Jan address - Photo:By UNDP Vietnam
By UNDP Vietnam

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

Two Norway-funded projects launched on the World Oceans Day in Vietnam to tackle waste and plastic pollution.

On the occasion of the World Oceans Day, 8 June 2020, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI), and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Viet Nam launched two projects to tackle waste and plastic pollution. The first national project is entitled “Scaling Up a Socialised Model of Domestic Waste and Plastic Management in 5 Cities” (DWP5C) and the second regional project is named “Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge” (EPPIC). Both projects are funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norad.

The launching Workshop was attended by Norwegian Chargé d’affaires a.i. Mr Jan Wilhelm Grythe, UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam, Ms Caitlin Wiesen, and about 100 people representing Vietnamese government agencies, local organizations, related projects (OCTOPCE, Hoi An and the World Wild Fund), project staff from related five provinces of Quang Ninh, Da Nang, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan and Binh Duong. Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam and Laos, Ms Grete Løchen and Norwegian Ambassador to ASEAN Mr Morten Høglund delivered key messages about Norwegian priorities on sustainable ocean management and regional initiatives to tackle marine litter via a video clip.

“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”, said Ms Grete Lochen.

“Over the last few years, we have seen the ASEAN leaders stepping up to fight marine pollution, especially plastic wastes. The Bangkok Declaration last year gave a clear direction and was adopted by all ASEAN leaders. We were so proud that last year we launched ASEANO Project which is an ASEAN-Norway cooperation project in support of the Bangkok Declaration”, said Mr Morten Hoglund.

In his remarks at the event, Mr Jan Wilhelm Grythe said “Norway believes that we need to strengthen global coordination and to assist countries in combating marine litter. In our view, this will best be achieved by a new global framework. Norway look forward to continued cooperation with Vietnam in order to address this issue through concrete projects”.

“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, Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and informal sector waste workers, to promote innovative solutions that address local plastic pollution challenges in the ASEAN region,” said Ms. Caitlin Wiesen.

The Workshop was followed by a roundtable discussion among various stakeholders (trainers, waste collectors, representatives of Women Associations and tourist companies) from different provinces. They shared views on the following (i) waste is a potential resource for circular economy; (ii) everyone’s participation is important; (iii) protection and engagement of the vulnerable groups (urban poor, waste collectors) is critical; (iv) earlier Hoi An project helped:  provide record books, bicycles and waste collection carts; reduce waste amount in Hoi An; connect with local women collectors, improve communication skills of waste collectors on waste collection and separation process; (v) the project covers 21 communes/wards and approaches 810 waste collectors in Quy Nhon city, Binh Dinh province; (vi) tourist companies are actively participate in Phan Thiet city, Binh Thuan province; (vi) the implementation is challenging and requires extensive learning and sharing experience across related stakeholders. The experience in establishing the waste collector groups is good but still everybody’s participation is needed.

Jan Photo
Norwegian Chargé d'affaires a.i. Mr Jan Wilhelm Grythe and representatives of local women's associations Photo: By UNDP Vietnam

About the two Projects

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. 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.

EPPIC aims to tackle plastic pollution problems in coastal areas of Viet Nam, 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 (Viet Nam) 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.

(Norwegian Chargé d’affaires a.i. Mr Jan Wilhelm Grythe (right) and UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam, Ms Caitlin Wiesen (left) during a field trip after the event)

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