Malaysian Youth Delegation’s Post-COP24 Forum

Malaysian Youth Delegation’s Post-COP24 Forum

Opening statement by Ambassador of Republic of Poland to Malaysia, H.E Krzystof Dębnicki.

KUALA LUMPUR, 26 January – The Malaysian Youth Delegation organised Post-COP24 Forum at Common Ground Bukit Bintang, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur on the 26th January 2019.

The Forum was officiated by Ambassador of Republic of Poland to Malaysia, H.E Krzystof Dębnicki, who expressed his gratitude to the Malaysian COP delegation for the solidarity and commitment dedicated to the cause of climate justice. He conveyed his appreciation at the Post-COP24 Forum organized by the Malaysian Youth Delegation. 

In his opening statement, he advised the attendees to reduce waste, avoid plastic straws and plastic bags. “This country has made tremendous change and developing fast. Malaysia can be the leader for sustainable energy, not just in ASEAN but in the world.”

“I hope Malaysia does,” he stressed.

Chee Yoke Ling, Director of Programmes, Third World Network, moderated the panel. She was joined by three panelists, Liyana Yamin, COP24 delegate from Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD), Muhammad Ridzwan Ali, Assistant Secretary Environment Management and Climate Change Department from the Ministry of Energy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC) and Meena Raman, Climate Change Programme Coordinator from Third World Network (TWN).

Panel moderated by Chee Yoke Ling, Third World Network.

Panel discussion with Muhammad Ridzwan from MESTECC and Liyana Yamin from MYD.

Meena Raman joined in the panel virtually.

The annual Forum aimed to explore the critical questions pertinent to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5C, expanding towards  the changes in Malaysian climate change policy with the shift in government in the era of Malaysia Baru, role of CSOs in these changes and the role of youth in advocating climate change.

“Battle was fierce between developed and developing countries at COP24”

 

Muhammad Ridzwan Ali, Assistant Secretary, Environment Management and Climate Change Department, MESTECC.

Muhammad Ridzwan Ali, Assistant Secretary, Environment Management and Climate Change Department from the Ministry of Energy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC) who attended the Conference of Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland said that this was due to conflicting interpretation of the Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) principle which has been the cornerstone for the UNFCCC negotiations.
Among the other issues that was studiously debated during the negotiations were climate financing and how the developed countries must contribute to financing the adaptation and mitigation efforts in developing countries.  

Meena Raman, Climate Change Programme Coordinator from Third World Network (TWN) added that technology transfer was also a hot topic during the COP24 negotiations.
These a fragile balance in the negotiations, “some developing countries would win and some, the developed would win”, she told the crowd at the Post-COP24 Forum before citing the downside of developed countries such as the United States. Meena further criticised the United States government for their decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement citing explanations such as climate change as a China made-issue as ridiculous. 

According to current climate trend, the global climate temperature will increase 3C and the work to offset it will be a mountainous challenge rightfully and the developing countries was fair to fight adamantly on this front. This is due to the fact climate change will implicate developing countries the most and fundamentally, “developing countries have been doing much more than the developed country”, Meena stated. 

“CSOs are disappointed with the lack of urgency in immediate decision and actions”

Meena Raman, Climate Change Programme Coordinator, Third World Network. 

Liyana Yamin briefly touched on how even American youth disagree with President Trump – at COP, she interviewed an American youth who stand on the decision of raising the voice of developing countries. American youths are aware of the critical climate situation that we are in and they work hard to push campaign forward in action and social media, in highlighting how unfairly treated the developing countries face.

Overall, Ridzwan clarified that the Malaysia Delegation achieved all their goals which was especially, 1. To lessen reporting burden, 2. Ensuring that nations could execute their plan for sustainable development, 3. There’s equity in the CBDR convention and 4. Financial support from developed nations at COP24. With that, he reassured the policies surrounding climate change will continue to be a priority as this has been a continuous effort. 

Domestically, the government have been actively pursuing the cause by ramping up efforts towards environmentally-friendly policies such as plastic bags and straw bans.
“As a government officer, we are proud that climate change was given centre stage and having a ministry named after climate change”, Ridzwan added restating the government’s commitment towards climate change which translate to bigger responsibilities additionally.
However, Meena questioned the priority of the current government with the new national car initiative. She argued more focus and resource could be channeled to public transportation, sustainable agriculture, mangrove conservation etc. Nonetheless, Meena told the crowd that, “We are excited to engage with the current government.

As the crowd warmed up during the panel introduction session, the question and answer session turned into a heated discussion as questions ranging from the topic of agriculture, public transportation, energy and corporate responsibility was debated scrupulously. There was a suggestion made to place MESTECC officers in other ministries such as economic affairs and finance as climate change should also be viewed as a major economic factor in the planning and implementation of the nation’s economy. The suggestion was made by Datin Susheila McCoy, the first woman civil servant in the Malaysian government.

A number of vocal attendees spoke their mind and weighed in their opinions on climate change and the discourse surrounding it. The forum saw many prominent climate activists, concerned stakeholders and the passionate public in attendance. Dr. Nagulendran, Deputy Secretary General and Dr. Gary Theseira, Special Functions Officer to the YB Yeo Bee Yin, from Ministry Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC), Hui Feng Chiang, First Secretary of Political Division from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and Professor Syed Azam-Ali, CEO of Crops for the Future Research Center was also present.

 

Group photo of attendees of Post-COP24 Forum.

Written by: Kadir Danial

Post-COP24 Forum: Malaysia’s Perspective on the Katowice UN Climate Change Conference

Post-COP24 Forum: Malaysia’s Perspective on the Katowice UN Climate Change Conference

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP24, in Katowice was deemed as a turning point for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement Rulebook, agreed on at COP24, acts as an operating manual to guide countries (or “Parties” in UNFCCC speak) to meet the ultimate goal of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C.

The release of the Special Report on 1.5 degrees by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October 2018 raised concerns over the current level of ambition that Parties have committed to in the face of climate change. Calls for higher ambition at COP24 echoed the sentiments that came out of COP23. But did we get it?

The question still remains; did Parties do enough to raise ambitions? Is multilateralism still alive? Can the international community work together to avoid the worst impacts of the inevitable climate crisis?

Most importantly, where does Malaysia lie in all of this?

Join us at our Post-COP24 Forum to find out! Our distinguished panelists, consisting of Malaysians from the government, civil society, and youth organizations who attended COP24, will discuss the outcomes and how Malaysia fits into the global picture. We will have a Q&A session after the panel session, but please feel free to send us questions beforehand!

Kindly RSVP by 24th January 2019. Registration is FREE and space is LIMITED.

Drop us a message on our social media or at mydclimatechange@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Panel

  • Muhammad Ridzwan Ali, Assistant Secretary, Environmental Management and Climate Change Department, Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change
  • Meena Raman, Climate Change Programme Coordinator, Third World Network
  • Liyana Yamin, COP24 Delegate, Malaysian Youth Delegation

Opening address by

  • H.E. Krzysztof Dębnicki, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Malaysia

Agenda:

10.30 – 11.00 am: Registration and light refreshments

11.00 – 11.05 am: Welcoming Remarks by a representative from the Malaysian Youth Delegation

11.05 – 11.15 am: Opening Statement by H.E. Krzysztof Dębnicki, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Malaysia

11.15 – 11.20 am: Panel introduction by Moderator

11.20 – 12.20 pm: Panel discussion

12.20 – 12.50 pm: Q&A Session

12.50 – 12.55 pm: Closing remarks and presentation of token of appreciation

12.55 – 1.00 pm: Group photo

 

How to get to Common Ground Bukit Bintang

    1. The nearest MRT station is Bukit Bintang. The walk from MRT Bukit Bintang Pintu D to Menara Worldwide takes about 10 mins.
    2. Parking at Menara Worldwide at RM3.50/hour.
    3. Open space parking across the street next to Shell gas station at RM8.00/entry.

      The Time I Delivered a Speech on Behalf of YOUNGO

      The Time I Delivered a Speech on Behalf of YOUNGO

      Hi, it’s me again bringing you more content on just transition. On the 5th of December, YOUNGO was invited to participate in an Open Dialogue with the Polish presidency, centering around the theme of “just transition”. Aimed at engaging key stakeholders, the open dialogue was first initiated during COP 23. According to my YOUNGO peers, the Fijian presidency worked closely with different key constituencies to set the agenda for the dialogue session. There was no such opportunity for collaboration this time around.

      Photo taken by Syaqil.

      With all the action happening on the COP 24 floor, I joined the intervention drafting session on a whim. I was taking a breather in the computer room with some of the MYD members after a morning of informal consultation meetings. Syaqil mentioned that he would be joining the open dialogue speech planning. At the time, I was in a writing rut so I decided to come with. With fellow YOUNGO members, we started drafting the speech without a clue about the format or the layout of the session. The only guidance we received from the Secretariat was the following 5 questions:

      1)    What does Just Transition mean for different stakeholders?

      2)    How can Just transition policies contribute to the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement?

      3)    For which of the recommendations of the SR1.5 will the imperative of a just transition of the workforce be particularly relevant?

      4)    How can different stakeholders contribute to these policies?

      5)    Can we identify common areas among different constituencies and stakeholders that help to achieve a Just Transition?

      We immediately jumped into identifying what Just Transition looks like for different YOUNGO members, and had an hour-long dialogue on our concerns about the future. Although we strayed from writing the actual speech, I felt connected at the core with fellow youth representatives from around the world. The exchange kept the passion for climate action glowing in my core. It’s easy for the older generations to sit around and talk about future ramifications of inaction. But, we the youth will be the ones without sustainable jobs and experience the lack of socioeconomic mobility brought on by a transition into a low-carbon economy. Unanimously agreed that our key messages will touch upon increased ambition, to keep the youth and future generation when planning for a transition, and to involve youth in decision-making processes.

      The result of our brainstorming can be found below.

      Good afternoon everybody.

      My name is Tan Cai May from Malaysia, and I am speaking on behalf of YOUNGO.

      Formally recognized in 2009, YOUNGO serves as the official voice of young people from around the globe in the climate negotiations under the UN Climate Change. It is an independent volunteer-run structure comprising a membership of more than 200 youth-led, youth-focused NGOs, working in the field of climate change and environmental sustainability.

      YOUNGO is delighted to see that steps are being taken to continue the open dialogue platform started at COP23 – we would have appreciated this even more if the room was set up with a square table, which is more conducive for dialogue. YOUNGO played a key role in the collaborative agenda setting of last year´s dialogue at COP23 and is willing to continue such approaches towards this and future UNFCCC sessions to further strengthen the relationship we have built.

      We appreciate the Polish Presidency’s assertion that just transition holds a variety of meanings across different communities. To children and youth all over the world, just transition concerns among other challenges: healthy and clean work environment, labour rights, job opportunities, social security, and community resiliency.

      We, as young people, identify intergenerational equity as the central theme to just transition. Transition involves a change, and we, the young people want to play an even more active role in this process of change. The children & youth are the future and we want to shape our future together with you. Meaningful participation of young people in negotiations and policy-making processes is key in attaining a sustainable and just transition.

      We would like to take this opportunity to point out that ‘just transition’ is only mentioned once and in a vague manner in the Paris Agreement. We believe that it should be properly addressed in the negotiations considering that climate injustice is what’s pushing people to refuse the transition towards a green economy. Furthermore, there should be clear guidelines on how to assure just transition in the process of keeping the temperature increase below 1.5°C.

      We, as children and youth, will continue to pursue opportunities in the workforce that endeavour to create pathways towards limiting greenhouse gas emissions using available innovative and technological approaches, in order to achieve climate resilient development and meet long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. The IPCC Special Report shows that there is no time to wait. We need to raise ambitions immediately, and we need to have a transition starting today. We, as children and youth, have been taking action and will continue to do so. We are already creating change and we urge you to join us in this process.

      Thank you for your attention.

      As the presenter, I was grateful for the opportunity to speak on behalf of YOUNGOs at COP 24. However, there were great points from our discussion that did not transfer over into the speech, and I would like to highlight some of them.

      First, we would like current leaders to acknowledge that our generation will not be as well-off compared to our parents’ generations. Natural resources are depleting at a high rate, and we will have to face the accumulated climate change effects. Our discussion also highlighted the unprecedented effect of exporting externalities to developing countries, where communities are more vulnerable to climate change effects and socioeconomic externalities of modern-day consumerism. In regards to the green technology and clean energy aspect of just transitions, my peers and I agreed that outcomes from the decarbonization movement need to be accessible and affordable to all. We recognized the developed-developing divides and hope that transition issues will improve the disparity rather than exacerbate it.

      At this point, we don’t know if the outcomes of this ‘dialogue’ were documented and presented to world leaders negotiating our future. But why wait on others to do something about it.

      Written by: Cai May

      Edited by: Mike

      Just Transition Already Lah

      Just Transition Already Lah

      Day 2 of COP 24 kickstarted with much buzz around “just transitions”. Just transition has been described as a just and ethical process to shift to a low-carbon economy, keeping in mind the implications towards socioeconomic, energy and environmental systems. The need for just transition has come up primarily as an environmental justice issue in civil rights movements, before being included in climate change discussions over the past few years.

      Got to take the YOUNGO seat during the official opening ceremony.

      Within the just transition movement, there are groups advocating for the acceleration of low-carbon efforts, and there are groups that call for less ambitious mitigation. Communities experiencing climate change effects and suffering from distributional inequity are coming forward to call for better management of mitigation efforts as the economy undergoes changes. Thematic movements include energy democracy, food sovereignty, and sustainable job opportunities. In the other camp, we have the traditional coal miners and shale frackers who are still relying on fossil fuel extraction to put bread on the table. The tension going forward with decarbonizing the economy has been brewing all these years especially in labor union strongholds of Europe. The gilets de jaune protests are still happening in France as we speak.

       

      The chatter on just transitions in COP 24 came from both sides of the transition story piece. In the beginning of the conference, CSOs were critical towards the Polish presidency’s message (based on my experience at that one pre-COP CAN strategy meeting I attended but still!) In the month leading up to COP 24, the Polish Presidency’s released a three-pronged strategy for the conference, one of which underscores for an ethical and fair shift in market. These key strategies were reiterated during the presidency’s opening speech on the second official day of COP.

       

      COP 24 President Michal Kurtyka delivering the opening address. Photo by Andrzej Grygiel/EPA-EFE.

      While the preceding Fijian presidency underlined just transitions for all and especially vulnerable communities that are at the frontline of experiencing climate change effects, the Polish presidency honed in on just transition matters in the coal industry. COP 24 president Michal Kurtyka gave a powerful speech on working together towards a low carbon future, tying in a message on balancing climate action and human behavior. To quote: “How do you tell a population of 5 million in 70 cities in the Silesian region to move on?” This sentiment was shared by the mayor of Katowice, Maric Krupa as he talked about the achievements of the city and how far they have come. Reigning in the message in for the third time, the Polish environment minister Henryk Kowalcyk called for more social cost consideration in decision-making concerning decarbonization. Clearly, Poland was ambiguous about their feelings on transitioning.

      Before I continue, I would like to clarify that by no means I am anti-just transition. My take is but a critical lens on what the Polish presidency has to say about just transitions in the COP space because it does reflect on their intended outcomes of COP 24. But I digress. The Solidarity and Just Transition Silesian Declaration was presented by Kowalcyk during the opening ceremony and contains language that is more accommodating towards the Paris Agreement and climate action efforts than I expected. While Katowice takes pride in going from “black to green” in the Upper Silesian region known for its coal production, I think that the Polish presidency, in upholding this model city, fails to address just transition in practice. My Uber driver laid down some quick facts about Upper Silesia for me, as we drove towards the city from the airport. Apparently, there are some 20 (27 as of 2014) coal mines still in operation in the Upper Silesian coal basin, accounting for ~ 74% of coal mining activity in Poland and producing up to 330 million tonnes of coal within the 2010 – 2014 period. The model city, it seems, managed to transform because the region needed a place to grow their service sector and it just so happened to be Katowice. My driver continued to lament about the satellite cities and the collective challenge to “go green”, citing the legacy of a coal-heavy economy. “Mining runs in the family… it’s all they really know how to get an income.”

      Coal at the Katowice Pavillion.

      During my daily commute to Katowice, I couldn’t help but notice the power plants puffing away in the vast, open fields in between station stops at towns. How is it that countries like Poland wean off coal? To think of it, the transition will happen if you want it or not, it’s the justice aspect that you’ll have to consider. When I dropped by the Katowice pavilion, I thought the whole coal display was distasteful in contrast to the reality of the industry’s future. Soaps and coal pendants available at the nearest tourist information center is not going to get coal miners out of a dying industry, the political will to provide transitional platforms will. Until alternative industries flourish and potential employees undergo suitable training, the Upper Silesian region will only bask in the shadows of monumental “progress” in hosting COP 24 and the climate action success attributed to it. Just transition already lah…

      Written by: Cai May

      Edited by: Mike

      Final Day of COY14: Memories to Take Back

      Final Day of COY14: Memories to Take Back

      The third and final day of COY started like a whirlwind as we arrived late to the venue hence it made me feel like I was chasing for the spokes council meeting. It was to no avail as by the time I had reached the room the session had ended. However, I did find part of the BLT team working on a document in preparation for the bilateral meeting with the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UN PGA). Wanting to make up for lost productivity as a result of my tardiness, I decided to join the party.

      Basically, the agenda of the meeting was to have the President deliver a keynote speech, after which questions will be directed to her, ranging from human rights, health, and climate refugees. As the UN General Assembly covers a range of topics, we decided it to be appropriate for her to address topics of wide scope, though it was agreed upon that they touch on climate change, one way or another.

      Pressed for time, we urgently drafted 6 questions in which we needed to do prior research too. After that, we had to allocate a question to a person and when it came down to choosing between the final two people who hadn’t been allocated a question yet, the other candidate suggested that I should be the one to deliver considering I had done research on it. That was a very nice gesture from her, albeit the question being a back-up in the case that we have extra time with the UN PGA.

      Having worked on the document for what must’ve been at least 3 straight solid hours (this was after working on the Renewable Energy (RE) position paper for half a day previously), I felt I deserved a reward in the form of hot chocolate (trust me that the hot chocolate at the COY venue, University of Silesia, was to die for). Hence I made my way to the cafeteria.

      Barely 5 minutes into settling down at the cafeteria, a message was sent regarding representatives needed from respective working groups in delivering a closing statement during the COY closing ceremony. Exasperated at not having the time to even take a bite, I made my way to the room to prepare the closing statement on behalf of RE.

      To my surprise, the RE working group was not included in the initial list of speakers to deliver a closing statement. However, seeing that not many representatives appeared for the preparatory meeting for the closing ceremony, Clara, the Global North Focal Point, was kind enough to give me a slot, provided I could keep the statement at a maximum of one minute. Preparing the statement was relatively straightforward considering we already have a position paper to work from.

      After finishing with that segment, we found ourselves having to attend the bilateral with the UN PGA straightaway. It was pretty amazing to have been able to sit in the same table with the President of the General Assembly. Her Excellency Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés was a very lovely and down to earth person. She communicated that prior to the bilateral, she had just arrived in Katowice 4 hours ago, but was insistent with engaging with YOUNGO. Basically, the session started off with Yugratna, the Global South Focal Point laying out the agenda before the floor: H.E. was to start the session with her keynote, after which the floor will be opened for questions delivered by those who have been chosen earlier. As opposed to asking a total of 8 questions that was drafted earlier on, however, Yugratna instructed that a total of 6 questions will be delivered instead, where one of them was mine.

      Once we were done with the bilateral, we immediately had to make way to the closing ceremony of COY. It was a lively event as there were several VIPs in attendance, including H.E. Maria Espinosa Graces (UN PGA), H.E. Patricia Espinosa (UNFCCC Executive Secretary and Michal Kurtyka (COP24 Presidency), among others. Prior to that, however, the respective working groups had the opportunity to deliver closing statements before the audience and I was pleased to say that in delivering the statement on behalf of renewable energy, it went smooth.

      Here I was delivering a closing statement on behalf of the RE working group during the COY closing ceremony.

        After the session, I felt pretty pleased with myself, not so much in grabbing an opportunity to speak before an audience, but how in being able to represent a working group as a spokesperson, I take it as a culmination of participatory involvement with YOUNGO, something I can’t say for myself last year, during COY13. In hindsight, this has been a most productive and fruitful COY for me, something I will definitely take back and use it as a source of motivation with regards to taking initiative within space for youth.

        Written by: Syaqil Suhaimi

        Edited by: Jasmin Irisha

        Opening of Young and Future Generations Day – Growth in Youth Climate Movement in ASEAN

        Opening of Young and Future Generations Day – Growth in Youth Climate Movement in ASEAN

        On 6 December, it was a day of celebration for youths at COP in what was called the Young and Future Generations (YoFuGe) Day. On top of showcasing climate action powered by youths, it was a day where we could speak up in communicating our aspirations for a just climate future.

        During the opening ceremony of YoFuGe Day, I was given the opportunity to speak on behalf of Malaysian youths. Here, I shared upon how 2018 has been a healthy year for youth climate involvement as Malaysian youths have had the opportunity to attend climate conferences throughout the ASEAN region.

        We had youths attending the Asia-Pacific Climate Week conference in Singapore, in July. In September, we had representatives attending the UNFCCC SB48-2 Bangkok Climate Change Conference. In October, we had a representative attend the Asia-Pacific Adaptation Forum in Manilla. In November, there was the ASEAN Pre-COP Capacity Building Workshop in Singapore (The Malaysian node happened in October) as well as, for the first time ever, our very own Local Conference of Youth (LCOY).

        I stressed how ASEAN as well as nearby regions still very much focus on the rapid growth of their economies. Therefore, the youth need to provide checks and balances, not only to governments but also to large corporations whom still very much rely on extraction in generating profits at a maximum. In demanding for Just Transition, the youth aren’t just asking for the transition from coal to renewable energy, but by transitioning into 2030, we would still want a world with a hospitable and livable climate.

        When it comes to climate diplomacy, the ASEAN and nearby regions have not been as prominent as its Western counterparts, but it’s about time that we start putting the environment, let alone climate change, at the top of our agenda. Not only would we need to strengthen our NDCs in light of the Special Report on 1.5, but we need Parties to commit to launching domestic processes to strengthen NDCs. The importance of multi-stakeholder participation cannot be stressed enough.

        Speaking on behalf of Malaysian youths in its growing climate movement across ASEAN.

        Where others argue that economic development will not be sacrificed in the name of climate change and that we shall not pay for the sins of others, I implore that they reflect on such a position. Where a country’s policies are still geared towards providing fuel subsidies, plantations are being built in the name of carbon sinks (having totally disregarded that huge areas of land have to be deforested anyway), and where public transportation projects are being scrapped as a result of a tight national budget (only for there to be conversations of another national car), I implore such parties to ponder upon and “welcome”, rather than “take note”, the special report on 1.5. Because in sticking to the status quo, by being content with the mentality of ‘business-as-usual’, who’s to say that we won’t even have an economy to build as early as 2030?

        Written by: Syaqil Suhaimi

        Edited by: Mike