“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Our Common Future (the ‘Brundtland Report’), 1987.
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has rightly called climate change ‘the defining issue of our time.’ It is running faster than we are, but we have a moral obligation to win the race for our children and grandchildren, as they will inherit from the world we built and the decisions we made.

To do so, all countries, including Viet Nam, need to establish more ambitious targets and accelerate their actions by taking a ‘whole-of-government’ and ‘whole-of-society’ approach—especially though engaging the private sector and youth—to enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in the near future and meet the Paris Agreement’s targets to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. There is only one decade left to avoid the catastrophic and irreversible impacts of climate change, which in turn would severely impact any prospects for global and national-level sustainable development.

Responding to this urgency, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) developed the Climate Promise Programme, which supports 118 countries in enhancing their NDCs and raising their climate ambitions. In 2020, UNDP Viet Nam also launched the Youth4Climate Initiative to increase youth understanding of the challenges associated with climate change in their country and build their capacity to undertake climate action.
Youth in Viet Nam represent 23% of the population and are a formidable force for positive change. They are a powerhouse for innovation and action, and some of our most effective allies to win the race against time. We are truly honoured to publish the first Special Report on Youth for Climate Action in Viet Nam, entirely co-written by a cohort of 20 outstanding youth representatives from all regions of the country. The intention of this Special Report is to capture youth voices and share their common vision with policymakers so that they can receive adequate support and increase their contributions to climate action. It outlines the challenges faced by youth in undertaking climate action, such as limited access to technology and finance and a lack of cooperation with stakeholders, and highlights the accelerators that hold the promise of unblocking these bottlenecks. It also introduces a concrete action plan towards COP26 to enhance the capacity and contributions of youth. In this Special Report, youth have also committed to implementing their roadmap to accelerate youth-led climate actions from 2021 to 2025 in Viet Nam.

Throughout this process, youth have demonstrated that they are committed to playing an active role in solving climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and speeding up adaptation efforts. They want to participate in the policymaking process, and this Special Report marks the first milestone of their contribution to national and global climate efforts. We hope that this report will contribute to bringing youth-led solutions to the forefront of the race against climate change.

Furthermore, we want to call on all of our colleagues and development partners to join hands with us in aligning our programmes and offering financial mechanisms to facilitate and advance an environment in which youth can rise to fully occupy their roles as agents of change.

Download the Special Report: Youth for Climate Action in Vietnam here

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