The Malaysian Youth Delegation hosted the annual Retreat at EPIC Collective over the weekend of the 28th and 29th April 2018. New members were asked to reflect the activities they took part in, what they learned along the way, and what they took away from the experience. Here’s what our new members had to say:

Liyana binti Yamin

By Liyana binti Yamin

The moment I saw the advert “Be part of Climate Change and UNFCCC COP24 policy Negotiation” at #PowerShiftMsia website, I told myself – I need to apply this! I’ve been listening to the climate change mantra ever since I was in high school and to be part of the process and negotiation? People with an interest in climate change would never miss this opportunity. Being selected to join MYD, I was more than eager and excited to join the retreat. I got lost on my first day to the retreat despite having Waze, but that did not stop my enthusiasm to be there. I literally was on every street in the area before I finally reached the destination. At the venue, I was welcomed with smiles and laughter of like-minded people. We chatted and I was overwhelmed with the passion expressed by everyone. The first day of the retreat was ignited with an interesting ice-breaking session. It continued with an introduction to UNFCCC, the youth’s role in UNFCCC, and how developed and developing nations struggle in climate negotiations.

It amazes me that the more I learn, the more I actually do not know. From the history of UNFCCC, what global south and global north countries are, to Malaysia’s position in negotiating on climate change policy, it helped us understand the world climate agreement at the United Nations platform. It shocked me that prior to the 24th Conference of Parties (COP24), there is so much we need to equip ourselves with. Sufficient knowledge is a must and we need to be exposed with a series of policy reading and understanding sessions that will be carried out for 6 months so we know the real issues we will be exposed to at COP. Different countries have different missions at COP. This is why we must not take things lightly and commit in taking up the responsibility to represent our country’s mission.

The two team building missions where we are supposed to make a sturdy house that is climate change resistant and discuss the toilet agreement definitely brought everyone’s creativity on the table. Forming two different groups showed that wherever you place like-minded people, we can positively make a great group. For the first mission, it was interesting how everyone managed to make a sturdy house and overcome the resistant made by Azam. Then, during the toilet agreement, I started to know a part of myself. Being surrounded by people who can actually talk and raise the issue, I became a listener instead and supported my group. Knowing that there are times that we should also listen and be actively supporting what is right, the toilet agreement enhanced my knowledge on how the negotiations normally happens. It certainly scared the crap out of me thinking if I am able to face if it is the real situation. It was a great exposure to me personally.

Not to forget, watching “Before the flood” for the second time makes me feel remorseful reflecting on how much damage human beings have done. I even started thinking if becoming vegan could be part of the change I want to see to combat climate change. The overall retreat was able to transform my personal thinking and I believe each one of us could stop climate change provided we are motivated to take on bold decisions. Be inspired with MYD pasts achievements and let us all board the ship together to make a change. We can!