On World Oceans Day, UNESCO is pleased to announce 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 is under the partnership between UNESCO and The Coca-Cola Foundation established since 2017 for solutions to manage plastic waste, toward as sustainable green economy in Vietnam.
About 8 million metric tons of plastic are discarded into the ocean annually (Jambeck, et al. 2015), the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic every minute. In Viet Nam alone, with levels of domestic waste growing rapidly, United Nations Environment reports up to 730,000 tons of garbage, most of which originates inland, reaches the ocean annually.
The Initiative “Youth and Innovation for Ocean” will call for youth talents and young scientists across the country in developing innovative and practical solutions for plastic waste management, focusing on the “Rs”: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, contributing to the development of the circular economy. Within the framework of the initiative, young talents will be provided technical supports from top experts through mentorship scheme. The top proposals awarded will be tested in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, specifically Cu Lao Cham – Hoi An Biosphere Reserve for the 2020 program, through providing financial support for the implementation of best innovative ideas.
Furthermore, the initiative will also kick-off the Youth and Young Professionals on Innovation, Science and Technology Platform for Resiliency (U-INSPIRE) as a national hub for supporting knowledge sharing and innovative ideas from young Vietnamese citizens to address environmental and development issues in the country.
“we know that Vietnamese youth are talented and have solutions to offer in all areas of development. Our job is to help these creative young people connect to each other and support the ideas that grow from these interactions.”
The UNESCO Representative to Viet Nam, Michael Croft
“the Foundation is keen to support such forward-looking initiatives that position youth at the forefront of change and draw out their natural talent and energy to address head-on issues such as plastic waste and other environment concerns which directly affected their communities. We are ready to be amazed.”
Ms. Le Tu Cam Ly – Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability – Coca-Cola Indochina
This initiative reflects UNESCO’s strong commitment to support Viet Nam to maintain a healthy and sustainable ocean, contributing to both the National Strategy on Sustainable Marine Economy until 2030, vision 2045 and the National Action Plan for Management of Marine Plastic Litter by 2030.
“Youth and Innovation for Ocean” builds on the success of the previous “Art for Recycle” Initiative in 2019. It reflects the desire of both UNESCO and the Coca-Cola Foundation to support youth as key change makers for sustainable development.