Speaking notes for Jesper Moller, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Viet Nam



Date: 21 August 2014
Event: Workshop on Roll-out Implementation of Communication and Awareness Raising related to Climate Change Adaptation and Prevention of Natural Disasters in School

First of all, I am very pleased to join the Ministry of Education and Training again today in welcoming all of you participating at the two sites National University and Vinh University. I would like to extend warmest congratulations to MOET on the roll-out implementation of the MOET approved Project on Communication and Awareness Raising on Climate Change Adaptation and Prevention of Natural Disasters. While I am happy to speak on behalf of UNICEF, at the same time I am doing so on behalf of our co-lead agency Save the Children and development partners with whom we work so closely through the Coordination Group on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Climate Change.

With the strong Disaster Risk Management agenda in Viet Nam, it is critically important to have a strong education sector response. We are happy to see over the last years the Ministry of Education and Training under strong leadership of Vice Minister Quy and now Vice Minister Hung has stepped up with foundational responses around strategic planning and particularly institutional capacity development with a strengthened MOET Steering Committee, the MOET led education cluster coordination mechanism, and on-going operationalization of the MOET Action Plan for Disaster Risk Management, all in solid alignment with the recently approved Law on Prevention of Natural Disasters, national priorities and national programmes such as the Community based Disaster Risk Management Programme (CBDRM) as per Decision 1002.

This year has marked special milestones related to Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change in education. This is the third important event I have the honour to participate with the MOET related to DRR and Climate Change (I am sure there have been many more). The last two were on the curriculum framework which I believe represented major foundational steps to introduce DRR and CC knowledge and skills to children through the education system. This time as we discuss communication and awareness raising, UNICEF sees this as a great connection and complementarity with other important work led by the Ministry of Education and Training for example, curriculum development, assessment and management system prior to, during and after disasters which is under way with lots of momentum, as well as the safe school framework which is being initiated.

I would like to mention 3 proposals to the provinces, as you proceed with the implementation of this approved project, and MOET in its guidance and oversight:

(1) ensure synergy with work around curriculum, safe school to leverage impact for children, bringing it all within the holistic provincial Action Plan which many of your provinces have developed to implement MOET Action Plan. At the same time please enhance linkages with other initiatives under way in your provinces through the national CBDRM/1002 programme, and other donor-supported programmes.

(2) on communication messages, I have been a lot discussions around prevention of natural disasters, to align with the semantics of the Law on Prevention of Natural Disasters, I would like to suggest as you unpack this work please expand the messages to capture broader and related concepts such as risks and hazards, vulnerability, risk reduction and resilience building. This is crucial to ensure children and young people are well equipped with the right and adequate knowledge and skills through your communication work. This well aligns with international definitions and practices. At the same time, it is very important to remind ourselves that children and young people are not just to be protected but are change agents who engage with peers and others and lead in disaster risk reduction efforts, and modelling climate smart and environmentally friendly behaviours.

(3) on communication methodologies, there is a unique opportunity to be innovative and please maximise innovation, even going for unprecedented and ground breaking methods to enrich DRR and CC education, maybe methods that are not yet used in the lesson plans in curriculum but may be appropriate for school-wide, outside of class activities, and communication activities engaging parents. Many of these methodologies will maximise children's engagement and their roles in driving change and in finding solutions for climate change adaptation.

With the broad range of partners here with very rich experience and expertise, I strong believe we can all contribute to this exciting communication work particularly in shaping communication messages and methods. So we are at your call!

UNICEF believes in the critical importance of disaster risk reduction and climate change education, in enhancing the education sector's preparedness, timely and quality response to impact of disasters, emergencies, and climate change. This is to ensure the child's rights to safety, education and development is fully realised. Such commitment includes ensuring (1) children, teachers and schools are best equipped and prepared for emergencies and disasters, (2) education is least disrupted in times of emergencies, and (3) quality schooling is maintained, including for children affected by disasters and climate change. At the same time, we believe in children's participation in creating a safety culture and their leadership to take actions, not just for the present but also for the future development of the country.

UNICEF is proud to work with the Ministry of Education and Training, Save the Children, our sister UN agencies, and all development partners to contribute to the education sector response to disasters and climate change, which we firmly believe is part and parcel to the sector's pursuit of quality education for all children in Viet Nam, to meet national and international commitments such as the National Goal for Education for All, the Millennium Development Goal for education, the goals set out in the Education Development Strategy till 2020.

Lastly, many special thanks to Vice Minister Hung for his strong leadership for this important work on DRM and CC, and the MOET, National University and Vinh University for organising this important event. I wish for great success for the workshop and look forward to continued partnerships with all of you.