Zero Waste Laos, with the support of the European Union to Laos (EU), and other partners, organized a campaign workshop on “Youth Action in Climate Change Laos” on Saturday.
The event was held at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Vientiane Capital, with the opening ceremony co-chaired by Mr. Alounxai Sounnalath, Secretary-General of the Central Committee of the Lao Youth Union, Mr. Phouvong Luangxaysana, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Ms. Ina Marciulionyte, the EU Ambassador to Laos.
The event was attended by more than 200 people from various sectors, including the government, the private sector, international organizations, embassies, and youth volunteers. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only 20 people were able to physically attend while some 180 people attended via video conferencing.
The campaign commenced in June, culminating with the final workshop, aiming to raise awareness on the impact of climate change impacts and solutions for strengthening the engagement and capacities of youth on climate change in Laos.
This is aimed at enhancing the technical capabilities of society, youth, and other actors to support national efforts to address the current situation in Laos. The key activities of the event were the Case Challenge of Climate Change, Drawing Contest Exhibition, Climate Quest, Breakout session, and Climate Talks.
Mr. Alounxai Sounnalath, Secretary-General of the Central Committee of the Lao Youth Union, said “Some sixty percent of the population of Laos is made up of young people. Thus, the future of our country is in their hands, and we need to support and build their capacity to be ready for national development. Involving them in solving environmental issues both in urban and remote areas is of vital importance. Creating youth networks is a key driver to strengthening and enacting change.”
Mr. Phouvong Luangxaysana, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said “Laos is a country among few least developing countries has set an ambitious goal of Net Zero Emissions. The government of Laos has involved all stakeholders including partners, private sector to build low carbon and climate resilience. It is up to young people as the next generation to step up and take the lead in fighting against climate change in our country and internationally. I believe that Zero Waste Laos and other groups of young people are able to solve environmental issues, and this group of young people is able to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Ina Marciulionyte, EU Ambassador to Laos, mentioned that young people are important change-makers and essential partners in the implementation of the European Consensus on Development, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
“We recognize their creative and innovative potentials and abilities. This is also in line with the Lao Government highlighting the importance of youth in its 9th NSEDP (2021-2025), stating that the young population is one of the key drivers of the next 5-year development in Laos,” she said.
Finally, Ms. Souksaveuy Keotiamchanh, Founder Zero Waste Laos, said: “Climate change has impacted our country, as we can clearly see by the increasing number of natural disasters. Young people need to be aware, take action, and be ready to adapt to climate change. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? We do not have much time left and we do not want to see the next generation become the victims of our inaction.”
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