A group of 20 delegates from the Indo-Pacific and Southeast Asian region gathered in Taipei from the 11th to 13th of July 2018, as they were set out for learning their negotiating skills learning in Taiwan. Prior to the event, we were warned for the typhoon weather, nevertheless, a majority of the delegates who arrived on the 10th and 11th of July touched down safely. I personally, on the other hand, faced a rollercoaster ride due to turbulence before landing. Eric Zhou’s song managed to soothe my journey to Taiwan.
As I reached the arrival gate, I saw a paper with my name on held by a guy. He greeted and brought me to the car and I entered the driver’s seat, not knowing that Taiwan drives on the left side – the driver then suggested me to simply sit at the back. On our way to the hotel, I observed cityscape and it was a well-structured, clean, and a modern city.
During the latter part of the day, we were welcomed by the committees for dinner in the hotel. Served with assorted dishes, we were given time to mingle around with other delegates. Interestingly, all the delegates encompassed of graduates and professionals working in governments and private industries having the common interest of climate change. We were given a highlight on the seminar theme and what to prepare for the next day.
The next day comprised of three consecutive seminars on indigenous people and local communities given by Mr. Carlos Fuller, Former Chair, Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); Dr. Ian Fry, Ambassador for Climate Change and Environment, Government of Tuvalu & Lecturer, Australian National University; and Dr. Chien-Te Fan (范建得), Professor, National Tsing Hua University focusing on Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples in the UNFCCC Process; A Negotiator’s Understanding of the Complications for Indigenous Peoples’ Engagement in The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; Indigenous People’s traditional knowledge and climate change-Taiwan’s Perspective respectively.
After a hefty knowledge input by the three amazing speakers, we were headed to a nearby Taiwanese restaurant for dinner. Provided with traditional “bizarre” delicacies like stinky tofu, black chicken, and crunchy salads, I definitely had an exceptional time admiring the dishes. Following the dinner, we had a short group discussion (which was assigned prior to reaching Taiwan) to have an agreement for the plenary statement to be presented the next day. Soon after, I managed to hop on a bus with two of my Philippine delegates to Raohe St. Night Market where we sightseeing the feast Taiwan have.
On the final day of the seminar, a round table for group plenary statement was outset. With made up group names like Little Island Developing States (LIDS), Latin Amnesia Group (LAG), Loosely Aligned Developed Countries (LADC), 4 Kingdoms, AcIrfa Alliance of Nations (AAN), Non-Aligned Group, and G Force, all delegates have one representative to say out their agreed plenary statement. I was lucky to represent Malaysia, United Province of Amnesia as part of LADC to give the statement. Amusingly, this setting was made very much alike to Conference of Parties (COP). As a novice COP person, I was learning so much from preparing and rendering the statement to all. After everyone gave their respective group statements, the round table was put to a halt so the chairman could come to a common wording of the agreement. At the same time, all countries were to discuss the statement and see if the can negotiate with other groups’ requirements. Finally, the chairman will come to discuss the final statement reading every out word until all group agreed to the statement. If everyone agreed, the statement could be finalised, or else in some cases, the discussion would be postponed as what we witnessed in the recurring COP.
The seminar wrapped up with a closing ceremony by the assistant director-general with a group photo. We were then brought to Taipei 101 for a field visit and lunch at the famous Din Tai Fung. Right after the field trip, I was able to join the Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition (TWYCC) for dinner nearby National Taiwan University. I also shared my MYD experience and received inputs from their own preparations and activities. To sum up the Taiwan trip:
1. We work as one.
Working on an agreement with other countries requires give-and-take thus to achieve a collective decision.
2. Everyone has a say.
In this context, indigenous people and local communities were discussed. Inevitably, they play an important role to combat climate change.
3. Dilemma on protecting the indigenous people VS creating a solution
Sometimes when we think that we are producing clean energy, we are actually destroying the indigenous people’s land.
This trip has enhanced my knowledge on negotiating skills in UNFCCC process particularly on indigenous people and local communities comprehensively. I am thankful to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan for choosing me to be part of the delegates. Also to Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) for shortlisting me as part of the final candidate to represent MYD for this seminar.
Written by Liyana binti Yamin
Edited by Varun
The Indo-Pacific and Southeast Asia Seminar on Climate Change was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Taiwan and coordinated by National Tsing Hua University. Malaysia Youth Delegation (MYD) was honoured to be invited and hosted by the generosity of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia.
MYD is organising a UNMC Post COP23 Sharing Session in conjunction with Sustainability Week. This event is parallel with Sustainability goals which is to educate and inform the public on the importance of protecting Mother Earth. In addition, the MYD Post COP23 Sharing Session aims to educate the public on what has occurred during COP23 in Bonn, Germany and to entice UNMC youths to be part of MYD and help our cause.
The speakers will be Lhavanya and Syaqil Suhaimi who is an MYD member studying in UNMC. They have went to Bonn, Germany to attend COP23. The event is free of charge and will be situated inside the Natural History Museum in UNMC (H1B04).
This event is open to everyone so do come!
Date: 27th March 2018 (Tuesday)
Time: 6pm – 7pm
Venue: H1B04 (Undergraduate Room)
Speaker: Lhavanya & Syaqil Suhaimi
Attached is our poster for the event.
MYD Post COP23 Sharing Session at UNMC Sustainability Week
With the intention to upskill #MYD members and the public, this training series was conducted by the Third World Network (TWN) to share their experiences and knowledge on comprehending and translating climate policy language. The session also aimed to educate on international agreement drafting.
Briefly, TWN is a non-profit organisation that tracks climate negotiations and lobbies climate change issues, with an ambition to render climate justice to the developing nations.
It was a sensational Saturday, the 19th of August 2017, at the Sala vegan restaurant in Galeria Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. The trainers for the day were Ms. Chee Yoke Ling, an International Lawyer and director of TWN, and Mr. Indrajit Bose from Delhi, who was part of TWN as well.
Sala- Rarity to find a vegan restaurant in Malaysia (Or SE Asia in general)
The event commenced with first session of Mr. Indrajit delivering the basics in climate science and change (mainly directed towards the rest of the audience). He explained on our organisation in short and spoke on concepts such as climate adaptation and mitigation.
An interesting point for the current day, Indrajit mentioned on the global average Carbon dioxide level to be at 405 ppm, where 400 ppm is considered to be the threshold for reversible damage, beyond which is considered to be ‘Uncharted territory’. He also implied that historical figures of Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would have been stable if not for human interference.
Mr. Indrajit from TWN India addressing to the audience (PC- Diyana)
Moving on to Ms. Yoke Ling’s address, she had directly started with the imbalanced consumption of energy and resources in the world and stated the importance of historical emissions. The idea is that industrialised nations of today have accumulated more GHG’s in the past and hence require more efforts from their side to rectify the fastening of the warming.
Having worked in the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change) and with her incredibly experienced policy negotiations, Yoke Ling felt that science find itself hard to catch up with the reality. Adding on to that, Bose also broached that the science wasn’t strong enough in developing countries and for the developed nations take advantage.
Ms. Yoke Ling explaining on Global historical emissions (PC- Diyana)
The speakers were critical of the inaction shown by the developed parties, some arguments from them were these countries wouldn’t consider the year 1850’s mark and rather focus on the 2005 emission standard. That ultimately led to less effective climate goals as GHG concentrations were, obviously, higher in the latter year. Yoke Ling informed on the clash of interests, which goes at every climate negotiations. The developed parties seemed dubious to act on mitigation whereas the developing nations were generally void of the capacity to have climate technologies for adaptation.
Engrossed spectators from MYD and community
The second half of the event focused more on UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)and its history, pacts, protocols, agreements including the challenges faced. The Rio Environmental Summit in 1992 was one of the most important meeting and the forum to accept the ongoing problem and take respective action. In the summit, countries were obliged to push towards “self-regulation” and CBDR (Common but Differentiated Responsibilities). CBDR was the first legal instrument for tackling climate change. It’s worth noting that CBDR doesn’t apply on for climate change but to other environmental issues as well.
The emergence of COP (Conference of Parties) arose from this summit and was the supreme decision making body for climate policy. Despite the general criticism faced by the United Nations for being ineffective and unsystematic, Yoke Ling indicated this not to be the case and instead, insisted that the system was well-organised.
Thomas in deep thought as Yoke Ling explains on the Rio Summit
The speakers for the day also agree on the notion that recent climate negotiations and agreements deliberately “forgets” the historical emissions, pretty much due to the pressure given by the developing parties. “Protocols” are turning to “agreements” and these agreements are turning voluntary. They also discern that the Paris Agreement dilutes the initial mother convention document from the UNFCCC, where the convention text is unbiased.
If you had paid attention to your English classes back at school, you’d know the importance of modal verbs, or at least, they matter plentiful in climate change negotiations. It was covert but clearly observed during the Paris Agreement that the developed countries had amended all words starting with “shall” to “should”. This meant that these developed countries could exercise a certain degree of freedom in refraining to curtail emissions.
Kelly presenting the token of appreciation to our trainers. Thank you very much, Yoke Ling and Indrajit! (PC- Diyana)
Nevertheless, the issue of Climate Change has gotten global attention with many consecutive negotiations to come up, for persevering with the existing ambitions to relieve the stress on the ecosystem. We as MYD are extremely grateful for the TWN speakers who made the event possible.
Many thanks to all who made it (PC- Diyana)
By concluding and within this time, one should have unequivocally known that climate change does not only deal with climate change but other factors especially the political, economic, psychological and social aspects remain crucial – the training series was an epitome for this. Climate policy may not be the most ‘catchy’ things to be doing but it sure does make an immense impact, pretty much like catchphrases.
Written by Varunkanth Muralikanth
Malaysian Youth Delegation