Bonn Intersessional Negotiations – An interview with Nasha Lee
By Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham, MYD 2016
Please introduce yourself and your background.
By Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham, MYD 2016
Please introduce yourself and your background.
I have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Malaya in Environmental Engineering and started my career as an environmental consultant in a global sustainability consultancy. In 2014, I was offered a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship to read a Master’s degree in Environmental Change and Management at the University of Oxford. Upon my return, I joined an intergovernmental organization, and am now working on climate change and energy issues in Malaysia.
You were recently at the Bonn Intersessional in May 2017 as part of the Malaysian Delegation. Which tracks were you following?
I was in Bonn for the Bonn Climate Change Conference (Bonn Intersessional) which went on from the 8th to the 18th of May 2017. The meeting comprised of the 46th sessions of the Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI 46), the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 46) and the third part of the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1-3). The Malaysian delegation to the Bonn Intersessional consisted of fourteen people.
While in Bonn, I was tracking the agenda items on capacity building, technology, the Nairobi Work Programme, and public registries on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Adaptation Communications. I also participated in the in-session workshop to develop possible elements of the gender action plan under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
This year, Malaysia was one of the countries invited to present the results from our Biennial Update Report in a process called the facilitative sharing of views. The Biennial Update Report is a report submitted by developing countries to the UNFCCC which contains the country’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans and progress. In the facilitative sharing of views process, countries have to explain and defend their climate plans which are open to public questions from all countries. I was also following closely on this.
Any progress on the tracks that you followed?
For capacity building issues, we discussed about the fourth review of the implementation of capacity-building framework for economies in transition, and on the implementation of the framework for capacity building in developing countries. There were quite a few informal consultations whereby the co-facilitators had already prepared the draft conclusions and decision text. However, at the end, parties were unable to agree on the text proposed. Thus, the discussions will be restarted at COP 23. The outcome of this agenda item reflects the nature of the negotiations process at the UNFCCC, whereby decision-making is by consensus, and getting more than a hundred countries to be on the same page is often a complex and lengthy process.
I also followed the agenda items on the modalities and procedures for the operation and use of public registries for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and adaptation communications. These two agenda items had significant progress with countries agreeing to common elements of the registries, emphasizing on the user-friendliness, public accessibility, security and searchability of the web-based registries.
There were two agenda items under technology: the Technology Framework and the scope and modalities for the periodic assessment of the Technology Mechanism. During the consultations on the technology framework, parties discussed about the possible principles and structure of the technology framework, and the functions of the technology mechanism, among others. Possible headings of the Technology Framework were agreed upon, and the item will be further discussed in COP23. For the agenda item on the periodic assessment of the Technology Mechanism, parties gave their views on how the process should be: cost-effective, results oriented, aligned with the technology framework, and inclusive of stakeholders.
As for the Gender Action Plan, the in-session workshop was held to develop possible elements of a gender action plan to support the implementation of gender-related decisions and mandates under the UNFCCC. Parties and NGOs provided views on key result areas and possible activities of the gender action plan.
In Paris almost two years ago, a landmark agreement was agreed upon by almost 200 nations to cut global emissions in the effort to limit climate impacts. However, many of the details on rules, accountability, transparency and governance were left for future negotiations. Put simply, there were questions left unanswered on who should do what, by when, and with what kind of financial support. Drafting these details, collectively known as the “Paris Rulebook” was the top agenda item in Bonn, and people attended the negotiations with the expectation that the Paris Rulebook will be discussed and there will be a draft negotiating text. Discussions focused on the global stocktake, on how reporting can be made more transparent, on how climate finance will be mobilized.
The overall progress for the Bonn talks were incremental. Discussions on the “Paris Rulebook” captured the different views of parties in informal notes, but there was no consensus making yet. If the expectation before the Bonn talks was that a draft text will be prepared, this would mean that we did not achieve what was expected. But progress, no matter how incremental, is still important.
You mentioned on the Global Stocktake. Any updates on that?
In Paris, parties agreed that they will come together for a global stocktake in 2023 and every five years following that to measure collective progress. A similar process, called the “facilitative dialogue” was also agreed to be undertaken in 2018 to measure progress and inform the next round of national determined contributions (NDCs) which are due in 2020. . During this intersessional, the Facilitative Dialogue was discussed, but concrete guidelines and rules as to how the facilitative dialogue will be carried out has not yet been agreed upon.
Is there anything for Malaysia to prepare for COP23? What is there to expect?
Under each topic for the “Paris Rulebook”, parties are invited to submit their views during ahead of COP23, with the aim of setting out options for the draft text of the rulebook. That will be the immediate actions for Malaysia.
What are the differences between the Intersessional and COP?
The intersessional talks take place in Bonn every year, midway between the annual COPs. While the COP is at the ministerial level, the intersessionals are the working level, the backbone supporting the UNFCCC. The intersessional talks move negotiations forward, ahead of the larger COP meetings which take place at the end of the year. In my opinion, the intersessionals are not being given as much attention compared to the COP, but they have very significant contributions in terms of getting down to business.
Was there anything interesting that happened during the Intersessional?
As the US took a step back in the negotiations this year while the Trump administration contemplated a decision on whether the US should withdraw from the Paris Agreement, there seemed to be an interesting geopolitical shift where other developing countries were starting to become climate leaders. In Bonn, we saw other countries like China and India stepping up and reinforcing their commitment to the climate change agenda. In their Facilitative Sharing of Views, India shared how their renewable energy is growing so quickly that it is on track to be about 8 years early in reaching its 2030 goals to have 40% of the nations installed electricity supplied by clear energy. China also gave statements that reaffirmed its commitments towards the Paris agreement. The news that Trump administration might pull the US out from the Paris Agreement (which was confirmed to be true after Bonn) did not affect the negotiations at all, but negotiators we all the more determined to move ahead.
To me, the key message that came out from Bonn is that the world is committed to climate action, whether or not the US remains in the Paris Agreement.
What are your views on Malaysia’s progress?
Malaysia has shown lots of progress in last few years on climate change. We have embarked on efforts to move towards a low-carbon pathway, increased the deployment of renewable energy through incentives, and have implemented various programmes in reducing energy demand and increasing energy efficiency. Our technical skills, including that of calculating and reporting greenhouse gas emissions have increased dramatically. Our capacity in implementing climate change activities have also improved.
However, we still need to put concerted effort in making sure that our economy is being decarbonized, that renewables play a larger role, and that we design things to be more energy efficient. Energy is the biggest sectoral contributor to GHG in Malaysia, accounting for about 76% of our GHG emissions. The best way for us to be on track to achieve our Paris Agreement target is to look at the energy sector. There is much to be done in reducing emissions from electricity, transport and buildings in Malaysia, which should be our priority areas.
Additionally, Malaysia’s focus thus far has been on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions- we have had little work done on adapting to the effects of climate change, which is still necessary.
Some would argue there is not really a need for Malaysia to carry out adaptation plans just yet.
It is true that Malaysia has not been suffering from the worst impacts of natural disasters yet, but we are still vulnerable to extreme weather events like flooding and droughts. Having a plan in place to adapt to climate change would mean that we would be better prepared to face any current and future impacts of climate change towards health, ecosystems and water resources.
Do you have any advice for MYD and Youth interested in climate change and negotiations?
I believe that it is important to keep the dialogue on climate change going between youth, decision makers from the government and NGOs. Youths are often able to bring new and innovative solutions to difficult issues, and being able to see things from a new perspective and learn from other stakeholders who are passionate in the same issue is always good. Most importantly, always remind yourself of the reason you became interested in climate change in the first place, and use it to keep yourself motivated and accountable!
What’s next for you?
I still see myself going on the climate change and environmental path in the future, as this is something that I can relate to very much. I hope that I can to be of much greater service to Malaysia one day and to contribute much more in the future.
Feel free to add any final comments.
It’s great to see MYD playing such an important role in bringing young people together to learn, discuss and act on climate change issues. Keep up the good work!
Bersempena Hari Belia Negara 2017, Majlis Belia Malaysia (MBM) menganjurkan Konvensyen Belia Kebangsaan pada 15 Mei 2017 (Isnin) di Putrajaya dengan memberikan fokus kepada TN50, atau Transformasi Nasional 2050. Inisiatif ini juga memfokuskan aspek aspirasi kepimpinan dalam merangka dan melibatkan diri dalam pembangunan belia yang merangkumi tahun 2020 hingga 2050.
Tema iaitu “Transformasi Nasional 2050 : Aspirasi Kepimpinan Bangsa Angkasa”. Berdasarkan tema tersebut merangkumi pemikiran baru ialah berfikir dalam kerangka minda mengikut peredaran masa, kreatif dan inovatif mencipta metodologi baru dalam membawa perubahan sebagai seorang kepimpinan. “Bangsa Angkasa” atau Space Nation adalah bangsa yang sentiasa mempunyai impian tertinggi.
Program melibatkan 3 orang panel, mempunyai kepakaran masing-masing iaitu Dato’ Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, Dr Wan Wardatul Amani Wan Salim dan Encik Syukran Idris akan berbincang tentang cabaran-cabaran yang bakal dihadapi belia menjelang tahun 2050, khususnya dalam bidang sains dan teknologi. Ia mengubah corak pemikiran generasi muda agar mereka lebih melibatkan diri dalam sains angkasa dan juga melahirkan sebuah negara yang rakyat bersemangat dan berdedikasi yang percaya kepada diri untuk membawa negara ke satu tahap status yang lebih berkesan dan lebih tinggi.
|Choy Moon Moon||
|Kelvin Diong 翔隆|
|In the News||
5th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum
— Wisma Putra (@MalaysiaMFA) November 14, 2016
22 November 2016
A third year Law student recently won the rare opportunity to attend a UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech.
Nachatira Thuraichamy, who studies Law and is part of the School’s Environmental Law Clinic Pro Bono scheme, travelled to Morocco between 7 – 18 November to observe this year’s UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The conference is the first meeting of the 197 parties of the UNFCCC since last year’s historic Paris Agreement. The agreement entered into force on the 4 November and sets out a global action plan to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Nachatira, along with other students of the Environmental Law and Justice module, was invited to bid for funds to attend the conference on behalf of the University. “Although there was a lot of interest amongst her fellow students Nachatira’s application stood out,” said Dr Ben Pontin, Module leader and Director of the Environmental Law Clinic. “It was strengthened by her involvement in the Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD).” MYD is the only youth-based climate policy organisation in Malaysia. The group raise awareness and engage in capacity building to increase youth participation in Malaysian climate policy.
Giving students opportunities such as this is part of the School’s engagement mission. The Environmental Law Clinic Pro Bono Scheme which Nachatira is a part of, is run in partnership with The Environmental Law Foundation (ELF); one of the world’s oldest pro bono environmental law advice and representation charities. Professor Julie Price, who is in charge of the School’s Pro Bono provision, said, “The scheme aims to give a voice to ordinary people and communities on matters affecting the environment in which they live. Cardiff’s clinic covers enquiries relating to Wales and helps individuals and communities facing environmental issues such as air and water quality, noise pollution, threats to wildlife habitat and biodiversity, use of public open spaces and threats to those spaces.”
Speaking of her time at the conference, Nachatira said, “It was a phenomenal experience that opened my eyes to the intricacies involved in international climate policy. It was an amazing opportunity to track negotiations, understand the implications of the various positions held by the constituencies as well as learn from experts themselves.”
It is hoped that Nachatira’s opportunity at the conference will be an experience that will be shared by many more students in future as the University has recently applied for observer status to the UNFCCC. Once the University has obtained this status it will be able to offer a limited number of researchers and students the opportunity to observe these international climate change events each year.
Dr Hannah Hughes who will be the University’s UNFCCC contact point said of the status, “This will provide us with an important opportunity to experience these international events and to study their significance to the global community’s climate change response.”
GEORGE TOWN: The first step towards saving the world begins with you. That is the life motto of Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham, an environmental-enthusiast or as she prefers it, “environthusiast”.
The 23-year-old, who is passionate about cycling and the environment, started the Bicycle Project at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC). It is aimed at implementing a bike rental system to nurture a cycling culture among staff and students on campus.
“The idea is to reduce carbon emission on campus and also get people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
“Bicycles have zero carbon emission. And it may even get you to your destination faster than a car because you will never get stuck in traffic,” said Jasmin, who rides “Beatrice” – her trusty green-and-black mountain bike – everywhere.
It was either that or the public bus, she laughed, adding that she never took up driving.
“I’m trying to reduce the amount of waste I contribute to the landfill,” said the environmental science graduate.
Jasmin wanted to start the project after attending a five-week programme at the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2014 during her freshman year.
“In university, there were many cyclists… and there were also many keen to cycle, but they did not have a bicycle.
“In the United States, I saw that many universities had bike-sharing systems… and they all started with just that one person who put in that extra effort,” said Jasmin.
Upon returning, she pitched the idea to her university management, only to face rejection upon rejection.
“But, persistence is key, and UNMC finally agreed to launch an electric bike-sharing system this year,” she said, eyes wild with joy.
Currently, Jasmin actively engages the youth in environmental initiatives via talks on the environment, climate change and cycling.
From bringing her own 6oz coffee cup to “tapau” her daily caffeine needs to recycling, Jasmin believes that people should fight for a greener environment within their own capacity.
“It can be as simple as bringing your own takeaway containers or not using drinking straws. I know straws seem like a small thing but it’s really not,” she said when met at Universiti Sains Malaysia here, where she is a research assistant.
She said she avoided straws after watching a video of a turtle that had a straw stuck up its nostril.
“My heart broke when it started bleeding profusely as the straw was being pulled out… the turtle does not deserve that,” she said, her face crumpling.
Jasmin is also involved in environmental-related initiatives; her most recent being a youth delegate to the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakech, Morocco, in December last year.
For two weeks, Jasmin and four other youth delegates shadowed Malaysian negotiators and observed the landmark negotiation process at the conference, which was also attended by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and his team.
Jasmin wants to empower Malaysian youth to be at the forefront in the fight for a sustainable Malaysia.
“There are so many policies but who will carry them out if not us, the youth?
“As much as you want to save the world, we should start with things that we can do within our own capacity, and that starts here,” she smiled. — By Fatimah Zainal http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/03/20/change-starts-with-us-says-environthusiast-she-peddles-only-one-message-do-what-you-can-for-a-sustai/
UNMC students represent Malaysia at Malaysian Youth Delegation to COP22
Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham and Dulanga Witharanage from The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) have been selected to be part of the Malaysian Youth Delegation 2016 (MYD 2016) at the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakech, Morocco due to be held from 7 to 18 November 2016.
COP22 provides an important platform for nations to build on the landmark agreement secured at the COP21 in Paris last December.
Both Jasmin and Dulanga, who are from the Faculty of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, had to undergo a rigorous application process to be selected as part of MYD 2016. Shortlisted applicants were required to go through an interview session, where they were questioned deep into their understanding and knowledge of climate change, the Paris Agreement and UNFCCC. Applicants were finally shortlisted taking into consideration their academic merits and achievements, as well as their contributions towards community and environmental initiatives.
Jasmin and Dulanga are representatives of MYD and will be observing the negotiation process whilst shadowing the Malaysian negotiators alongside two other youth candidates from Malaysia. Jasmin and Dulanga’s participation is funded by UNMC.
They are expected to take part at the Conference of Youth 12 (COY12) from 4 to 6 November, where they will join youth from across the globe to address climate change and promote sustainable lifestyles. The main focus of this year’s COY is on the ‘Role of Education and Empowering Youth to take action on Climate Change and to bring about Positive Change in Society’.
Last year, UNMC students, Emily Oi, Jolene Journe Tan and Thomas Lai Yoke Hwa represented Malaysia at COP21.
“Nottingham students will be representing Malaysia at this important global conference. We are very happy to support students to attend COP22 for the second year. We recognise the important contribution that they are able to make in the area of climate change and we hope that they benefit from attending the conference,” said Professor Graham Kendall, CEO and Provost of UNMC.
“We look forward to represent UNMC at COP22. Issues relating to climate change have never been more important and pertinent globally which needs to be addressed urgently. More youth should be motivated to address climate change that affects humankind; regardless of country, religion and social background,” said Dulanga whilst stating that she is very appreciative of UNMC for giving her this opportunity.
“The Malaysian Youth Delegation will be the voice of the Malaysian Youth at COP22. We eagerly look forward to use this platform to engage in this global agenda after having been exposed to relevant issues during our studies. We are very grateful to UNMC for sponsoring us, and all our family and friends for supporting us” said Jasmin.
(Image caption: Jasmin (left) and Dulanga at the 5th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum in Sri Lanka)