In Vietnam, the levels of domestic waste, especially plastic are growing rapidly due to urbanization coupled with high economic and population growth; United Nations Environment estimates up to 730,000 tons of marine waste enters the waters each year in the country, of which 80% is inland plastic waste.
Home to nine World Man and Biosphere Reserves (MAB), eight World Heritage Sites and two Global Geoparks, Viet Nam remains committed to change and plans to use its diverse UNESCO network as a platform for programming. Vietnamese youth will lead the way, responding to the challenge of marine plastic waste through innovation, using new technologies to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic waste.
To support this effort, as part of the Regional Plastic Initiatives for Asia Pacific, on World Oceans Day (8 June 2020) UNESCO Vietnam launched the “Youth and Innovation for Ocean” initiative to empower university students and young professionals to put forward innovative and practical solutions in reducing, reusing, recycling and managing plastic waste in coastal regions of Viet Nam. The initiative part of the partnership established in Viet Nam between UNESCO and The Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF) in 2017 to identify youth-led solutions to manage plastic waste, towards a sustainable green economy in Vietnam.
With technical support provided through a mentorship scheme, top proposals will be tested in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, specifically Cu Lao Cham – Hoi An Biosphere Reserve for possible scale up and expansion elsewhere. Furthermore, the initiative will also kick-off the Youth and Young Professionals on Innovation, Science and Technology Platform for Resiliency (U-INSPIRE), a national hub for supporting knowledge sharing and innovative ideas from young Vietnamese citizens to address environmental and development issues in the country.
The Youth and Innovation for Ocean initiative reflects UNESCO’s commitment to support Viet Nam to maintain a healthy and sustainable ocean, contributing to both the National Strategy on Sustainable Ocean Economy and the National Action Plan for Management of Marine Plastic Litter by 2030.
Author: UNESCO Vietnam
Photo credit: Nguyen Minh Duc
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