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A just transition fuelled and led by young people in Vietnam

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and environmental non-profit Live & Learn initiate Green Youth Labs: a training and mentoring programme for innovation and a socially equitable energy transition in Vietnam.

After 10 webinars, the participants from Southern and Central Vietnam are happy to meet each other for the field trip in Ho Chi Minh City. | © FES Vietnam

Young people in Vietnam have developed an increasing awareness of climate change due to the country’s high vulnerability to its impacts. Yet, they are often excluded from the political decision-making processes and lack the necessary experience, expertise, or institutional support to implement their ideas about how to advance the energy transition.

To harness their creative potential to develop innovative low-carbon model projects and introduce them as future leaders to a low-carbon transformation of society, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Climate and Energy Project in Asia, together with Live & Learn, has kicked off their newest project: Green Youth Labs.

A Green Youth Labs participant got a trial ride on Dat Bike, the Vietnam’s first domestic electric motorbike | © FES Vietnam

Enabling the climate ambassadors of tomorrow

An online survey with 254 people aged 18 to 30 conducted in the run-up to the launch of the programme shows that although the majority of young people view energy transition as necessary (88%) and are interested in this issue (78%), fewer respondents think that they play an important role in this process (58%).

The project, funded by the German government’s International Climate Initiative (IKI), includes training programmes and field trips to support youth and young professionals in becoming “climate ambassadors” who advocate for low-carbon production and climate-friendly use of energy in their community. Titled “The story of energy – seems far yet so close” the first training showed that energy transition – a seemingly “far” and unfamiliar concept for the youth – has direct impacts on the youth and hits “close” to home. The training brought 155 participants from 25 provinces on board the just energy transition in Vietnam.

Green Youth Labs participants got a tour at a certified green school in Hanoi | © FES Vietnam
Showcase of youth initiatives at Energy Transition Fair at Goethe-Institut Hanoi | © FES Vietnam

Through 10 online training sessions and field trips in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the participants gained knowledge about energy issues as well as energy transition solutions. They worked in teams throughout the training to access and analyse information and improved their critical thinking and presentation skills. The teams planned and hosted the final wrap-up session with the help of the Organization Committee. This interactive approach allowed the participants to directly apply equipped knowledge and skills and increase their ownership and build close bonds with their peers.

“I like sharing and debate sessions the most”, said Tam, a 20-year-old student from Ho Chi Minh City. “I thought energy transition was not feasible for me, but now I know it entails specific actions and solutions that everyone can do. This is also my first time engaging in a debate, and it challenged me at the outset when I had to collect the necessary information to formulate logical arguments. Thanks to that, I developed many soft skills such as teamwork, debate, and much helpful information about energy.”

Developing innovative low-carbon model projects

Following the training, the Youth Innovation Challenge was launched, where outstanding ideas from 13 provinces and cities nationwide were presented to the Hanoi public in Energy Transition Fair and competed to receive technical and financial grants to convert their ideas into reality. The jury, consisting of energy experts, youth networks, and media, selected 10 innovative ideas that will be implemented from 2022 to 2023. From an eco-poetry contest to an algae-based wastewater treatment system using solar panels, the diversity and the scope of youth initiatives demonstrate the energy and creativity of the youth in finding the solutions to Vietnam’s energy dilemma.

The winners of 2022 Youth Innovation Challenge organized by Green Youth Labs | © FES Vietnam

Vietnam is experiencing high economic growth rates, combined with a rapidly growing energy demand. But although the expansion of renewable energies (solar, wind) is gaining momentum, fossil fuel still accounts for 43 per cent in the country’s power mix. To advance the energy transition, increased awareness and sensitization about the overall benefits of fossil-free energy and mobility concepts are necessary. In the upcoming years, FES will continue to strengthen youth initiatives and connect them with government representatives, experts, and global youth leaders.

For further information, please visit: Green Youth Labs in Viet Nam 

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In charge of this newsletter:
Daniel Herrmann,
IKI Interface Vietnam
GIZ Office Vietnam
Project “Support to Vietnam for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement”

Editor: Tran Xuan Quynh

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The IKI Vietnam Newsletter is administered by the IKI interface in Vietnam hosted by GIZ. It informs regularly about news of climate change and biodiversity projects in Vietnam financed by the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The International Climate Initiative (IKI) is an important part of the German government’s international climate finance commitment. Since 2022 the IKI is implemented by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) in close cooperation with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) and the Federal Foreign Office (AA).

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