Closing of the Sea of Solutions

by Ms. Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Viet Nam Resident Representative

November 27, 2020

·        Mr. Le Minh Ngan, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment

·        Colleagues from Ministries and local Governments in Vietnam and representative from Governments of countries in the East Asia

·        Colleagues from Embassies, International partners

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to be with you today at the closing session of SEA of Solutions 2020. Let me start by complimenting the organizers (UN Environment, COBSEA and MONRE) for hosting this meaningful event which took place both online and offline and was attended by colleagues from all over the East Asia region as well as Vietnamese stakeholders this afternoon. This platform is an excellent opportunity to have informative and fruitful discussions and come up with new ideas and solutions for combating marine plastic litter.

I would like to congratulate the Government of Viet Nam for its recent efforts in addressing plastic pollution at source. The adoption of the National Action Plan for the Marine Plastic Litter earlier this year marked a milestone in the national policy frameworks and a significant commitment for Viet Nam. At the local level, we have seen an unprecedented number of initiatives from the provincial authorities and the civil society who are willing to take actions.

Colleagues and friends,

We believe in a portfolio and system approach to tackle plastic pollution. No single-point solutions can solve the most pressing issue of our time. This 3-days event has provided us with an excellent picture of what needs to be done at the policy, science and technology, businesses and citizen levels. Solutions must come from all sectors, and only by combining them, we will be able to reduce plastic pollution effectively.

That’s why at UNDP Viet Nam, we actively support the development of policies and work at the grassroots level with partners like the Women's Unions, informal waste workers and youth, to ensure that no one is left behind. We also engage with industries and companies for circular economy transition, supporting to scale up of innovative solutions.

Protecting the ocean from marine plastic debris, meaning we are contributing to a sustainable ocean economy. That is the main agenda that UNDP is working with the Government of Vietnam and the Government of Norway for the high-level international conference on Sustainable Ocean Economy and Climate Change Adaptation “Solutions for a Climate Resilient Blue Economy”, which is going to be held in 2021.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As I deliver my speech, the equivalent of five truckloads of plastic waste would have entered the ocean, and five million single-use plastic bottles will have been sold around the world. I would therefore strongly encourage all stakeholders to take actions. UNDP stands ready to work with all stakeholders to identify more solutions, unlock new funding, and scale up innovative solutions that offer plastic reduction and sustainable development.  

We foresee a huge opportunity for Viet Nam and its partners in the region to change and shift from the world’s worst plastic polluters to one of its greatest drivers for innovation that sustainably address the problem of plastic waste. The time to act is now, before it is too late to save our planet for people, looking toward to sustainable development.

Thank you! Xin cảm ơn!