Peking: The China-Vanuatu Youth Dialogue under the theme of “Youth Contribution to China-Vanuatu Friendship and Addressing Climate Change” was held on May 12 with the participation of officials and youth representatives from the two countries. Teachers and students from the School of International Studies at Peking University were invited to attend as members of the Chinese delegation.
The participants discussed China-Vanuatu relations and issues related to climate change, focusing on the role of youngsters in tackling challenges associated with global climate change.
Zhang Haibin, vice dean of PKU School of International Studies, stressed the importance of promoting China-Vanuatu relations and initiating global responses to combat climate change. He hopes that this dialogue will serve as a platform for the exchanges of ideas between the young people from China and Vanuatu.
Zhou Haicheng, Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu, stated the historic significance of holding a bilateral dialogue between the youth of China and Vanuatu for the first time and highlighted China’s determination of fighting climate change in cooperation with Vanuatu and other Pacific Island nations. Zhou emphasized the role of the youth in shouldering the responsibility of sustaining China-Vanuatu friendship and cooperation, and he hopes that this dialogue will enhance mutual understanding and friendship.
Jiang Jiang, vice president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, pointed out the danger of climate change and he hopes that the youth from the two countries can take this dialogue as a starting point to participate in more cooperation and in-depth exchanges in the future.
Henry Vira, director-general of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development in Vanuatu, brought to attention the adverse effects of climate change on people’s lives and the obstruction it causes to small island developing states. He suggested that the youth should place emphasis on coming up with solutions to help the community affected by climate change, such as how to construct infrastructure that can withstand hurricanes and how to strengthen education concerning climate change for sustainable development.
Esline Garaebiti, director-general of Vanuatu’s Ministry of Climate Change, specified the impact of climate change on Vanuatu and the measures taken by the government.
Next, the youth representatives of the two countries shared their thoughts. This was chaired by Lai Huaxia, assistant professor from PKU School of International Studies.
Ouyang Ruize, a master student from PKU School of International Studies, said youngsters from both sides and the rest of the world bear the responsibility of coping with climate change. He proposed that the younger generation can make contributions in the following three aspects: promoting theoretical progress through scientific research, influencing others through innovative ideas and promoting social transformation through practical actions.
Qiu Jingning, an undergraduate from PKU School of International Studies, reviewed the actions of Chinese youth in fighting climate change. She also pointed out that the open and inclusive campus environment, relevant platforms and international communication channels have provided opportunities to allow young people to turn their ideas into actions.
Luo Zhaoru, also an undergraduate from PKU School of International Studies, urged the youth in both countries to play their due role in global environmental governance and climate actions starting from the small things around them.
The youth representatives unanimously agreed that both China and Vanuatu are now suffering from the adverse impact of climate change. The international community needs to muster unprecedented ambition and actions to work together towards a harmonious community of life for both human and nature.
After intensive discussions, the youth representatives from both sides agreed to express their concerns by writing a letter to the upcoming 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled to take place in November 2021. They agreed to make an appeal to the world community to embrace multilateralism, commit to green development, uphold the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, stick to protecting the health, the integrity and the sustainability of ocean and promote the active role of youth groups.