UN Day 2022: Seminar on Climate Action and Sustainable Development Goals
24 October 2022
Vientiane, 24 October 2022 –On the occasion of and to commemorate the 77th United Nations Day 2022, UN in Lao PDR, together with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, UK embassy in Lao PDR, WWF Laos and the Mekong River Commission, jointly organized a seminar under the environmental theme at Phonesavanh – the School for Gifted and Ethnic Students.
The seminar aimed to raise awareness for the high school students and public on the triple planetary crisis and the urgency of climate action. It also offered an opportunity for the young people to raise their concerns and propose initiatives to address the triple planetary crisis. The event was attended by UN Country Team members, led by Ms. Sara Sekkenes, UN Resident Coordinator in Lao PDR; Ambassador John Pearson, UK Ambassador to Lao PDR; Mr. Loris Palentini, WWF Country Director; Dr. Kongmeng Ly, specialist from the Mekong River Commission; representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Natural Resources and Environment; the Faculty of Environmental Science, National University of Laos; and over 100 students from the School for Gifted and Ethnic Students as well as participants joining online.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Khamphouth Phommasone, Director of the School for Gifted and Ethnic Students, highly appreciated the strong acknowledgement by the UN of the important role of the youth to act on climate change. He said:
“We share your views on the powerful connection between education and climate change. We strongly believe that climate change education will significantly help students develop a strong personal connection to climate solutions and as a result, an increased sense of responsibility to adapt their daily behaviours to reduce the negative impacts of climate change.”
On the same note, Ms. Sara Sekkenes, UN Resident Coordinator in Lao PDR, stated in her opening remarks that:
“This year, at the recent 77th General Assembly of the United Nations, Secretary General António Guterres reminded us of a world teeming with turmoil, with a war among nations and nations waging war with nature and the planet upon which we all depend.” She further added that: “What better then, to discuss “the defining issues of our time”, at the opportunity of the United Nations Day and the many dimensions of the Triple Planetary Crisis, and learn together with the faculty members and students of the National University of Laos and its School for Gifted and Ethnic Students, what we can do individually and collectively to turn the tide.”
The main session of the event began with a panel discussion on the “Triple Planetary Crisis”, moderated by Ms. Sara Sekkenes, UN Resident Coordinator in Lao PDR on various issues. The panelists members included H.E. John Pearson, UK ambassador to Lao PDR, who discussed on the importance of addressing Climate Change impacts; Mr. Loris Palentini, WWF-Laos Country Director, sharing the importance of protecting biodiversity and promoting community engagement; and Dr. Kongmeng Ly, a specialist from the Mekong River Commission, talking about water resource management and the impact of water pollution. The afterwards session was followed by a presentation by Mr. Vantthone Phonnasane, Deputy Director of Division, Department of Climate Change, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, who shared about Climate Resilience and Laos’ Preparation for COP27.
The participants were enthusiastic to have an excellent opportunity to learn new knowledge on climate resilience, and to have direct intervention and discussion with the panelists throughout the event. Ms. Thipphaphone Vilaysouk, a student from Phonesavanh-the School of Gifted and Ethnic Students who joined the event, said:
“I felt so glad to attend this seminar and learn more about the crucial environmental issues occurring on our planet. This event is useful for us to understand more on the environmental issues as well as its resolutions. I hope there will be more events like this in the schools, institutions, and other places in near future so that everyone in the community can be more aware of these issues.”