Award ceremony for the Innovative Communications Solutions to Reduce the Impact of Climate Change and Increase Resilience to Disasters

Opening remarks of Ms. Ramla Al Khalidi, UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam

October 14, 2022

Mr. Nguyễn Văn Tiến, Deputy Director General of the Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority (VNDMA)

Mr. Triệu Văn Lực, Director of Forest Development Department, the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST)

Representatives from ministries, provinces, mass organisations, academia, media agencies, and development partners;

Youth and students,

Ladies and gentlemen,

A very good morning and xin chao!
It is my honour to join VNDMA, VNFOREST and Thuy Loi University in welcoming you today as we celebrate the winners of the Competition on Innovative Communication Solutions to Reduce the Impact of Climate Change and Increase Resilience to Disasters. Thank you for taking the time to be with us this morning.

Viet Nam, as we have been reminded by our close call with Super Typhoon Noru, is a disaster-prone country which is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. As it continues on its development journey in the context of the growing global climate crisis, it is facing ever more complex and interconnected disaster risks.

It is critical that we all understand what these risks are and how to handle them. The government of Viet Nam and the development community have been proactive in their communication activities surrounding the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events.

It is just as important, however, to give you, this country’s youth, the opportunity to raise awareness among your peers and the public in general about the messages you believe most deserve to be shared.

As we have seen in the recent mid-term review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction for Viet Nam, where UNDP provided the chief technical support role to the government, public awareness and understanding of risks in Viet Nam has significantly improved over the last decade. This is excellent to see – and yet we cannot forget that, as the risks grow, so must we. We need to continue to improve.
Distinguished guests,

This competition has focused on innovative risk communication and calls for action from university students to mitigate the impacts of climate change, increase resilience to disasters, and highlight best practices and successful models in this field.

I am proud to say that we received more than 400 submissions from bright young students at 43 universities in 34 provinces. Together, these have highlighted a wide range of best practices and successful models of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction that are being implemented across the country, and they all call on the community to proactively engage in action for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

I am also very happy to know that these submissions were used to convey key messages on disaster risk reduction and emergency response to vulnerable households in central Viet Nam. They worked very well when Super Typhoon Noru approached Viet Nam only a few weeks ago!

On this occasion, I would like to share some further thoughts:

  1. Reducing disaster risk and responding to climate change requires effort from all ministries, sectors, local agencies, businesses, individuals, and communities. In the process, our youth play an essential role. Every action, even the smallest, has the potential to have an immense impact.
  2. UNDP will continue to work with MARD and others to introduce new creative initiatives that can attract the mass participation of youth and university students, and generate momentum for them to respond to climate change as part of their self-awareness and lifestyle.
  3. To all youth in general, and especially to those present today: be bold, and be creative. The steps you take today will impact your life and the lives of those around you as you grow up. You are best placed to reach your families, your friends, and your peers, and when you share your knowledge with them, the whole community benefits. Be part of the change!

In closing, I would like to offer my sincerest congratulations to the winners that we will be presenting awards to this morning – well done to you all. UNDP is committed to building youth capacity, amplifying your voices, and supporting you to participate dealing with the biggest challenge of our time and in the transition to a greener and more resilient future.
We look forward to working with you all to build that future.

Thank you, xin cảm ơn!