Ha Noi, Ha Long City, May 12-14, 2022. On the occasion of the “International Conference on Sustainable Ocean Economy and Climate Change Adaptation”, Viet Nam welcomed the Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge winners (EPPIC), government partners, and United Nations Development Programme colleagues (UNDP) from Indonesia and the Philippines to join the International Conference, network, and share their experience in rolling out innovations in the region.
From May 12th to 14th, the EPPIC delegates attended 5 technical thematic sessions related to sustainable ocean economy, adaptation, and resilience to climate change. 9 EPPIC-winning innovators from Viet Nam, Indonesia, and the Philippines showcased their inventive ideas to tackle plastic waste in coastal cities. They also took part in a trip to Ha Long City to visit the EPPIC Shop in Ha Long City and shared lessons learned during their participation in the EPPIC competition.
The EPPIC Challenge is an ASEAN-wide competition calling for all innovators to share their bright ideas for tackling plastic pollution in 4 countries – Thailand, Viet Nam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. (Photo: Le Minh Quoc)
At the Special Plenary Session on Combating Marine Pollution and Plastics, Mr. Rendra Kurnia Hasan, Deputy Director of Waste and Hazardous Substances Management, Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment of Indonesia, delivered a speech on the experience of Indonesia in combating marine debris. According to Mr. Rendra Kurnia Hasan, the government of Indonesia has enacted a set of regulations concerning solid waste management from land-based and sea-based activities. Moreover, a national target has been set to handle 70% of marine debris by 2025, by promoting a circular economy.
At the EPPIC Showcase, 9 EPPIC Finalists (Pure Oceans, Trash Cash, Alterpacks, Siklus, EQUO, mGreen, Galaxy Biotech, ReFill Đây, and Green Joy) from the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and Viet Nam introduced their innovations to the participants.
The innovators received a visit by Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh, Ms. Bjørg Sandkjær – State Secretary for Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, and Ms. Grete Løchchen – Ambassador of Norway to Viet Nam. The EPPIC innovators showcased their solutions to tackle plastic pollution upstream and downstream in the coastal cities.
One of the outputs of the International Conference is a Co-Chair Statement which provides key contents and conclusions of the Conference, inputs for Viet Nam to include these global issues of climate change and sustainable ocean economy in the main agendas of the United Nations Security Council and ASEAN in 2020 and 2021.
To see all of the outcomes during the 3-day visit, watch a short video below highlighting the key events and activities, with the insightful interviews of the participants of the event.
After two productive days at the International Conference, the EPPIC delegates continued their journey to Ha Long City. There, they had a chance to see the cooperation between the local authorities, communities, and innovators. They visited the first EPPIC Shop, a cooperation between the Quang Ninh Farmers’ Union and UNDP. The EPPIC Shop Ha Long acts as a sale point and showcase center for the three winners: Galaxy Biotech – Breathable bags, GreenJoy – Grass straw, and Refill Đây – refilling trusted products at customers’ homes. Also, welcoming mGreen and Green Points, the EPPIC Shop Ha Long aims to support the EPPIC winners with communication and engagement with the locality, such as the mGreen Day Ha Long activity in April 2022.
Joining a roundtable discussion with the local authorities, participants learned about the challenges and opportunities to set up the EPPIC Shop. One of the challenges involves the dissemination of innovations to the local people in Ha Long City. According to Ms. Nguyen Thuy Ha, Director of Viet Hung Cooperative (Ha Long City), the concerns include setting a competitive price, or the durability of the breathable bags, as well as the need for closer cooperation with EPPIC innovation founders. The sharing of Ms. Nguyen Thuy Ha shows that more efforts need to be made in tailoring innovations to match local needs.
Participants also discussed opportunities at EPPIC Shop Ha Long. Accordingly, Ha Long is one of the most popular destinations for tourists, so public events and activities are always organized and attract a large number of locals and tourists. At these events, EPPIC Teams can set up a booth and showcase it to a lot of consumers. Furthermore, the EPPIC Shop has become a disseminating point for local businesses to learn about a circular model. “We have connected and invited businesses and cooperatives to come to the EPPIC Shop for reference, review, and learning, creating a diffusion from the EPPIC solutions”, according to Mr. Nguyen Duy Phuong, Deputy Head of Quang Ninh Alliance of Cooperative.
Action. Together. Beat Plastic Pollution. Those are the keywords drawn from the discussions and this three-day event. Now, what can be looked forward to is even more efforts and collaboration from multiple sides – the authorities and private sectors, in making changes in an urgent need to tackle plastic pollution and marine debris in ASEAN countries, for a sustainable future.
Written by Tung Lam – UNDP Viet Nam
Video produced with the support of Danang Busines Incubator (DNES)