Date:                   8 June 2020, 08:30
Event:               
Launching workshop for: Scaling-Up a Socialised Model of Waste Management and Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge (EPPIC
Venue:              Meeting Hall A, Inter-office Building, Ha Long City

–     Mr. Cao Tuong Huy, Deputy Chairman from Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Committee;

–     Mr. Jan Wilhelm Grythe, Charge d’Affaires a.i. from the Norwegian Embassy to Viet Nam and Laos;

–     Mr. Nguyen Que Lam, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands, MONRE;

–     Representatives from Local Governments, Farmer’s Union, Women’s Union, Organizations in Quang Ninh, Da Nang, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Binh Duong and Quang Nam (Hoi An);

–     Colleagues joining us through Livestream from Government, Norwegian Embassies, UNDP COs in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines; colleagues from NORAD, SINTEF and other development partners;  

–     Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good morning and xin chào.

I am delighted to join Mr. Huy in welcoming you all to this launching event in Ha Long Bay, an outstanding World Natural Heritage Site, for  two very important new projects: Scaling-Up a Socialised Model of Waste Management in Five Cities and the Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge, or EPPIC!

Let me start by thanking the Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Committee, Ha Long City People’s Committee and the Quang Ninh’s Farmers’ Union for organizing and hosting this important launch.

I would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to the Government of Viet Nam for managing COVID-19 in such an exemplary manner so that we can celebrate this day together in person and virtually with participants from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines

Today’s event is particularly meaningful and timely as today marks the 12th global celebration of World Oceans Day. I am encouraged to see such a high level of interest in protecting our oceans from plastic and waste pollution.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As I deliver my speech, the equivalent of five truckloads of plastic waste will have entered the ocean, and five million single-use plastic bottles will have been sold around the world. Plastics are found everywhere on the planet; in the Arctic snow and in the deep waters.

Oceans, marine biodiversity, rich ecosystems, and the livelihoods of coastal communities are now under threat as never before with the exponential growth of plastics. Plastic is destroying marine life and polluting our earth at an unprecedented rate.

Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines are among the largest contributors of marine plastics. For example, in Viet Nam waste generation increases by 16 percent annually and the country annually produces 1.8 million tons of plastic waste, of which only 27 percent is recycled,

Viet Nam has made strong commitment from the highest level of the Government to address this important issue. The Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc advocated for global actions, launched a national campaign and adopted a national action plan with the impressive target of reducing marine plastic litter by 50% in 2025 and 75% in 2030.

The implementation of our two projects today is very timely and important for accelerating actions to realize the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region and the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris, as well as Viet Nam’s National Action Plan on Marine Litter Management.

The first project will be implemented in 5 coastal cities in Viet Nam : Quang Ninh, Da Nang, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan and Binh Duong, in partnership with the Farmer’s Union in Quang Ninh, and the Women’s Unions  who work daily with their communities to raise awareness on issues of waste and plastic pollution, promote green habits, and improve local systems of waste management. The second project will promote and implement practical, innovative and scalable solutions to combat plastic challenges in four coastal cities  in ASEAN.

Ladies and gentlemen,

On this occasion, I would like to share with you three suggestions for reducing plastic pollution in ASEAN and Viet Nam.

First, while plastic pollution is a global problem, solutions start at the local level and require the active participation from all citizens. Every citizen should be empowered to be agents of change. Waste workers, especially informal sector workers play a vital role in waste management systems and in advancing a circular economy.

These workers are vulnerable to the risks, for example they are collecting and treating hazardous materials and medical waste, including personal protective equipment used for treatment of Covid-19 in hospitals and quarantine facilities. Therefore, it is essential that the waste workers are protected, supported and trained to support municipalities in becoming green and inclusive. 

Second, plastic waste does not know borders. Plastics travel across our seas, rivers and deltas, impacting all societies and economies. Fortunately, with the recognition of this pressing challenge of our time, initiatives and actions to combat plastic pollution are being advanced in Viet Nam and countries in the ASEAN region. I applaud ASEAN countries for their joint actions and adoption of the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Litter last year.

Moving forward, we also need to further enhance harmonized policy packages across ASEAN countries. This includes aligning on materials and packaging types by promulgating and enforcing pan-ASEAN standards. It also includes sharing and financing research and development in alternative materials and recycling technologies.

Finally, let us not forget that waste is a resource!  The circular economy approach will enable new production with secondary materials. By establishing the use of secondary materials, fewer virgin materials are needed, reducing demand for scarce and limited natural resources. UNDP’s recent study on circular economy with MONRE shows that there is a tremendous opportunity for Viet Nam to become a leader in the recycling and recovery market by establishing quality standards and certified testing facilities.

This year’s theme of World Oceans Day is ’Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean’. Innovation that engage local communities and embrace new technologies are key to finding lasting solutions to plastic waste. New technologies and innovations offer a promising avenue to “close the loop” by recovering materials and thereby reducing our need to extract more resources.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to express my great appreciation to the Norwegian Embassy for their generous financial support to these two projects for protecting oceans, reducing waste, and engaging local and regional partners in sustainable innovative solutions.

I would like to reaffirm that UNDP stands ready to partner with Viet Nam and all partners in this journey to reduce waste and plastic pollution and promote innovations for sustainable oceans. 

As we celebrate World Oceans Day, we remind ourselves and others that of the importance of caring for our environment.  Working together, we can secure a sustainable future for All. 

I wish you all good health, happiness, and success.

Thank you! Xin cảm ơn!

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