Flood and high tide destroy road in Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta Region. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Trí
HÀ NỘI — Making every religious person aware of the importance of environmental protection and efforts to curb climate change was identified as the first priority of a programme jointly organised by 14 religions throughout the country.
The programme, which is also hosted by the Việt Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, kicked off as Việt Nam faces numerous challenges related to environment issues, including pollution and climate change.
The country is also among five countries suffering the most from climate change, with an average loss of US$1.9 billion each year, accounting for 1.3 per cent of GDP.
The programme aims for about 80 per cent of religious people in the country to actively take part in environmental protection efforts by 2020.
The meeting, held yesterday in Hà Nội, discussed ways to effectively run the five-year programme.
Pastor Nguyễn Khắc Quế, archbishop of Hà Nội, said, “The most significant thing is pointing out what to do and then set up a detailed plan for implementation.”
“We better target small goals that every religious person can do instead of big goals that are hard to reach," Quế said.
For example, every religious person should be asked to clean up roads around their houses one hour before Mass in churches each week, he said.
It was necessary to put more trash bins and build more toilets around churches to keep the environment clean and green, he said.
“I think they are small things, but make big effects on the environment,” he said.
Nguyễn Ngọc Trác, from the Tứ Ân Hiếu Nghĩa religion in the Mekong Delta’s An Giang Province, said several projects to raise public awareness among religious people of environmental protection and climate change adaptation had been held at provincial levels.
The programme steering committee was advised to conduct surveys to assess the effectiveness of these trial models across the country, draw experiences and establish suitable models for each province or city nationwide going forward, he said.
Speaking at the meeting, the Việt Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee chairman Nguyễn Thiện Nhân, said the programme would only be successful if people realised the benefits of environmental protection. So, raising awareness of environmental protection was very significant, he said.
Nhân also said each religion should show its detailed plan to implement the programme by the end of this year.
Eivind Archer, Country Representative in Việt Nam for Norwegian Church Aid, said 2015 was a serious year for Việt Nam from an environmental perspective due to the drought and saltwater intrusion in the south. Faced with this situation, mobilising and using the strengths of religious actors was very important, Archer said.
They could mobilise a lot of people, and followers of religious groups could complement State actions in a positive way, he said. — VNS