Rio + 20: Lifting up Children’s Voice on Climate Change in Vietnam
In the coastal province of Quang Binh, young people have made a video on climate change-induced challenges faced by their local communities. The film project – funded by Norway in partnership with UNICEF and Vietnam’s Youth Union – aims at giving voice to young people as agents of change in one of the countries hardest hit by impacts of climate change.
15 year-old Hoang Mai Trinh at the video workshop in Quang Binh province. . Photo: UNICEF/ Viet Nam/Bisin
“Children and young people are the most vulnerable to climate change, but they are also agents of change and can become part of the solution”, 15 year-old Vo Giang Ha said proudly. The young boy is one of six young people aged 13-17 that were trained in filming and engaged in discussions around the theme of climate change, at a workshop in the province of Quang Bing, from 18 to 20 May. The three-day training was supported by UNICEF, in partnership with Viet Nam’s Youth Union – one of the country's largest mass organisations - and with funding from Norway.
The young people also planned, scripted and filmed a 6-minute video telling the story of a fishing community in the province, where a number of homes and a school were washed away by more frequent and devastating storms. The film not only focuses on climate change-induced challenges increasingly faced by coastal communities of Viet Nam, but also on possible ways to fight against these challenging odds and how local communities and children can be part of the solution. See the film that was produced by Paul Zetter and edited by Edward Burger here:
“That’s not fair”!
“As children, we have nothing to do with global warming, yet this is what we inherit from our parents and grandparents”, said 15 year-old Hoang Mai Trinh at one of the sessions".
According to scientific data, Viet Nam ranks 13th of 170 countries deemed vulnerable to the impacts of climate change over the next 30 years, and is one of 16 “extreme risk” countries. In addition, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified the Mekong Delta as one of three 'extreme' global hotspots in terms of potential population displaced as a result of mean sea level rise.
In Viet Nam, as in other developing countries, children are among those hit hardest by the emerging impacts of climate change, although they have the least responsibility for its causes. The types of climate risks confronting children are diverse, ranging from direct physical impacts, such as cyclones, storm surges and extreme temperatures, to impacts on their education, psychological stress and nutritional challenges.
Agents of change
“Viet Nam’s children and young people have knowledge on global issues threatening our planet; they are ready to bring about social change. As world leaders in the Rio + 20 Conference on sustainable development gather this week to discuss the future of our planet, they should include young people in these discussions and ensure they are part of the response to climate change”, says Ms. Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Viet Nam’s Representative.
“We don’t think the government is listening enough to young people”, continues Hoang Mai Trinh, who has appreciated the learning experience the workshop provided. “We hope through the video our voices will be heard by our leaders. We also hope this film will contribute to raise awareness of climate change in Viet Nam and let everyone know they can take action to reduce the impact it will have on our lives”.
For more information on children and climate change, please see this study conducted by UNICEF last year: Children’s Vulnerability to Climate Change and Disaster Impacts in East Asia and the Pacific.
See UNICEF’s homepage for more information on their work in Vietnam:www.unicef.org/vietnam