15.01.2013 - UNESCO Viet Nam

Climate Change, Biodiversity Conservation Initiative Expanded to Red River Delta

15 January, Red River Delta Biosphere Reserve – This morning, a kick-off meeting was held in Red River Delta Biosphere Reserve, Nam Dinh Province, to formally launch the third phase of the Viet Nam component of the Asia-Pacific Biosphere Reserves for Environmental and Economic Security (BREES) initiative.

The ceremony was attended by local teachers, school principals and Community Learning Centre facilitators, as well as representatives of Nam Dinh Provincial People’s Committee, Giao Thuy District Department of Education and Training and District People’s Committee, the Red River Delta Biosphere Reserve Management Board, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), the Viet Nam Man and Biosphere Programme National Committee (MAB) and UNESCO Viet Nam.

The programme is part of the MOET-UNESCO work plan for 2013 and is being implemented in coordination with the MOET Departments of Teachers and Educational Administrators; Science, Technology and Environment; and Continuing Education, all three represented at the meeting.

BREES, a long-term (7+ years) climate change and poverty alleviation programme in the Asia-Pacific Region, is a regional flagship programme of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Science in Jakarta. Previous phases of BREES have been carried out in Indonesia, Philippines, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam.

This phase of Viet Nam’s BREES activities includes a teacher training programme to build teacher capacities to enhance students’ knowledge on key sustainability challenges, and an initiative that will take Education for Sustainable Development into informal and non-formal education through awareness raising sessions on climate change and biodiversity issues in Community Learning Centres (CLCs) for parents and local community members.

The experience will contribute to MOET’s curriculum reform by showcasing best practices of behavioural change in students through the implementation of practical projects that involve awareness raising and that are in line with actions identified by the community as priorities.

Opening the kick-off meeting, Dr. Nguyen Hoang Tri, MAB Secretary-General, presented on results achieved through the previous BREES phase, implemented in Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve. The Youth Awards initiatives resulted in: planting over 1,200 m2 of mangroves; beekeeping for honey production; waste recycling; planting of trees and awareness raising of the endangered langur species.

Nguyen Viet Hung, Vice Chairman of Nam Dinh Provincial People’s Committee highlighted the importance for biodiversity conservation and sustainability initiatives and commended the approach of BREES, especially in education, to raise awareness from a young age, leading to good behavior in the future. He called for the local Department of Education and Training to support project activities for their successful implementation.

In her remarks, Katherine Muller-Marin, UNESCO Representative to Viet Nam, emphasized: “This project will have benefits far beyond Nam Dinh Province and the Red River Delta. It will provide inputs for national policy level, especially contributing to Viet Nam’s curriculum reform, and will be shared as an example within the ASEAN community. The results of this project will also be a concrete contribution towards the production of open license e-learning courses that UNESCO and the Ministry are working on for teacher training on biodiversity conservation and climate change which will be made available to all teachers in Viet Nam”.

Local authorities and UNESCO representatives visited all participating schools to meet with students, teachers and principals.

For more information, contact Pham Lan Anh, Programme Officer at UNESCO Viet Nam, pl.anh(at)unesco.org.

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