Sustainable development is not achievable purely through economic and political change; it must also come through a conscious decision to change the way humans interact with the environment. Every day, many engage in routines and practices that seem normal but are in fact unsustainable and detrimental to the health of planet Earth.
As a coastal country, Viet Nam has a unique and vital geographical standing in the world and one that requires a compassionate and forward-thinking mind-set towards the environment. Viet Nam relies heavily on the ocean for resources, sustenance and as a means for depositing waste. However, as development continues to accelerate, the strain placed upon the environment becomes increasingly unsustainable.
UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) promotes intergovernmental cooperation in order to generate knowledge about the ocean and coastal areas and to apply that knowledge to sustainable development, marine environment protection, and decision-making processes within its Member States. In 2014, the Government of Viet Nam, hosted the WESTPAC 9th International Scientific Symposium entitled “A Healthy Ocean for Prosperity in the Western Pacific: Scientific Challenges and Possible Solutions” bringing together marine scientists, with a view to examining the achievements in marine sciences, advancing marine scientific knowledge, and catalysing multi- and cross-disciplinary collaboration for sharing the wealth of the ocean to benefit all.
UNESCO believes that education is key to creating a new environmentally friendly mind-set, whereby decision making is based on long-term sustainable development, rather than short-term financial gains. UNESCO has been recognized as the lead agency for providing Education for Sustainable Development (ESD); a programme that enables Viet Nam to constructively and creatively address present and future global challenges and create more sustainable and resilient societies.