Approximately 200 youth representatives in Viet Nam joined the event online. The event was attended by the UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam, Ms. Caitlin Wiesen, and the COP26 President-Designate, Mr. Alok Sharma, during his official visit to Viet Nam.

Photo: UNDP

The Special Report “Youth for Climate Action in Viet Nam” was co-written by 20 young authors from diverse backgrounds, representing approximately 900 youth from the three regions of the North, the Central and the South of Viet Nam. According to the Special Report, youth face four major bottlenecks in undertaking climate action: (1) financial constraints; (2) lack of support from stakeholders; (3) skills limitations; and (4) technological limitations. To unblock these bottlenecks, the report recommends ten accelerators, which include: (1) establishing a youth network for climate, and (2) launching a climate learning hub. These accelerators were incorporated into a roadmap towards COP26 and action goals for 2022 - 2025 to enhance the contribution from the youth to Viet Nam’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

The Dialogue with the COP26 President-Designate offered the unique opportunity for the youth representatives to handover the special report to the President-Designate, share their views on climate change, as well as, discuss actions to advance the youth agenda in the lead up to the upcoming Global Youth Summit in Milan, Italy in September 2021 and the COP26 in Glasgow, UK in November 2021. The youth representatives that participated in the dialogue also proposed innovative ways to strengthen youth’s role in the national and international climate agenda. Key discussion points also included Vietnamese youth’s mobilization for COP26 and beyond as part of the global momentum-building “Youth4Climate: Driving Ambitions” program.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam, highlighted that, “Youth are a powerhouse of passion creativity and innovation. As recommended in the youth report we invite all partners to join in aligning programs and mechanisms to accelerate an enabling environment where youth can fully assume their role as agents of change for climate action.”

Photo: UNDP

“Responding to climate change requires the efforts of all ministries, sectors, local agencies, businesses, individuals and communities, among which the youth plays an essential role. Every action, even the smallest, has an immense impact, contributing to changing awareness and creating motivation for the participation of the whole society,” said Mr. Pham Van Tan, Deputy Director General of DCC.

The COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma sent a message to Vietnamese youth: “This is a passionate report which speaks from the heart of youth, sets out some very clear ideas what we ought to be doing together to tackle climate change. The future does indeed belong to young people around the world. That’s why it’s vital that your voice is heard loud and clear. This report is also one which speaks with passion - the passion of youth. What ever policies world leaders come up with, whatever plan they have, they must always think of the planet first. Frankly that’s also the message that comes through your report. It is the report that says pick the planet.”

Hoang Ngoc Xuan Mai who is a lead author of the report, shared, “The co-authors and I are more excited than ever to push through the bottlenecks and enhance youth climate action in Viet Nam. We see climate change not only as an existential threat, but also as an accelerator for innovations.“We invite everyone, no matter how old they are, to read the report and take bold actions for the planet.”

Khang A Tua, a Hmong youth climate leader who participated in the roundtable shared, “Through discussions with stakeholders, we would like to affirm the importance of mobilizing youth from every corner to respond to climate change in Viet Nam with the right policies and capacity-building tools. As a first step, I am excited to see climate policy-makers, both national and global, willing to cooperate with young people in climate action.”

In addition to the dialogue with the COP26 President-Designate, the Launching Ceremony also included a fruitful roundtable discussion between MONRE, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, UNDP Viet Nam, the UK Embassy, the Italian Embassy and youth representatives who participated online and in-person. Youth representatives elaborated their recommendations on policy options to unlock youth accelerators and seek opportunities to strengthen youth contribution directly to the implementation of the national climate targets with the Government and other stakeholders.

So far, the youth groups have already succeeded in launching an independent youth climate network and are currently developing a Youth4Climate Learning Hub with the support of UNDP Viet Nam. Looking ahead, they are excited to participate in the Youth for Climate Innovation Contest to raise ambition for COP26 this year./.

Khac Kien