From Ideas to Action: The Young People in Vietnam Committing to Combating Climate Change climat

From idea to action: young Vietnamese people are committed to the climate
From Ideas to Action:
the Youth in Vietnam
Combating Climate Change
What does combating climate change look like? That’s what young people from all over Vietnam were asked to imagine in a photography contest organized by the country’s Youth Union, AFD, the French Embassy and the European Union delegation.

Vietnam has been hard hit by the effects of climate change, from natural catastrophes and flooding to all kinds of severe weather conditions. This is threatening the balance of its ecosystems. It may only produce 0.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but Vietnam is seeing more of the ramifications of rapid urban and industrial development. 

This year’s event is a call to action aimed at young people in particular. And it's more than a photography contest: the 125 contributions illustrated a desire to take concrete action in the fight against climate change. 

“Some groups came up with solutions especially for this occasion,” said Huong-Hue Nguyen, project manager at the AFD office in Hanoi. The photos were posted on the contest’s Facebook page, which had 2 million visits in 5 weeks, with a total of 126,000 interactions (likes, shares and comments).

Fighting forest fires, reducing plastic use, and boosting sustainable transportation and energy — here's a look at some of the winning initiatives.

Vietnam drought
Green transport transportation bikes moped
Green & Clean Transport
While pollution regularly reaches very high levels in big Vietnamese cities, Nguyễn Hữu Hiếu, a police officer in Gia Lai province, had a simple idea – to promote bicycle travel for everyday activities, replacing the motorcycles that emit large amounts of polluting gases.

For him, our practices must change: “The environment is our shared wealth. Each and every one of us has to pay more attention to our actions and their consequences for the environment. And we are all responsible for taking measures such as using bicycles for our everyday travel, in favor of an environment that is greener, cleaner and healthier.”
Fighting forest fires
Fighting Forest Fires
Across Southeast Asia, unsustainable practices such as slash-and-burn agriculture cause massive fires – a phenomenon that has been amplified by drought and climate change. Every year, several thousand hectares of forests go up in smoke in Vietnam. Between January and October this year, more than 2,600 hectares of forest were affected by fires, nearly 5 times the area burnt last year.

In response, young people in the community of Nghĩa Bình, in northern Vietnam, came up with a simple solution: building firebreaks. A Firebreak is a strip of land that has been cleared of trees, shrubs and grass, providing an area free of potential ‘fuel.’ This can slow or stop the spread of fires, and be an access area for firefighting vehicles.

“We took these photos to increase awareness about forest protection,” explained Ngan Vy, a group representative. “Nonetheless, each province has to develop its own awareness-raising actions to mobilize the population to carry out responsible actions.”
Girl Cameleon
Promoting Solar Energy
Trương Thị Minh Anh, 16, took first place on the entrance exam for Vietnam’s ENS and was the youngest participant in the competition. She had become aware of the use of solar energy through television and the internet: “Thermal energy production is a major source of CO2 emissions and of air, soil and water pollution, while solar energy limits them, but also contributes to environmental protection.” And yet, renewable energies – excluding hydroelectricity – account for only 2.4% of installed energy capacity in Vietnam.

Still, Trương Thị Minh Anh uses solar-powered lights and fans at home – imagine if everyone did? “I shared this to increase awareness among young people of the potential of natural phenomena (such as sun, wind and water). I hope this will give them ideas for exploiting these unlimited resources in their everyday lives.”
Cameleon girls group 3
Putting Plastics in the Bin
Nguyễn Vũ Thiên Phước is a schoolteacher at the Thiên Hộ Dương primary school in Ho Chi Minh City. For her, plastic pollution is a major problem: “We regularly see pictures of marine animals killed by plastic waste. We know that it takes between 10 and 100 years for plastic bags to decompose. For me, the most effective solution for the fight against plastic pollution is to avoid its use completely and to replace it with other materials such as fabrics.”

Based on this observation, she decided to start a business to design and produce objects using fabrics – covers for books and notebooks, bags. “As teachers, we have a role to play with children, showing them that there are alternatives to plastics. I hope my actions will inspire other people in the country and that this type of initiative will be multiplied!”
AFD & Young People Answering the Call to Action

For the second consecutive year, AFD is working with the Youth Union to increase climate change awareness among young people. This initiative helps the country move toward “green, resilient” development. Three lines of priority actions have been identified: energy transition, resilience in cities and the countryside, and youth.

Beyond awareness measures and calls to action, AFD supports projects for the development of skills in job-creating sectors and projects supporting socioeconomic integration for the most vulnerable young people.