nam as it rises to the challenge.

Distinguished guests,
In closing, I would like to express my appreciation to every one of you for coming here today. I hope this workshop will provide an opportunity for us to have an informative, frank, and fruitful discussion on how we can support this National Action Plan to reduce waste, and in doing so save both the environment and ourselves.

I wish you all good health, happiness, and success.
Thank you! Xin cảm ơn!

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