Youths are active, creative, brave, enthusiastic, energetic, and fresh with new ideas. Youths of today are taking part in climate change action for their own future. The same goes for Vietnamese Youths. Vietnam ranked sixth among countries globally hardest hit by climate change and extreme weather phenomena during 1999 – 2018 according to the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat). Vietnam is a young country. The population of Vietnam consists of 23% of youths. As the future leaders of the country, Vietnamese Youths are committed to playing an active role in solving climate change; for example, by implementing youth-led climate actions from 2021 to 2025 in Vietnam. Vietnamese Youths are enthusiastic to contribute youth-led climate change solutions to local (especially vulnerable areas) and national communities, participate in the climate policy making process and create a global youth network for climate action across the world. However, there are many difficulties and bottlenecks when implementing their plans.
"Special Report, Youth for Climate Action in Viet Nam '' was published by the Department of Climate Change, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Vietnam in May 2021. The authors of this report are 20 Vietnamese Youths with the age range of 15 to 30 years old. They mentioned distinct bottlenecks in four main sectors; Climate Mitigation, Climate Adaptation, Nature-Based Solutions and Climate Policies.
According to the authors of the report, Distinct Bottlenecks in CLIMATE ADAPTATION are
- Financial constraints
- Skills constraints (people who want to focus on science)
- Lack of engagement with stakeholders (projects unable to reach a diverse audience)
Distinct Bottlenecks in CLIMATE MITIGATION are
- Youth in most vulnerable regions lack knowledge and skills
- Lack of support from local authorities
Distinct Bottlenecks in NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS are
- Financial constraints (Projects often run over budget)
- Lack of stakeholder support (NBS still seen as a new concept)
- Lack of human resources
- Skills limitations
Distinct Bottlenecks in CLIMATE POLICY are
- Information about the policy is difficult to grasp and unclear
- Lack of framework for youth climate advocacy
Although youths have eagerness for tackling climate actions, they still lack some skills, have some constraints and limitations. Financial constraints that youths are facing when working for their projects are due to difficulty in obtaining legal status for their groups. This leads them to obstacles for fundraising and sponsorship from major partners. Skill limitations that they encounter are soft skills such as project planning, public communication, stakeholder engagement, etc. These skills are not taught in Vietnamese classrooms. Obstacles in Stakeholder Engagement that they experience are difficulties working with project stakeholders such as local government, scientists, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and community members partly due to lack of willingness or familiarity with youth projects.
Youths in Under-resourced Groups like Youths in Remote Regions, Ethnic Minority Youths and High School Students are facing more difficulties to participate in youth-led climate projects than youths in cosmopolitan areas. Youths in Remote Regions have barriers of language and knowledge. Ethnic Minority Youths are facing barriers of accessing education opportunities and participating in social activities and climate change awareness in addition to barriers of knowledge and reading and writing national Kinh Language. High School Students are experiencing the challenge of time constraints to take part in youth-led climate projects due to heavy academic requirements and grades of the Vietnamese Education System. All these bottlenecks combined to make it more difficult to launch Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Projects in the region which is especially vulnerable to climate change impacts.
Difficulties make youths climb higher. The authors of the report brainstormed and suggested Key Accelerators to overcome the above-mentioned bottlenecks. These are
- To establish a youth network for climate action
- To build a Climate Learning Hub for Vietnamese Youths
- To Provide Scholarships for youths interested in innovation for mitigation
- To launch long-term project mentorship groups
- To organize skills training for local youth
- To recruit local youth into existing adaptation projects
- To arrange successful NBS experiential tour
- To research on youth understanding of policy
- To design and carry out a climate policy awareness campaign
- To establish Youth Climate Policy Working Group: After policy mainstreaming campaign, set up a collective of Youth Climate Working Groups based on the six sections of Vietnam's Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): (1) Energy, (2) Agriculture, (3) Land use, Land Use Change and Forestry, (4) Waste management, (5) Climate adaptation and (6) Cross-cutting issues (e.g. climate finance, gender inequality, vulnerable groups)
Today's youths own the future. They are putting great efforts on Climate Actions. Although they still lack skills and experiences, they have knowledge and awareness of Climate Change Impact on them, their community, their country, and their Earth. Youths are innovative and eager to protect their Earth. If Vietnamese Youths have more opportunities to collaborate with government, experts and policymakers, their fresh ideas and voices will have positive impacts on Vietnamese Climate Actions. Not only Vietnam, but also the same goes for other countries and their youths all over the World.