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Vietnam’s initiative shows importance of digital technology: ITU Secretary



Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General, said the renaming to ITU Digital World is a great initiative of Vietnam reflecting the importance of digital technology in the communications ecosystem.

Vietnam’s initiative shows importance of digital technology: ITU Secretary

ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao

The first ITU Telecom was organized 50 years ago. Most recently, the events were organized in Budapest, Hungary and Durban, South Africa. Host countries are chosen through competitive candidacy.

“I think Vietnam is a wonderful host country to organize the event,” he said in an interview with VietNamNet.

Vietnam’s strong commitments and enthusiasm to organize ITU Telecom World 2020 offline in 2020 were recognized, but because of Covid-19, the event was organized online. And Vietnam continues to host the event this year – ITU Digital World 2021.

Vietnam’s significant achievements in ICT development and its important role in ASEAN both make Vietnam an ideal host of the event. He said he is impressed with the rapid ICT development in Vietnam.

He acknowledged Vietnam’s role as a leading ICT service provider and digital economy in ASEAN, and an important partner in many markets from Asia, Africa to Latin America and the Caribbean.

For a long time, the old image of fixed-line telephone set was shown when talking about telecom. But nowadays, when talking about ICT, one would think about the development of technology firms and applications.

In 2019, the event was organized in Hungary – ITU Telecom World 2019. But Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung has suggested renaming it ITU Digital World, a wonderful initiative which shows the importance of digital technology in communications ecosystem.

The Covid-19 pandemic has posed many challenges. However, with ICT services, billions of people still can work, study, take care of others and maintain contacts throughout the pandemic all over the world, including the participants of ITU events.

However, half of the global population still cannot access technology and necessary digital services.

ITU has built its position as an ICT leader in the United Nations’ great family to support the organization of events and meetings under online mode.

Online meetings show greater inclusivity than offline meetings, allowing people, no matter where they are, to participate in events as panel speakers or delegates.

The organization of WSIS this year online, for example, has been highly appreciated by all parties because it helps intensify participation and promote cooperation all over the world.

Organizing ITU events online is an important decision to respond to the crisis. The 2020 meeting was the first large-scale event of ITU and it was successfully organized thanks to the cooperation, qualification of the staff and great efforts of the partners in Vietnam. And this year’s event has gone smoothly also thanks to the staff.

Houlin Zhao praised the Vietnamese Government’s strong support and enthusiasm in organizing the edition of 50th anniversary of ITU Telecom. He believes that organizing the event in Vietnam is a right decision. Vietnam’s great achievements in ICT development makes Vietnam a wonderful model for the region and the world.

He hopes that the Ministers’ conference in some days will convene leading representatives of the public and private sectors to consider the role of governments in cutting broadband costs, expanding broadband connection and promoting digital society.

Vietnam’s experience and initiatives in digital transformation, including the newly announced e-Government strategy will help orientate the discussions and it is really an active model for other governments to consider.

A lot of issues are expected to be discussed at the event, including digital transformation, support to people to access broadband at reasonable costs, and the building of a digital future.

Themed ‘Building a Digital World Together’, ITU Digital World 2021 gathers parties from all over the world and the ICT ecosystem, governments and businesses, from small and medium technology firms to large corporations, institutes and international organizations.

Houlin Zhao said the Covid-19 pandemic shows the importance of digital connection and services, as well as the digital gap between the people who can access and those who cannot. It’s now the right time to take action to narrow the gap and create conditions for 3.7 billion people to access broadband and the opportunities and benefits it can bring.

The goal can be reached through the cooperation between governments, nations, the entire ICT industry, international organizations, the public – private and civil sectors.

“The main message of the event is that together, we can connect the people who remain inaccessible and accelerate the development of new technologies, from AI to 5G mobile infrastructure, which is the center of the digital economy. It’s now the time to speed up digital information in Vietnam, the region and the world,” he said. 

Nguyen Thai



USAID-funded Mekong Delta Coastal Habitat Conservation project launched



A view of Phú Quốc island in Mekong Delta’s Kiên Giang Province. — VNA/ Photo 

HÀ NỘI — A workshop took place both virtually and in-person in Hà Nội on Thursday to launch the Mekong Delta Coastal Habitat Conservation project, which was announced during US Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Việt Nam in August.

The workshop was co-organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Directorate of Fisheries under the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

With a planned budget of up to US$2.9 million provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the project, running from August 2021 to July 2024, aims to protect key coastal habitats in the Mekong Delta region of Việt Nam to increase the sustainability of fisheries, enhance climate change adaptation, and improve biodiversity conservation.

By partnering with businesses, provincial governments, the management board of Phú Quốc Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Phú Quốc National Park in Kiên Giang Province and fishing communities, the project will work to mitigate threats to coastal biodiversity and fisheries, and enhance coastal resilience in the region.

IUCN Việt Nam Country Representative Jake Brunner said the project would help pilot and build new policies as well as open up new opportunities on finance.

Geographically, the project’s activities will focus on the delta’s lowest lying and most vulnerable coastlines along the East and West Seas, Phú Quốc MPA, and three small island clusters of Hải Tặc, Bà Lụa and Nam Du.

The Mekong Delta and its islands are home to 70 per cent of Việt Nam’s mangroves and 90 per cent of its seagrass beds. Fed by the sediment and nutrients from the Mekong River, these habitats support Việt Nam’s richest fishing grounds, but are also under growing threat.

The delta’s mangrove forests, which provide nursery habitat for sea bass, snapper, and other commercially important species, and important protection for coastal communities from storm surges, are declining due to sea level rise.

The delta’s crucial fishery habitats are further threatened by environmental pressures including prolonged droughts, rising temperatures, and aquaculture demand for groundwater, and intensive near-shore fishing which has depleted fish stocks, causing cascading ecological damage.

The main components of the project include strengthening management of Phú Quốc MPA for more effective habitat and species conservation; establishing a network of locally managed marine areas to protect coral reefs, seagrass beds in three island clusters; and exploring solutions to conserve and expand mangrove forests to increase fish nursery habitat and coastal biodiversity.

It is expected that the project’s outcomes will contribute to addressing the systemic threats in the Mekong Delta, in support of ongoing measures being taken by the Government of Việt Nam, such as the revised Fisheries Law, 2018 Resolution 36, Resolution 120, and 2019 Planning Law.

Director of the Directorate of Fisheries Trần Đình Luân said one of the current challenges was to protect the marine environment without affecting the livelihoods of local people.

The project was among concrete steps to raise people’s awareness of sustainable development in coastal areas, he stated.

Quảng Trọng Thao, Deputy Director the Kiên Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the implementation of the project would be of great significance as it would look toward the engagement of many stakeholders in protecting the living environment, such as the community, local businesses, international organisations, managers, and scientists. —


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Hanoi faces waste storage crisis



Xuan Son Landfill in Hanoi’s Son Tay Town stopped receiving waste from October 6 due to overloading. Local authorities have had to move all rubbish to the Nam Son Landfill in Soc Son District which is also reaching full capacity.

Xuan Son Landfill has closed due to overloading

The city is facing a rubbish treatment crisis.

In an urgent report announced by the managers of the Xuan Son Landfill, all three tailings ponds built to contain wastewater from buried rubbish at the landfill have already reached their capacity. The ponds now contain about 54,000 cubic metres of wastewater while some 3,000 cubic metres more are kept in temporary containers.

“We’ve been trying to collect the wastewater spill from the overloaded tailings ponds,” the report said. “The problems have been temporarily curbed and we have started a 10-day pilot plan to receive 500 tonnes of waste a day from October 20.”

The managers have also proposed to build more tailings ponds on a 5.6-hectare area in Ba Vi District.

Over the past two weeks, authorities in Son Tay Town have had to gather rubbish in temporary areas while the Xuan Son Landfill closed. Families in some areas have been asked to keep rubbish in their homes as there were no public places to put the waste.

At present, the capital has two landfills, Xuan Son and Nam Son, which are all treating waste by burying. Both of these landfills have constantly operated beyond their capacity and are now already overloaded.

The Xuan Son Landfill used to deal with 1,400 tonnes of rubbish a day which was 230 tonnes higher than their capacity.

In an effort to deal with the problem, Hanoi People’s Committee Vice-Chairman Nguyen Trong Dong has asked the construction department to build a new 2.2-hectare dumping site in Ba Vi District.

Meanwhile, the Soc Son Waste-to-Energy project in Nam Son Waste Treatment Complex which was expected to deal with 90 percent of waste at the Nam Son Landfill failed to finish construction as expected in September.

The project was approved in late 2017 with a total investment of VND7 trillion (USD303 million). Once completed, it will be the largest in Vietnam and the second largest in the world with a capacity of handling 4,000 tonnes of dry solid waste per day.

Speaking with the Tien Phong Newspaper, a representative from the project investor, the Hanoi-based Thien Y Environmental Energy JSC, said that they faced difficulties in employing staff due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak.

Vice-Chairman Nguyen Trong Dong urged the investor to try to put the plant into operation by March next year.

Source: Dtinews


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Investigation launched to find killers of endangered langurs in Quảng Ngãi



The corpses of five grey-shanked douc langurs (pygathrix cinerea) who are one of the world’s 25 most critically endangered primates. — Photo courtesy of Chí Đại 

QUẢNG NGÃI — Local ranger and police forces have been tracking illegal hunters who killed five grey-shanked douc langurs (pygathrix cinerea). The remains of the critically endangered species were found at Kon Căng forest in Kon Dốc commune of the central province’s Ba Tơ District.

The grey-shanked douc langur is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list as one of the world’s 25 most critically endangered primates. The primates can only be found in Việt Nam.

Head of Ba Tơ forest protection section, Ngô Vĩnh Phong, said remains of the five endangered primates were found by a patrol on October 8. The local rangers, police and militia recovered valuable evidence left behind by the hunters which they hope will aid their investigation. 

He said hunters had left the forest when rangers came, leaving the five corpses, one motorbike, an air tank, 53 dust shots and a silencer at the site.

Phong said the illegal hunters used handmade air guns to kill the primates, based on an examination of the bodies.  

The forest is under the management of Ba Tơ forestry private company, he added.

It’s the worst illegal hunting case of endangered wildlife in the province since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Frankfurt Zoological Society, some 1,000 grey-shanked doucs have been found in forests of Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Bình Định, Kon Tum and Gia Lai.

According to the provincial forest department, at least three illegal logging cases have been found in protected forest areas in Phổ Phong Commune of Đức Phổ Town, Sơn Long Commune of Sơn Tây District and Long Môn Village in Minh Long District between late September and early October.

The province plans to allocate 6ha of coastal forest protection area for the development of the Dung Quất-Sa Huỳnh Road. —


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