Viet Nam’s leading environmental policy-makers, experts, business leaders, local and international organizations today endorsed an action platform, which aims to help Viet Nam dramatically reduce the flow of plastic waste into land and ocean, develop a roadmap to eliminate single-use plastic, non-biodegradable plastic bags, especially in cities, coastal tourist destinations and marine protected areas.
The Viet Nam National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) is a collaboration between the Government of Viet Nam, represented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Global Plastic Action Partnership, a multistakeholder platform at the World Economic Forum that translates commitments to reduce plastic pollution and develop a circular economy.
Under international experts’ “business-as-usual” projections, plastic waste leakage into the nation’s water bodies is expected to grow by 106% between 2021 and 2030, unless bold, systemic action is taken to address the root causes of this plastic pollution crisis. These include material redesign, sustainable production and consumption to strengthening waste management capacity.
Under Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s Decision No. 1746/QĐ-TTg on 4 December, 2019, the Government of Viet Nam has established a series of time-bound targets for addressing the plastic pollution crisis. These include cutting plastic waste in marine bodies by one-half by 2025, achieving a 75% reduction in marine plastics by 2030, and eliminating single-use plastics and non-biodegradable bags from coastal tourist destinations and marine protected areas by 2030.
On November 17, the National Assembly of Vietnam passed the Law on Environmental Protection (amended) 2020 with breakthrough contents on minimizing, reusing, recycling and treating plastic waste; prevention of marine plastic waste pollution, which prescribes responsibilities for organizations and individuals to limit the use, reduce, segregate and dispose wastes which are single-use plastic products and non-biodegrade plastic bags.
The Viet Nam National Plastic Action Partnership aims to help accelerate progress of the vibrant community of plastic action initiatives already active in Viet Nam towards these targets. NPAP will be playing a convening and connecting role, bringing together public, private and civil society stakeholders to align behind a common approach for tackling plastic waste and pollution, as well as transitioning to a sustainable circular economy model for plastics.
“We are looking forward to the contribution from the NPAP to support strategies, plans and schemes for plastic waste management in Viet Nam, facilitate meaningful initiatives in addressing plastic pollution and promote circular economic development in Viet Nam and in the ASEAN. I hope that the Program that we launched today will create a foundation for partnerships between regulators, business community, bilateral and multilateral international partners to effectively tackle the plastic pollution problem, as well as promote sustainable plastic production and consumption through developing of a circular economy for plastics. Thereby, Vietnam will contribute to the global efforts to tackle the plastic pollution problem” said Tran Hong Ha, Minister of Nature Resources and Environment, Viet Nam.
Among the NPAP’s key deliverables is the development and introduction of a national action road map, endorsed by a cross-section of the country’s leading experts, which lays out tangible system change interventions that the nation needs to pursue to halt the mounting plastic pollution and marine plastic debris crisis. The road map is expected to be released in the next few months.
“Through this collaboration, we are delighted to build on and strengthen the ties between the World Economic Forum and Viet Nam – one that is based on a mutual desire to adopt more sustainable and circular models that both benefit Viet Nam’s precious marine ecosystem and protect the livelihoods of Vietnamese people,” said Kristin Hughes, Director of the Global Plastic Action Partnership and Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum. “Today, Viet Nam has officially become one of the early adopters of our unique multistakeholder collaboration model for accelerating plastic action, alongside Indonesia and Ghana. I expect the lessons and successes from this partnership will inform and catalyse similarly ambitious initiatives among other nations in the Asia-Pacific region.”
First conceptualized by the Government of Viet Nam and the Global Plastic Action Partnership at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, this locally-driven partnership has been brought to life with the instrumental support of private sector and civil society organizations in Viet Nam.
“The UK has been a strong supporter of the Global Plastic Action Partnership since 2018, with USD 3.5 million equivalent of UK Aid invested. It is a great pleasure to witness the launch of the National Plastic Action Partnership in Vietnam today. We support its work with the Government of Viet Nam to promote actions to tackle plastic waste in the country.” – highlighted by Marcus Winsley, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Viet Nam. “Plastic pollution is a global issue and we need global collaboration to tackle it. The UK is pleased to play a part and have the opportunity to support the development of a dynamic and cross-sectoral mechanism to do this at regional, national and subnational levels”.
“As a co-founding member of the Viet Nam NPAP with the World Economic Forum, WWF-Viet Nam applauds the leadership from the Government of Viet Nam and the companionship from other partners, to advance national and sub-national actions to deliver our national plastic mitigation targets and create a green circular economy,” said Van Ngoc Thinh, Country Director of WWF Viet Nam. “In our effort to support the NPAP programme and the Vietnamese government, WWF-Vietnam is also sponsoring and co-implementing the Mitigating Marine Plastic Debris in Vietnam project. In coordination with the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands in this project, we expect the project will contribute to tackling the environmental impact of plastic waste through the development of technical guidelines to support the implementation of solid waste management policies, communication activities, capacity building, awareness raising and behavioural change relating to plastic waste consumption.”
“Canada is proud to be a founding member of the Global Plastic Action Partnership and is investing CAD$6M to support the implementation of NPAPs including in Indonesia, Ghana and Vietnam,” said Deborah Paul, Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam. “We pay particular attention to addressing inequalities and vulnerabilities across the entire plastics management lifecycle, especially concerning women and girls and marginalised groups who are disproportionally affected by plastic pollution”.
“We are honoured to be invited by the Viet Nam NPAP to champion this initiative, and have decided to participate as the objectives of the programme are in alignment with our sustainability goals,” said Nguyen Viet Quang, Chief Executive Officer of Vingroup, a founding member of the NPAP.
The Program Launching Ceremony was co-organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the World Economic Forum and the World Wide Fund for Nature in Viet Nam.For more information about the Viet Nam NPAP and its deliverables and work plan, visit the Global Plastic Action Partnership website or refer to its 2020 annual impact report.
2020, one of three warmest years on record
The COVID-19 pandemic was not the only long-term crisis the world will remember from 2020. In terms of climate change, the year was also one of the three warmest on record, and rivalled 2016 for the top spot, the UN weather agency said on Wednesday.
“The confirmation by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that 2020 was one of the warmest years on record is yet another stark reminder of the relentless pace of climate change, which is destroying lives and livelihoods across our planet”, said Secretary-General António Guterres.
He pointed out that at 1.2 degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels, the world is already witnessing unprecedented weather extremes in every region and on every continent.
“We are headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius this century”, he warned. “Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top priority for everyone, everywhere.”
La Niña, which began in late last year, is expected to continue into the early-middle part of 2021.
“The exceptional heat of 2020 is despite a La Niña event, which has a temporary cooling effect”, said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.
La Niña and El Niño effects on average global temperatures are typically strongest in the second year of the event.
“It is remarkable that temperatures in 2020 were virtually on a par with 2016, when we saw one of the strongest El Niño warming events on record”, he added. “This is a clear indication that the global signal from human-induced climate change is now as powerful as the force of nature”.
The extent to which the continued cooling effects of La Niña this year may temporarily diminish the overall long-term warming trend remains to be seen.
Following atypical patterns
WMO pointed to sustained heat and wildfires in Siberia, diminishing Arctic sea ice and record-breaking hurricanes in the Atlantic as being among the climate events that most stood out in 2020.
The UN weather agency also reminded that temperature is just one climate change indicator. Greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat content, global mean sea level, sea ice extent and extreme events are also factors.
Backed by science
WMO’s consolidated global temperature update incorporates information from five leading international sets of data.
It also uses datasets that combine millions of meteorological and marine observations, including from satellites, with models to produce a complete reanalysis of the atmosphere.
“The combination of observations with models makes it possible to estimate temperatures at any time and in any place across the globe, even in data-sparse areas such as the polar regions”, according to WMO.
Looking to the future
The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels.
However, the global average temperature in 2020 had already approached the lower limit of the temperature increase that the Agreement seeks to avert.
Moreover, there is at least a one-in-five chance that the average global temperature will temporarily exceed 1.5 °C by 2024, according to WMO’s Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update, led by the United Kingdom’s Met Office.
The 2021 Met Office annual global temperature forecast also suggests that next year will again be one of the earth’s hottest years.
Updating its provisional December report, WMO will issue its final publication in March, which will incorporate temperature figures, information on all leading climate indicators and selected climate impacts.
Step up action and adapt to ‘new climate reality’-Report
Though countries have made progress in planning for climate change adaptation, there are significant financing shortfalls in getting them to the stage where they provide real protection against droughts, floods and rising sea levels, a new UN environment report has found.
According to the 2020 Adaptation Gap Report, released on Thursday by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), as temperatures rise and climate change impacts intensify, nations must urgently step up action to adapt to the new climate reality or face serious costs, damages and losses.
“The hard truth is that climate change is upon us,” Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, said in a news release announcing the findings.
“Its impacts will intensify and hit vulnerable countries and communities the hardest, even if we meet the Paris Agreement goals of holding global warming this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius and pursuing 1.5 degree Celsius.”
Global commitment needed
Annual adaptation costs in developing countries are estimated at $70 billion, but the figure could reach up to $300 billion in 2030, and $500 billion in 2050. Almost three-quarters of nations have some adaptation plans in place, but financing and implementation fall “far short” of what is needed, according to the UNEP report.
Stepping up public and private finance for adaptation is, therefore, urgently needed.
“As the Secretary-General has said, we need a global commitment to put half of all global climate finance towards adaptation in the next year … this will allow a huge step up in adaptation, in everything from early warning systems to resilient water resources to nature-based solutions,” Ms. Andersen added.
Adaptation is a key pillar of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It aims to reduce countries’ and communities’ vulnerability to climate change by increasing their ability to absorb impacts.
The UNEP report also underscored the importance of nature-based solutions as low-cost options that reduce climate risks, restore and protect biodiversity, and bring benefits for communities and economies.
Its analysis of four major climate and development funds: the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Adaptation Fund, and the International Climate Initiative (IKI), suggested that support for green initiatives with some element of nature-based solutions has risen over the last two decades.
Cumulative investment for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects under the four funds stands at $94 billion. However, only $12 billion was spent on nature-based solutions, a tiny fraction of total adaptation and conservation finance, it added.
Cutting emissions will reduce costs
Cutting greenhouse gas emissions will reduce the impacts and costs associated with climate change, according to the report. Achieving the 2 degrees Celsius target of the Paris Agreement could limit losses in annual growth to up to 1.6 per cent, compared to 2.2 per cent for the 3 degrees Celsius trajectory.
UNEP urged all nations to pursue the efforts outlined in its December 2020 Emissions Gap Report, which called for a green pandemic recovery and updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that include new net-zero commitments.
“However, the world must also plan for, finance and implement climate change adaptation to support those nations least responsible for climate change but most at risk,” the UN agency added.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to hit the ability of countries to adapt to climate change, investing in adaptation is a sound economic decision,” it said.
Guterres: COVID-19 recovery offers ‘chance to change course’
The process of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic offers the chance to change course, and put humanity on a path on which it is not in conflict with nature, the United Nations Secretary-General said on Monday, urging greater efforts by everyone to protect biodiversity and step up climate action.
Addressing world leaders at the One Planet Summit, Secretary-General António Guterres outlined the consequences of abusing Earth and its resources.
“We have been poisoning air, land and water – and filling oceans with plastics. Now, nature is striking back: temperatures are reaching record highs, biodiversity is collapsing, deserts are spreading, [and] fires, floods and hurricanes are more frequent and extreme,” he said.
“We are extremely fragile”, Mr. Guterres warned.
Combined with the devastating effects of COVID-19 and its socio-economic fallout, the UN chief reminded everyone that “as we rebuild, we cannot revert to the old normal.”
“Pandemic recovery is our chance to change course. With smart policies and the right investments, we can chart a path that brings health to all, revives economies and builds resilience and rescues biodiversity”, he highlighted.
‘Everyone must do much more’
The Secretary-General noted that innovations and nature-based solutions are especially promising, and that preserving biodiversity also creates jobs. According to the World Economic Forum, emerging business opportunities across nature could create 191 million jobs by 2030, he added.
At the same time, with a financing gap of $711 billion per year until 2030 to meet global biodiversity targets, increased and sustained financing will be crucial to transition away from polluting sectors, Mr. Guterres said.
“The time has come to…align public and private financial flows with the Paris Agreement commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and integrate the goal of carbon neutrality into all economic and fiscal decisions.”
The UN chief also urged support for the most vulnerable, who are already suffering the effects of climate change, such as the least developed countries and small island developing States.
‘The sign of hope’
“Everyone must do much more … We begin a new year under the sign of hope. Together, let us seize the opportunity to build a safer, fairer and more sustainable world,” he added.
Organized by the French Government in partnership with the United Nations and the World Bank, the One Planet Summit brought together world leaders to commit action to protect and restore bio-diversity. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the event was largely virtual.
Opening the Summit, French President Emmanuel Macron, declared that protecting and restoring biodiversity is “in our interest”.
Alongside creating millions of jobs between now and 2030, the natural world offers many benefits, he said, adding that intact forests and ocean ecosystems can help meet climate targets by acting as carbon sinks.
‘Nature offers solutions’
“Nature offers solutions for developing sustainable agriculture, for economic and financial services, helping us to preserve our heritages and cultures”, said the French President.
Mr. Macron outlined four key priorities for action: protecting terrestrial and maritime ecosystems, to allow nature to regenerate; promoting agro ecology to safeguard environment, strengthen food-security and reduce inequalities; mobilizing public and private financing, which would support both climate action and protect biodiversity; and reducing deforestation, especially tropical forests, to protect species and human health.
African greening initiative receives $14 billion
Also on Monday, the Great Green Wall for the Sahel and Sahara, an initiative to combat desertification in the vast region, received a pledge of more than $14.2 billion in new funding over the next 10 years, to restore degrading land, protect biodiversity and strengthen resilience.
According to the UN Convention on Combating Desertification Secretariat (UNCCD), overall, about $33 billion needed by the initiative to achieve its ambitious targets to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land, the soil capture of around 250 million tons of atmospheric carbon, and creation of some 10 million green jobs for communities, by 2030.
Mohamed Cheikh El-Ghazouani, President of Mauritania and the Chair of Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Pan African Agency for the Green Great Wall, welcomed the announcement.
“The mobilization of this additional funding through an innovative approach will certainly contribute to the achievement of the Great Green Wall goals”, he said.
Since its inception in 2007, the country-led Great Green Wall programme has planted billions of trees and supported tens of thousands of local households. Its path snakes along the southern margin of Africa’s Sahara Desert running from the Atlantic coast to the Red Sea.
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