Ha Noi – December 12th, 2020. On the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, youth affirmed their commitments to and active participation in the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Viet Nam.

From December 5th to December 7th, UNDP Viet Nam and the Department of Climate Change (DCC) of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) co-organised the National Writeshop for the first-ever Special Report on Youth Climate Action in Viet Nam. Attended by more than 20 youth aged between 14 and 29 years old who are passionate about solving the 'defining issue of our time,' the 3-day event took place at the International Centre for Interdisciplinary Science and Education (ICISE) in Quy Nhon, Binh Dinh province.

A landmark event for the youth and climate movement, the National Writeshop aimed to produce three outcomes:

-          1 Special Report 'Youth for Climate Action in Viet Nam,' highlighting key challenges and bottlenecks faced by youth and introducing ambitious youth-led strategies to foster climate action.

-          1 Youth Statement, outlining the motivation and vision of the youth to drive the transition to a low-carbon and resilient Viet Nam.

-          1 Roadmap for Youth Engagement and Participation, establishing cooperation mechanisms between youth leaders and policymakers in delivering Viet Nam's NDC, as well as clear targets and milestones for implementation.

Youth4Climate is supported by the Climate Promise, a global programme through which UNDP has committed to supporting at least 100 countries in enhancing their NDCs by 2020.  One of the first countries in the region to submit its NDC to the UNFCCC, Viet Nam committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 9% by 2030 compared to a business-as-usual scenario, and up to 27% with international support. Youth4Climate aims to strengthen the capacity of existing youth representatives and youth networks by stepping up their climate actions in different frontlines to advance Viet Nam's NDC.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Dao Xuan Lai, Head of Climate Change and Environment Unit at UNDP Viet Nam, emphasized the power of Viet Nam’s youth: “You represent 23% of the population in Viet Nam and hold a formidable force. You are the powerhouse for innovation and action, and it is our role as UNDP Viet Nam, to help you reach your full capacity. We believe that you are, and will be, one of the main driving forces in implementing the NDC targets. We want you to take a greater role and participate in the policymaking process, sharing your views, thoughts, and solutions.”

As a first step, UNDP partnered with three organisations – CHANGE in the South, WildAct in the Central Region, and Live&Learn in the North – to organise 3 regional consultations, building on their extensive knowledge and networks to gather youth leaders together. They joined a 2-day event to gain exposure to climate policies in Viet Nam, start unpacking the specific challenges they are facing in their localities, and document local practices and youth-led initiatives. UNDP and its partners further selected and invited outstanding youth from the event who demonstrated active participation, creativity, and high performance to join the National Writeshop in Quy Nhon.

The National Writeshop offered an unprecedented space for lively discussions between all participants, where youth got the opportunity to learn directly from a number of high-level speakers. Mr. Pham Van Tan, Deputy Director General of the DCC at MONRE, outlined the efforts conducted by Viet Nam since the Earth Summit in 1992, while Mr. Lai explained the role of UNDP in supporting and enabling civil society participation. UNDP partners Ms. Le Thi Ngoc Bich from the UK Embassy and Prof. Marco Abbiati from the Italian Embassy introduced the road to COP26 and the objectives of international climate negotiations.

Mr. Pham Van Tan highlighted that “Climate change is a challenging game for all of us. In that game, you and me and everyone, we must win.” Thus, youth need to be empowered to take on a significant role, mobilise others, and create the green, inclusive future they want. Guest speakers further stressed that acting and speaking out loud will make youth action more visible, and that this will go hand in hand with the search for funding.

Inspired by the presentation and advice from Prof. Tran Thuc, which quoted the words attributed to Leonardo da Vinci that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication," participants were reminded to come up with practical solutions that address localised impacts of climate change and invent collaborative mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Led by an enthusiastic Youth Special Reporter, they collectively wrote the first version of the Youth Statement, which will be the cornerstone of their upcoming collective climate action.

While participants gained hands-on knowledge of policymaking, climate science, community mobilisation, international negotiations, and creative communication, the National Writeshop also applied a collective intelligence lens through the event. As such, active listening, teamwork, system mapping, and innovative thinking methods were actively promoted, such as using mind maps, theatre play, surveys, crowdsourcing, and collaborative writing.

The event was structured around four key thematic sessions, which combined offline and online presentations welcoming national and international speakers from the global south and blended science, policy, and ecology theory with practical case studies.

Thematic Session 1: Youth for Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) provided an overview of the science and benefits of NBS, practical case studies from youth-led reforestation projects in Brazil, mangrove restoration, and the role of biodiversity conservation in Viet Nam.

Thematic Session 2: Climate Policy and the Decision-Making Process focused on the overall policy framework on climate change in Viet Nam and the implementation pathway in the context of the Paris Agreement, introduced the critical role of creative communication in youth mobilisation, and provided a case study from Nigeria in engaging youth in the NDC.

Thematic Session 3: Lessons Learned from Youth-Led Initiatives in Climate Change Adaptation discussed the roles of agriculture and food systems in achieving climate targets, and presented the case of the joint UNDP-GOV-GCF project on coastal resilience, which supports flood- and storm-resilient housing in five of Viet Nam’s coastal provinces as part of a transformational programme for community-based adaptation.

Thematic Session 4: Innovation for Mitigation emphasised the role of waste management in reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a case study from the Maldives, as well as highlighting the stories of the NGO GreenID, which strives to bring energy to off-grid communities in remote areas of Viet Nam, and the company 1516 Green Energy, which is rolling out ground-breaking wind turbines in the poorest provinces of Viet Nam.

Moving forward, Youth4Climate will hold a National Dialogue where youth representatives will present the outcomes of the Special Report to policymakers, as well as a set of entry points for enhanced collaboration with youth-led initiatives. They will highlight their recommendations to ensure inclusive monitoring of the NDC; pledges for GHG emission reductions and adaptation efforts; and concrete and innovative solutions for accelerating solutions. Finally, a Youth for Climate Innovation Award will soon be launched to gather the most innovative and scalable youth-led initiatives.

More information about the Youth4Climate:

The agenda of the National Writeshop  

The introduction of the speakers  

The introduction of the participants

Facebook Page -  Youth4Climate

Contacts:

Bui Viet Hien, UNDP Programme Officer on Climate Change and Resilience - Email: bui.viet.hien@undp.org

Bui Thi Quynh Anh, UNDP Programme Assistant/Youth4Climate Coordinator - Email: bui.thi.quynh.anh@undp.org

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