28.11.2020, 13:07

SEA of Solutions: Internationally systematic approaches to marine pollution

SEA of Solutions, an annual partnership event solving plastic pollution at source, has addressed national efforts and international cooperation based on systematic approaches to various pollution sources, both on land and in the ocean.

SEA of Solutions: Internationally systematic approaches to marine pollution
 Greenpeace together with the Break Free From Plastic coalition conducted a beach cleanup activity and plastics brand audit on Freedom Island, Philippines in 2017. Photo: Daniel Müller/Greenpeace

SEA of Solutions 2020, which was organized earlier this week in collaboration with Vietnam – the Chair of ASEAN 2020 and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council – has a positive meaning in politics, diplomacy, and the environment at the national, regional, and international scale.

As an annual event co-organized alternately in Southeast Asian countries by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA), SEA of Solutions is aimed to become a platform for exchanging solutions and cooperation to tackle plastic pollution.

This year’s conference on solutions for plastic waste in the East Asia Sea region is a regional dialogue for stakeholders to share solutions for plastic pollution and marine waste; discuss difficulties in managing plastic waste during the Covid-19 pandemic; and identify solutions and opportunities to recycle and raise awareness of reducing plastic waste.

Representatives from UNEP, COBSEA, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the government of Vietnam, ASEAN+3 governments, and local and international organizations discussed the risk of plastic waste solution and marine waste.

At the three-day event conference that concluded on November 26, participants emphasized the need for effective coordination between different sectors and at different levels, different socio-economic sectors (including public and private sectors, civil society, civic organizations) to jointly take concrete actions to tackle plastic pollution and marine plastic waste challenge.

Le Minh Ngan, deputy minister of Vietnam’s Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) believes that the conference will significantly contribute to realizing each country’s commitments in reducing marine plastic waste. He reaffirmed Vietnam’s involvement and actions against marine plastic waste, especially in the negotiations of a Global Agreement on Marine Plastic Waste.

 Ms. Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Vietnam Resident Representative, delivered speech at the conference. Photo: UNDP Vietnam

UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen said protecting the ocean from marine plastic debris means 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.

She affirmed that 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.

Ms. Wiesen emphasized that it’s time to act to save the planet and look toward sustainable development and she believed Vietnam and regional partners take opportunities to change and shift from the world’s worst plastic polluters to one of greatest drivers for innovation.

At the conference, the “Mitigating marine plastic debris in Vietnam” project was introduced as part of programs in Vietnam that help reduce marine plastic waste. The WWF-supported project is aimed to national priorities in both policy sphere and public awareness, greatly supporting the implementation of the National Action Plan on Management marine plastic waste to 2030 in Vietnam.

At the conference that was held both online and offline in Hanoi, a Technical Session in Vietnam on “Promoting Partnership to Combat Marine Plastic Debris in Vietnam” was also hosted.