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UN Viet Nam staff go green

Koos Neefjes, UNDP Senior Advisor

Ha Noi, 16 May 2008 – Dozens of United Nations staff in Viet Nam walked the talk on climate change, leaving their cars or motorbikes at home on Friday, opting instead for greener ways of traveling to work.

Pollution from vehicles is a serious and growing problem in Viet Nam where an increasing number of automobiles, motorcycles and trucks travel the roads every day, burning fossil fuels and releasing into the air toxins, small particles and greenhouse gases that contribute to health and environmental problems, including climate change.

In response to these challenges, the Ha Noi-based non-governmental organization Action for the City launched Green Transport Day in the Vietnamese capital on Friday, 16 May.  Many UN staff who walked, took the public bus, rode a bicycle or took part in a motorbike or carpool said they were surprised by how much they enjoyed using the cleaner transport alternatives.

“I am struck that it doesn’t take very long to cycle to work,” said Ian Howie, Representative of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, in Viet Nam. “One wonders why we don’t do it more often. It’s just a pleasure to ride a bicycle.”

"I feel so healthy and energetic to start the day now,” added Le Thi My Dung from the Ha Noi office of UNESCO, the United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organization. “This is a better way to lose weight than being on a diet!" she said of walking to work.

Viet Nam is one of the countries expected to be worst affected by rising global temperatures. For more on climate change, see the UNDP Human Development Report 2007/2008, Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World.

For more on Green Transport Day, see

For photos of UN Viet Nam staff from Green Transport Day, click here.

Below are some additional comments made by UN staff during Green Transport Day:

  • “I should be embarrassed, I could do this [take the public bus instead of a taxi] every day. I didn’t know it was so easy – the bus basically takes me from door to door.” Caroline den Dulk, UN Communications Manager
  • “I can do it [take the bus] more often, for example once a week” Neil Reece-Evans, UNDP Deputy Country Director
  • “I feel fresh walking to the office this morning.” Rudy Juanito, UN Security Advisor
  • “I had to take two buses, but I will do this more often, starting this summer.” Tran Tuyet Van, UNIDO Senior Secretary
    “I walked from my house. It’s 5 km away. I will start doing this every Friday. It’s really great.” Dang Huu Cu, Chairman of UNDP/ UNIDO/ UNODC/UNV Staff Association



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