Learnings from ASEAN Power Shift – Emily Oi

Learnings from ASEAN Power Shift – Emily Oi

By Emily Oi (MYD15)

It was a fast 72 hours, isn’t it?

MYD survived ASEAN Power Shift. We had grown tremendously throughout the past 3 days. Policy track was no child’s play. It was a bitch, and still is. We listened, we struggled, we argued, but we eventually compromised.

MYD Family after many tribulations

MYD Family after many tribulations

It was amazing how things worked out within the MYD team. Adding to the fact that nine of us (MYD) did not know each other prior to the conference. We got lost, we fell, we questioned, but we reintegrated. It was exciting to see how our passion to stop climate change drove us through these challenges working together.

Other delegates may perceived us as strong and well prepared, but we are still learning and fragile human too. Our team almost broke down and scattered by the second night.

Despite all the cracks and disagreement within the team, we moved on, as a team. We knew that it is not only about the paper, it is the people, the bond that existed. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t the best result we expected, but the process was priceless.

Team meeting over tea time

Team meeting over tea time

It was those little moment that mattered. Waking up early for shrub planting, staying up for endless meetings and homework deadlines, hanging out at Floor 14 and food courts, short interviews with other ASEAN delegates and participants, photo shooting all the time.

It was the little element added by each members that counted. Adrian, the demanding mentor; Amalen, the joker plus shameless promoter; Emily, the happy-go-lucky optimist; Jolene, the green beauty pageant; Merryn, the epic quote-producer; Rachel, the pure and innocent paper; Roxanne, the powerful and ambitious artist; Shak, the fun-seeking explorer ;Thomas, the back office fighter; Wanji, the funny conservation biologist.

APS was short and sweet. It gave us many new insights, new expectations and new motivation. It taught us how to be open-minded by placing ourselves in the shoes of others. It taught us to hold on to our stand and beliefs. It taught us the power of people, power of collaboration, power of synchronization.

Our MYD’s journey does not stop here, in fact, it just began. We are still fighting hard to get on the road to Paris. Just like APS, it will not be easy for sure. But it will be priceless.

#MYD15 – Malaysian Youth Delegation – Malaysian youth climate movement at international United Nations climate conferences, UNFCCC, participants will be mentored and hold engagements with various climate expert bodies and dialogue with Malaysian policy makers and negotiators.

#ASEANPOWERSHIFT – A conference gathering youths from 10 ASEAN countries with the focus on finding pragmatic and possible solutions to tackle climate change and empower youths with creative skills and knowledge to initiate their own actions.

Learnings from ASEAN Power Shift – Merryn Choong

Learnings from ASEAN Power Shift – Merryn Choong

By Merryn (MYD15)

Being in the policy track removed layers and layers of presumptions that I had.  I see, feel, and understand better the importance of youth coming together in creating action, because the existence of this group in bridging the gap of those suffering and those who are fighting for a stand.

Merryn Chong in action

Merryn Chong in action

While delegates were busy fighting to make a stand for respective countries, some were unable to make their voices heard which are often those who are most affected by climate change. In fact, there are also those in the room who could not voice out their opinion because of a lower proficiency in English. It suddenly came to me that aside from differences in nationality, there are so many other social problems and political issues inter-connected in this bigger picture that makes finding a solution for climate change even harder and complex.

I particularly like the metaphor “culture as an onion.” Onions, like cultures, come in different shapes and varieties; the color of the core permeates each layer. If one is not skilled at slicing and peeling an onion, it can cause eye irritation and bring tears to the eye. Similarly, when crossing borders and cultures, we must learn the skills of bridging culture and become culturally sensitive in order to better facilitate negotiation. I must admit that this “eye irritation” did happen during our discussion and meetings. The entire policy track negotiation was not an easy process, even when we acknowledge the different parties’ interests and concerns.

During the short duration of this conference, it has opened up my eyes to more climate change issues and solutions going on in ASEAN region. There is definitely still a lot more for me to learn and improve in this aspect. I often feel handicapped in formulating a statement because there are so many aspects that inter-links with the topic discussed, which I still lack sufficient understanding.

We learned to listen and see things from a different set of eyes - Merryn

We learned to listen and see things from a different set of eyes – Merryn

When I look back, one heart warming thing is is, I think I have found a new family, a family who consist of brothers and sisters from different parts of Malaysia that shares the same passion and vision. They have given me constructive criticism, support and advice before and throughout the entire ASEAN Power Shift in Singapore. I am grateful for the people I met, the knowledge gained in knowledge track, the invaluable experience in policy negotiation, the homework assigned that pushed me in getting interviews done, and the late night meetings that bond us closer together. These three days has definitely opened my eyes to greater possibilities in the future.

#MYD15 – Malaysian Youth Delegation – Malaysian youth climate movement at international United Nations climate conferences, UNFCCC, participants will be mentored and hold engagements with various climate expert bodies and dialogue with Malaysian policy makers and negotiators.

#ASEANPOWERSHIFT – A conference gathering youths from 10 ASEAN countries with the focus on finding pragmatic and possible solutions to tackle climate change and empower youths with creative skills and knowledge to initiate their own actions.

Learnings from ASEAN Power Shift – Roxanne Low

Learnings from ASEAN Power Shift – Roxanne Low

By Roxanne (MYD15)

The last three days flew by so quickly. I somehow wish that we could have had more time to spend with each other, among ourselves (MYD) as well as the other delegates from other ASEAN countries. As I reflect upon the days spent at APS, I am not sure if I achieved the things that I am supposed to achieve.

From left :  Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Thailand.

From left :  Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Thailand.

To begin, the organizer gave away very little in regards to the activities that awaited the delegates in policy track. All we knew that we had to prepare a National Position Paper. However, the purpose of the gathered data was very much unknown. Another reason is because I tend to not place expectation on things simply to avoid having disappointment. Therefore, if I went there without having an idea what I am set out to achieve, it was difficult to say that I managed to achieve something at the end of the APS.

Despite having said that, into the second day of the conference, I decided for myself to give collaboration to complete the Position Paper. Although I noticed many limitations that underline the Position Paper, such as, the time constrain, language barrier, imbalance participation from the ten countries, lack of necessary knowledge and skills, I disagree with not putting the effort to contribute to the entire discussion and have a negative and pessimistic view about the Position Paper that we tried to produce. To me, not only it would be very discouraging to the enthusiastic vibe that was felt within the room filled with passionate delegates, it may be a loss of an opportunity to learn something during the process.

Then again, some can disagree to my perception whereby since the Position Paper would not be a success (which may be defined as not representative of all youths in 10 countries, not substantial, not contextual…), perhaps the focus should have been driven towards building strong network with other delegates, finding possible collaboration in future projects, understanding each other’s situation.

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Team Malaysia and MYD

In the end, due to limited time, we were not successful in producing a proper position paper. But something that we were able to achieve was the have a rather strong Preamble which some say is the most important part of the whole position paper. Although it was not a huge success, I still feel that I did achieve something.

I not only learned about the process of making policies (perhaps not exactly like the actual thing), but through the process of coming up the various policies, I learned about the situation and problems faced by my neighbouring countries in the region. It was truly an enlightening experience for me.

Most importantly, this experience allowed me to get to know my MYD members, to agree and disagree, to work together despite our differences. This was not something I set out to do, but I still eventually did, which is very valuable.  Even though I cannot list down everything that I have learned from APS, but I believe that I have unconsciously learned many things, which I will realize in the future. At the moment, I know that I my network have now crossed borders.

To end my reflection, it may be important to know what you are about to do in order to set a clear purpose and target to achieve, but sometimes embracing the unknown can be just as precious for it is filled with surprises. Most of the time, we gain something valuable beyond what we initially set out to do.

#MYD15 – Malaysian Youth Delegation – Malaysian youth climate movement at international United Nations climate conferences, UNFCCC, participants will be mentored and hold engagements with various climate expert bodies and dialogue with Malaysian policy makers and negotiators.

#ASEANPOWERSHIFT – A conference gathering youths from 10 ASEAN countries with the focus on finding pragmatic and possible solutions to tackle climate change and empower youths with creative skills and knowledge to initiate their own actions.

Day3 at ASEAN Power Shift

Day3 at ASEAN Power Shift

Finally, we have come to the end of the ASEAN Power Shift conference. Time flew by really quickly and before knowing it, it was time to leave Singapore to return home. Despite the short period of time, delegates and participants certainly took away a handful of knowledge and experience that would be useful in their future undertakings.  Presenting you a write up of the last day by Rachel Loh

This is not Goodbye

By Rachel Loh (MYD15)

As the last day of APS dawned upon us, the sense of urgency to complete our youth position paper was at its peak. We began the day discussing every aspect of the drafted position paper within the Malaysian Youth Delegation, just like “picking fleas off dogs” as our team member, Thomas would have put it. We went through the entire paper, discussed and nitpicked on every single detail to ensure that all the clauses were acceptable.

Once everything was agreed upon within our group, we returned  to the conference room to begin our working assembly with the rest of the delegations. We spent most of our time making amendments to the clauses. Since it was a collaborative position paper to represent the voices of youths all around ASEAN countries, it was of utmost importance for all delegations to come to a consensus with the clauses in the position paper. We were really hopeful to have the paper completed by the end of the session but even at our full efficiency we only managed to discuss some portions of our paper. Nevertheless, we thought that it was important to focus on quality over quantity. Seeing that there will be opportunity to finish our paper in the near future, we looked forward to contributing our time and effort and meeting our ASEAN friends again. It was truly wonderful to see how passionate and strong-willed many of the delegates were to complete this regional position paper.

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Youth from ASEAN

Finally, we concluded ASEAN Power Shift 2015 with the ASEAN Cultural Appreciation Night where delegations performed and entertained everyone with their very professional dancing skills. After a night of dancing away, we left for home not just with a greater understanding of policy making but also of ourselves and each other. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers, volunteers, delegates and participants for making our experience such a fruitful one and we hope to see you in the near future!

 

 

#MYD15 – Malaysian Youth Delegation – Malaysian youth climate movement at international United Nations climate conferences, UNFCCC, participants will be mentored and hold engagements with various climate expert bodies and dialogue with Malaysian policy makers and negotiators.

#ASEANPOWERSHIFT – A conference gathering youths from 10 ASEAN countries with the focus on finding pragmatic and possible solutions to tackle climate change and empower youths with creative skills and knowledge to initiate their own actions. 

Day2 at ASEAN Power Shift

Day2 at ASEAN Power Shift

Day 2 Recap! 

By Merryn Chong (MYD15)

Moving into day two at the ASEAN Power Shift! The Malaysian delegates started the day early with a brief meeting on what to look forward in drafting the National Position Paper in the policy track with other delegates. While that happened, the other session was focused on knowledge track in policy, media and communications and creative activism.

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Policy track is an avenue where delegates from ASEAN meet and engage in deeper discussion, to voice out their stand and to achieve a consensus on what to include in the draft before submitting our position paper. Four main topics are being looked into, adaptation, mitigation, capacity building and climate finance. During the policy track, we listened to concerns and suggestions from delegates of the 10 ASEAN countries. It was an interesting yet challenging session as everyone has different point of reference and understanding towards the topic being discussed. One of the biggest take away from the policy track is that we learned so much more about the problems that our neighboring countries are facing. After listening to other perspective, we discussed the possible efforts that could be made to solve problems.

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On the other hand, knowledge tracks comprise of talks presented on various topics related to climate change. There were many enriching presentation that were carried out, covering topics such as climate change and food security in Southeast Asia, creative activism, understanding INDC and what it means to ASEAN, utilizing art into environmental activism, leveraging social media to create change, media and communication, and restoring carbon sink as a mitigation measures. Experts from respective fields had an engaging session with the audience. Questions from students, activists, volunteers and concerned citizen were raised and it provided a fresh perspective in the subject discussed.

The last session of the day was a plenary lecture of Tri-partite strategy in ASEAN towards combating climate change. The knowledge, experience and expertise of representative from government, private sector and non-governmental party were shared to the participants and delegates. We were introduced to the utilization of green building designs, sustainable urban planning, youth effort in environmental effort, the inclusion of environmental protection activities in school, and governmental support against climate change action in Singapore. There was also an emphasis on individual effort in creating cumulative impact in our countries, Earth hour was an example raised frequently in creating action.

The Malaysian delegates ended the day with a group meeting to further discuss on their views and thoughts on their respective daily learning experience, be it in policy or knowledge track. We talked about areas to further enhance and improve on policy track tomorrow, to hopefully produce a well-represented youth position paper. It was definitely a productive day of learning and working with everyone!

#MYD15 – Malaysian Youth Delegation – Malaysian youth climate movement at international United Nations climate conferences, UNFCCC, participants will be mentored and hold engagements with various climate expert bodies and dialogue with Malaysian policy makers and negotiators.

#ASEANPOWERSHIFT – A conference gathering youths from 10 ASEAN countries with the focus on finding pragmatic and possible solutions to tackle climate change and empower youths with creative skills and knowledge to initiate their own actions.