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UNESCO

Say No to Plastic Bags Campaign launched in celebration of World Oceans Day

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Cham Island, 8 June 2017 – In celebration of World Oceans Day and welcoming the 6th Quang Nam Heritage Festival (9 to 14 June), officials from Quang Nam Province, Hoi An Province, and UNESCO together launched the public campaign "Say No to plastic bags" contributing to Viet Nam's Sea and Islands week.

Since 2009 the World Biosphere Reserve of Cham Island joined UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The island represents a diverse marine ecosystem in South East Asia, embodying the preservation of the ecosystem through scientific research and careful management practices mobilizing the active participation of local community members.

With the upcoming 6th Quang Nam Heritage Festival, representatives from the People's Committee of Quang Nam Province, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Directorate of Fisheries, Department of Hoi An City, Tan Hiep Commune People's Committee, Cham Island Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO gathered to call upon action for the preservation of coral and marine life and to exchange local knowledge for improved mitigation of climate change impacts.

The event, involving youth and local media and community members, included an awards ceremony recognizing the significant contributions of individuals and organizations towards the preservation of sea turtles, coral reef and marine biodiversity in the Cham Island Biosphere Reserve.

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Following, the Say No to Plastic Bags campaign was launched targeting visitors and local people of the Island. A participatory coastal cleanup was initiated with the leadership of Tan Hiep Commune and involvement of participants and general public. Members of the Cham Island Biosphere Reserve Management Board and active tour operators facilitated participants in cleaning the seabed surrounding thorny sea stars. In addition, participants were provided with an opportunity to visit coral nursing plants, exhibitions of the Media Conservation Center and selected attractions in forest and marine protected areas.

Commencing the launching ceremony, leader of the People's Committee of Quang Nam Province, Mr. Nguyen Van Dung, welcomed participants highlighting the importance of the event as an opportunity to raise awareness and promote the "value of marine and island resources and environment" and "national pride and sense of national sovereignty over the sea."

Representative and Head of UNESCO Ha Noi Office a.i, Ms. Susan Vize, emphasized that "as we celebrate our marine treasures this World Oceans Day, we are also reflecting on the work needed to sustain them as sea levels rise and water grows warmer and more acidic." "Among many efforts and significant achievements, Cham Island has been a pioneer UNESCO site in Viet Nam which invests in the saving, restoration and nurturing of its important coral reef. Such knowledge and experiences are of great value to share and replicate among all other marine areas in Viet Nam and internationally," she added.

Every year on 8 June, World Oceans Day aims to raise global awareness of the benefits humankind derives from the ocean and our individual and collective duty to use its resources sustainably. For more information please visit UNESCO's and the UN's page on World Oceans Day.

For more information please contact Ms. Pham Thi Thanh Huong, Natural Science Coordinator, at pt.huong(at)unesco.org

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