As the whole world was paying attention to single moves and progresses at Rio+20 Earth Summit (United Nation Conference on Sustainable Development) in Brazil, over 75 Vietnamese youth joined together in the seminar “Protection or Destruction – Biodiversity and challenges in a Changing Climate” held in Hanoi on Saturday, 23rd June 2012. The event was one in a series of RLS’s small office events to promote awareness and action among youth on the topics of climate change and sustainable development. It was hosted by RLS in Hanoi with support from the Vietnam Green Generation Network and Centre of Live & Learn for Environment and Community.
In Vietnam, the loss of biodiversity is increasing at a faster pace than ever. Rapid changing climate has caused forest, plant and animal boundaries to change. Wildlife has been forced to alter their breeding and habitation patterns in order to survive. Deforestation and rampant illegal trade of wildlife animals are exacerbating the situation. Vietnam is among top 16 countries in the world with diverse ecosystems but now facing very low tree canopy coverage per capita and a growing extinction rate of wildlife animals.
Ms. Nadja Charaby, Country Represenative of Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, opened the event with a welcome note mentioning the importance of the topic and the need for an exchange between young environmentalists and senior experts and decision-makers. With a view to improving youth’s awareness on this issue, Professor Nguyen Lan Dung, General Secretary of the Viet Nam Microbiology Association, a leading expert in biology was invited to share his opinions with the young audience. His profound knowledge and appealing story-telling manner gave the participants a clear picture of biodiversity and climate change in Vietnam. He placed a strong emphasis on the role of the government in improving the situation and inspired young people to take practical actions like stop eating wild animal meat and protect the environment. As a follow-up to his presentation, information on the youth movement to save wildlife animals in Vietnam was shared and discussed by Ms. Ha Quynh Nga – Coordinator of the Vietnam Green Generation Network. According to her, young people have various options to contribute to stop biodiversity loss. Through peer-to-peer education, joining volunteer network or using social media, youth can make a difference in their own localities; even can create positive impacts on larger communities.