Viet Nam to prepare a submission on development of the Global Plastic Treaty

Hoa Binh, 11 Aug 2023 – Representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and other government ministries, enterprises, associations, NGOs and international development partners who are members of the Viet Nam National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) held a meeting today on progress towards an international treaty on ending plastic pollution. Participants in the meeting received an update on the results of the second International Negotiating Committee meeting (INC-2) for the treaty and discussed practical solutions and recommendations on ending plastic pollution as possible inputs to Viet Nam’s written submission on the draft treaty contents prior to the organization of INC-3 in Nairobi, Kenya, from 13 – 19 November 2023.

Plastic pollution. Source: Canva

A key milestone obtained from INC-2, held in Paris – France (29 May – 2 June), was the agreement of 170 UN member states on preparing a Zero draft of a global treaty on ending plastic pollution and the perspective with the entire plastic life cycle approach that gives priority to the necessary tools to solve the plastic issues from product design to waste treatment after use, encouraging sustainable alternatives of plastics, and promoting models of responsible consumption and production. This concept was supported by the Government of Viet Nam delegation, led by the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, with specific recommendations for core obligations of the Zero draft based on the development levels of different countries, particularly in managing the national action plan, report system, evaluation, and sanctions for violations.

According to Mr. Le Ngoc Tuan, Director General of the International Cooperation Department – MONRE, “the plastic global treaty could bring not only challenges but also opportunities for Viet Nam to accelerate the completion of environmental policy institutions, especially in waste management, including plastic waste; raising awareness towards behavior changes in using single-use plastic, reusing, collecting and sorting waste at source and in households; putting innovations or useful and friendly solutions into practice to reduce plastic waste and promote the plastic circular economy, as well as implementing extended producer responsibility.”

Mr. Hoang Thanh Vinh – Programme Analyst with UNDP Viet Nam, which directly invests in solutions for reducing plastic waste and plastic pollution and hosts the Viet Nam NPAP Secretariat, said: “NPAP and UNDP Viet Nam will continue accompanying the inter-sectoral working group of the government in the next meetings of INCs, with supporting in technical expertise and convening different plastic actors, including government agencies, businesses, diplomatic missions, NGOs and international organizations, associations, and academia, to propose comprehensive interventions that are in line with national conditions but harmonize with international practices in order to develop a holistic approach for Viet Nam’s submission towards a Global Treaty ending plastic pollution.”

Dr. Quach Thi Xuan, the Representative of Pacific Environment Vietnam, accompanied the inter-sectoral government delegation to INC-2 and shared her view: “The global plastic treaty is an opportunity for countries to work together to address plastic pollution issues, but it’s also a challenge that requires careful consideration of each country’s commitment level to ensure simultaneous achievement of economic development and environmental protection goals, as well as fulfilling responsibilities to the international community. Therefore, PE affirms its commitment to continue accompanying the Vietnamese delegation in the process of negotiating the global plastic pollution treaty, with the hope that Vietnam will demonstrate a progressive stance, support the democratic decision-making process, strongly endorse solutions aimed at reducing plastic and plastic pollution based on broad and in-depth consultations with relevant parties both domestically and internationally.”

At the workshop, many representatives from relevant government departments (from MOIT, MOFA, MARD, etc.) and other stakeholders, including private sectors (Dow Viet Nam, TOMRA, etc.), associations, NGOs, and international organizations (Vietnam Association of Plastic, WWF, UNDP, PE, IUCN, etc.) have shared their perspectives and practical solutions, linking between policies with specific actions against plastic pollution. One of the recommendations is preparedness for implementing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) by creating cohesion and opportunities for informal waste workers, also accelerating effective plastic waste collection and recycling to ensure social security and inclusive development; or studying and advancing the infrastructure for plastic collection along with capacity building for waste workers to be ready when the plastic global treaty is adopted.

Through the workshop, participants could have a clear view of the plastic global treaty negotiation process and the preparation of Viet Nam for the upcoming INC-3. It is noteworthy that several stakeholders have actively developed their action plans to prepare for policy adjustments when Viet Nam joins forces with the regions and the world to solve the problem of plastic pollution, shaping a sustainable and circular plastic economy.