Animation on youth-led climate action shown at COP28

A powerful animation co-created by youth and researchers from Loughborough, Hull, Newcastle, and Vietnam National University, is currently being shown at COP28 in Dubai. 

Chantarapeach Ut being interviewed at COY18

Youth climate champion Chantarapeach (Peach) Ut is currently at COP28 in Dubai.

The film, titled ‘River of Hope’, follows ‘Sa’, a storytelling kingfisher, who takes the viewer along Vietnam's Red River and shares the story of how youth have come together to tackle floods in communities along the river. 

Vietnam is regarded as one of the most at risk countries from the climate crisis, with the Red River catchment in Northern Vietnam one of the most “at risk” catchments globally.  

The River of Hope film highlights the work of the British Academy’s Youth Futures project “Youth-led Adaption to Climate Change Challenges” (YACC) which worked with youth from the national Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union organisation in three provinces of the Red River Catchment in Northern Vietnam looking at hydrological extremes linked to climate change. 

The project champions the role of creativity, storytelling and emotion in supporting climate action, and emphasises the important role youth play in responding to climate challenges.  

The film – one of several examples of creative story-telling about climate change - has already been shown at workshops across Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia to engage key youth and policy stakeholders in a dialogue about how similar approaches employed in the project can further strengthen climate-focused policy and practices in Southeast Asia. 

This work has been undertaken by the ‘Advancing Policy and Practice on Climate Action in SouthEast Asia (APPOCA) project, which was set up to take forward the impact from YACC.  

Supported under the British Academy’s Maximising Impact scheme, the project aims to encourage youth- and climate-focused policy-makers and practitioners to engage with approaches involving community-focused, intergenerational knowledge exchange.  

The project has enabled a young person from Cambodia to travel and attend COP28 to promote the film and the project.  

Chantarapeach (Peach) Ut - a youth climate champion who works at Impact Hub Phnom Penh, a youth-led organisation who have partnered with the APPOCA – is currently at COP28 in Dubai to present the research and advocate for the importance of story-telling in relation to climate change. 

Alongside the film, Peach was directly involved with the first Local Conference of Youth in Cambodia, and is presenting the important outcomes from the event at COP28 on behalf of youth in Cambodia. It follows the film being shared at COY 18, the UN’s 18th Climate Change Conference of Youth, a pre-event to COP28. 

Katie Parsons, a Research Fellow in Loughborough’s department of Geography and Environment, and co-researcher on the project, said: "Children, young people and youth must be at the forefront in policy making for climate adaptation. Not only will they inherit the consequences of our actions, but they also embody the transformative energy and creativity needed to navigate the challenges ahead. Their perspectives, innovations and skills are essential ingredients for crafting sustainable solutions into the future. 

“By facilitating the empowerment of children, young people and youth - as policy leaders - we not only secure a more resilient future but also ensure that decisions made today are informed by the voices and aspirations of those that will inherit the planet tomorrow." 

Professor Dan Parsons, an investigator on the project and Loughborough’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation said: "Tackling climate change needs researchers to come together across disciplinary boundaries and work with communities in their locations to best address these impacts and challenges. Working with the youth has led to a very powerful animation that tells their story about how climate change is impacting lives and livelihoods within the Red River Catchment, and how these changes will evolve into imagined futures. I am thrilled to see this work showcased at COP28 and how this youth-led project is surfacing their community’s story to a global audience.” 

To find out more about the research, please refer to the following research paper published last week in the British Academy Journal: Conversations on grief and hope: a collaborative autoethnographic account exploring the lifeworlds of international youth engaged with climate action.