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Norway, Vietnam and UNDP join hands to tackle waste and plastic pollution

13:21 | 08/06/2020

On the occasion of World Oceans Day, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Committee, the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI), and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have launched two projects to tackle waste and plastic pollution.

norway quang ninh undp join hands to tackle waste and plastic pollution Vietnam and Norway promote bilateral cooperation
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norway vietnam and undp join hands to tackle waste and plastic pollution
Norway, Quang Ninh, and UNDP join forces to tackle waste and plastic pollution. Photo: Lekima Hung

The projects are funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

The first project, entitled “Scaling Up a Socialised Model of Domestic Waste and Plastic Management in 5 Cities” (DWP5C), aims to develop integrated local models of domestic waste and plastic management in five sites in Quang Ninh, Da Nang, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, and Binh Duong provinces.

The project will collaborate with local organizations such as the Farmer’s Union and Women’s Unions to boost waste segregation, collection, recycling, and composting, and speed up markets for secondary materials, and also collaborate with businesses to introduce the circular economy approach and foster investments for green technologies. In addition, UNDP will work closely with local authorities to formulate and implement waste regulations.

The second project, the “Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge” (EPPIC), aims to tackle plastic pollution problems in coastal areas of Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

The call for applications proposing innovative solutions will open to all ASEAN countries on the 25th of June. In 2020, the project’s first phase, the challenge will take place at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay (Vietnam) and the popular tourist destination of Koh Samui (Thailand). The winners will receive technical and financial support from UNDP to further scale up their solutions, which will be then implemented in the project sites with strong support from local authorities.

The exponential growth of plastic and the inadequate management of the resulting waste threaten marine biodiversity and fragile ecosystems. ASEAN countries are the largest sources of marine plastics; Vietnam alone produces annually 1.8 million tons of plastic waste, which is increasing by 16 per cent every year while only 27 per cent is currently recycled. There are more than 900 landfills in the country, of which more than 70% do not respect environmental standards. Leakages from mismanaged waste contaminate the air, soil, and water, damaging the environment and threatening human health. Unless swift action is taken, it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.

“As coastal nations, Norway and Vietnam understand better than anyone else the importance of oceans to our economy. Oceans have always been one of the top priorities in Norway’s international cooperation agenda. Marine litter is one of the world’s fast-growing environmental concerns, and Norway, as a consistent partner, is actively raising this issue in many global and regional forums including the UN and ASEAN.

We are very eager to cooperate with Vietnam and UNDP to jointly tackle the marine litter challenge through these two Projects. We believe that global challenges require global solutions and joint efforts. This has been proved true in the current COVID-19 pandemic”, said Grete Lochen, Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam and Lao PDR.

“Plastic is destroying marine life and polluting our earth. Tackling plastic pollution will take joined up responses across nations with innovations that engage governments, citizens and businesses at local, national, regional and global levels. UNDP is proud to partner with the governments of Norway, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and informal sector waste workers, to promote innovative solutions that address local plastic pollution challenges in the ASEAN region,” said Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam.

At the launching workshop, Dr. Nguyen Que Lam, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands, expressed his appreciation for the new projects.

“We would like to sincerely thank the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and UNDP for their great support,” he stated. “We are committed to making these projects a success, as they will bring numerous environmental, social, and economic benefits to vulnerable people and to the country as a whole.”

As an expression of their continued support to Vietnam’s recovery efforts from COVID-19, the representatives from UNDP, the Norwegian Embassy, VASI, and the Provincial People’s Committee of Ha Long also offered personal protective equipment to waste workers from the five cities targeted by the DWP5C project.

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