Norway funds projects to tackle waste and plastic pollution in Vietnam

Monday, 2020-06-08 17:25:14
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At the launching seminar for the two Norway-funded projects.
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NDO – Two projects to tackle waste and plastic pollution in Vietnam were co-launched by the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at a seminar in Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province on June 8.

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 Five Cities” (DWP5C), aims to develop integrated local models of domestic waste and plastic management in five sites in the Vietnamese provinces of Quang Ninh, Da Nang, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, and Binh Duong. The project will collaborate with local organisations 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 a circular economy approach and foster investment in green technologies. In addition, the 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 be open to all ASEAN countries from June 25. 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 the UNDP to further scale up their solutions, which will be then implemented at 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; Viet Nam alone produces annually 1.8 million tonnes of plastic waste, increasing by 16% every year while only 27% is currently being recycled. Unless swift action is taken, it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

“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,” said Grete Lochen, Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam and Laos.

“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 a joint effort. This has been proven true during the current COVID-19 pandemic”, she added.

Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, speaks at the event.

“Plastic is destroying marine life and polluting our earth. Tackling plastic pollution will take a joint response 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 waste sector 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 seminar, Dr. Nguyen Que Lam, Deputy Director General of the VASI, 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 the 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 People’s Committee of Ha Long city offered personal protective equipment to waste workers from the five cities targeted by the DWP5C project.