Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD), Energy Studies Institute, National University of Singapore (ESI-NUS) and Singapore Youth Climate Action (SYCA) organized ASEAN Pre-Conference of Parties (Pre-COP) Capacity Building Workshop 2018 in Malaysia and Singapore. The ASEAN Pre-COP Session in Malaysia was hosted by MYD in Oasis Village, Ara Damansara follow by the session in Singapore, hosted by ESI-NUS and SYCA at The Red Box, Somerset Rd.
Five key points in both workshops are;
An introduction of United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Introduction of Youth Constituency to the UNFCCC (YOUNGO) and the rest of the constituency.
Role of Youth on which covers youth organization that active in ASEAN region.
Info transition from Subsidiary Bodies Meeting (SB48.2) in Bangkok, Pre-COP in Krakow, Poland and finally heading towards COP24.
Focus topics that will be covered in COP24 and update on Katowice Rulebook.
In Malaysia, MYD covered most of the key points, where Mike presented on the Introduction of UNFCCC and Role of Youth. We had representation from our Singaporean counterpart, Lastrina Hamid from SYCA, who presented on her organisation and her experience in previous COP conferences. The session followed by a sharing session by Shaqib Shahril from MYD, who covered Key Topics in COP24. The workshop ended with Aaliyah from MYD, who spoke on the transition from SB48.2 to COP24.
The session in Singapore took on a similar approach to the Malaysian session. However additionally, Melissa Low from ESI-NUS covered in depth on the Katowice Rulebook. Meanwhile, the event in Singapore added a bit of twist compare to MYD which is introducing Singapore’s Carbon Pricing Act and its relationship with to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. This session was facilitated by Environmental Law Student Association, National University of Singapore (ELSA-NUS). MYD member, Shaqib Shahril been invited as a panel for this session. The session continued with a storytelling workshop and writing tips – especially aimed for those who are going to COP24. It then followed by a pitching project by Yale-NUS College Student and their plans in COP24 as a part of Singapore Youth Delegation.
Both Pre-COP sessions were really fruitful, covering the basics of this year’s COP24 – relating the Paris Agreement and Katowice Rulebook to national policy. Both of the Malaysian and Singaporean session has gathered approximately 40 ASEAN youths, with representation Malaysia and Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Japan.
The Pre-COP session in Singapore coincided with the ASEAN Summit 2018, whereby Singapore is the host for the ASEAN Meeting and high-level segments. Both session shows the credibility and position of youth from ASEAN in the climate change scene from this region.
We would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to WWF-Malaysia for supporting our workshop in Malaysia and our partners from ESI-NUS and SYCA, Melissa Low and Lastrina Hamid for making this capacity building workshop at an ASEAN scale into reality.
MYD members attending the KWAP Inspire: Environmental Conference 2018
The Malaysian Youth Delegation representatives such as myself along with Syahirah and Jasmin had the chance to participate in the KWAP Inspire: Environmental Conference 2018 hosted by Kumpulan Persaraan (Diperbadankan) also known as The Retirement Fund (Incorporated).
MYD members had the chance to take a selfie with Sir Robert Swan, one of the greatest explorer on earth
It was a two days conference, held on the 17th and 18th July 2018 at Grand Hyatt, Kuala Lumpur. It was the first of its kind of conference hosted by company, hailing its participants from NGOs, business firms and investment companies to come together and share the ideas of incorporating sustainable development into their corporations and breaking through into a greener economy.
There were many prominent speakers that spoke at the conference that had engaged the participants, myself included, with their ideas and what they had done in their respective companies so far to really combat climate change and promote sustainability.
A speaker really stood out when he said, ‘The financial sector are the key player to combating to climate change. We are the ones that invest in businesses that cuts down forests and release toxic substances into the rivers and oceans, we certainly have the power to change that. So won’t we?’ Various topics such as green financing to assessing climate risks in investing in fossil fuel to challenges of food production in Asia and many more were simply an eye opener for me. It was amazing to see how most of the speakers had strategies and passion to reducing carbon footprint in their investments.
There were also presentation of environmental advocates such Sir Robert Swan, Nadya Hutagalung and Reef Check Malaysia. They presented theirs works and contributions to creating awareness amongst stakeholders and local communities on the dangerous effects of global warming, declining number of wildlife animals and the current condition of the earth.
Nadya Hutagalung speaking on the conversation work she’s done on elephants
No doubt it is so inspiring to see all these people telling their stories of their journey but the particular presenter that had me feeling so inspired was United Nations Environment Programme Ambassador and TV Host, Nadya Hutagalung. She spoke with confidence and pain in her voice as she presented the stories of what was happening to the elephants in Africa and Indonesia. She told the tales of her journey to not only increase awareness on the fate that lies for these elephants but also her conservation works as well.
My mind was racing, how could elephants be murdered just for their trunks that’s being sold off for the ivory trade? And most importantly, what can we do to stop this? She told the story of a mouse and an elephant where the moral of the story was that, no matter how little you are, you have a role into doing something that’s big. That definitely had me excited, I can do something to be a part of saving this world. Nadya is absolutely charismatic and engaging as a speaker, also an inspirational role model to look up to.
I attended the environmental conference on behalf of the Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) along with Jasmin and Aaliyah (Figure 1) hosted by the Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP) also known as the Retirement Fund (Incorporated) from July 17th – 18th, 2018 at the Grand Hyatt, Kuala Lumpur.
Figure 1. Members of MYD. From the right side; Aaliyah, Jasmin and I
The theme of the conference is Igniting Action for a Better Tomorrow. KWAP intends to inspire Malaysia’s corporations to adopt Environmental, Social and governance (ESG) practices in their businesses. The conference brought together environmental and investment experts and leaders from all over the world to discuss the current and future trends also the issues critical to sustainable investment.
“Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t accomplish your dreams.” said Robert Swan.
My favourite part of the conference was the speech by Robert Swan. Robert Swan is one of the history’s best explorers (Figure 2). To travel to the south and north poles was his dream since he was small. He worked his tail off to find sponsors for him to travel to the south and north poles but no one responded. He ended up working as a taxi driver in the London town to support his journey to the poles.
I find his story was very inspiring. More young people should know and read about his struggles. This is to boost up their energy to achieve their dreams and to never give up. “Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t accomplish your dreams.” said Robert.
Figure 2. A selfie of Robert Swan with the MYD members
Robert Swan had witnessed the impacts of climate change directly during his journey. He noticed there was a change in his eye colour and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reported the Antarctic was struck by a large hole in the ozone layer while he was there. He was exposed directly to ultraviolet radiations in his journey. “A survivor is a person that looks at a threat and do something about it.” said Robert.
He also observed the Arctic ice melted four months earlier before the melting season (summer). This shows the global warming is real and the earth is heating up faster than the usual time. We have always seen and read about the sea levels are rising and the ice poles are melting in the news but never have we experienced the direct impact of climate change. Climate change is real.
Listening to Robert’s story made me realised that people should deal with climate change issues seriously because we cannot turn back time once our whole land is sank in the sea water.
For the first time ever, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) (KWAP), also known as the Retirement Fund (Incorporated), hosted the KWAP Inspire: Environmental Conference 2018. It was a two days conference, held on 17th and 18th July 2018 at the Grand Hyatt, Kuala Lumpur.
The conference intends to connect the business world, government and environmental activists together to achieve environmental-friendly practices in business. Partnered with WWF as key knowledge advisor, the conference hopes to support the sustainable development agenda to ensure a better environment for future generations.
Impressive line up of speakers were the main attraction for corporates, industry players and NGOs alike to attend the conference. The breadth of topics covered between both days were also eye-catchers, with presentations and conversations revolving around climate finance, stranded assets, fossil fuel, Paris Agreement, ESG, food security and climate risks.
Malaysian Youth Delegations representatives at the KWAP Inspire Environmental Conference 2018
Among the prominent speakers include representatives from PRI, InfraCo Asia, Standard Chartered Berhad, Amanie Group, United Nations Environment Programme, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, AXA Investment Managers, Sime Darby Plantations, McDonalds, Global Environment Centre, Malaysian Nature Society, PACOS Trust and Bursa Malaysia.
I participated in the conference on behalf of the Malaysian Youth Delegation, along with Syahirah and Aaliyah. Coming from a youth NGO that focuses on climate change policy and education, we were very eager to attend the conference and learn on the private sector’s perspective on climate change, in particularly related to climate finance. I must admit, I have very little knowledge on climate finance as it is not an area which I am particularly keen on, albeit equally important nevertheless. Attending this conference is definitely me stepping out of my comfort zone, to learn more on a topic that was very alien to me.
Looking Beyond Fossil Fuel
with Robert Swan, One of the world’s greatest explorers.
Transitioning to a low-carbon future paves a path towards opportunities in the renewable energy sector, but at the same time, leave carbon-intensive energy assets stranded. Not only that, the value of real estate, agriculture and infrastructure will be affected. Thus, it is important for fossil fuel companies to diversify its portfolio.
However, although the Paris Agreement put forward an increase in ambition for targets, many firms and investors are still unsure of the mechanism of how the emissions reductions will happen, and how much assets will be stranded in the nearby future.
Many asset owners are reanalysing environmental and safety issues in regards to investment strategies, making explicit references to Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) in development and execution of their investment strategies. In KWAP’s effort to promote ESG values and standards, it had set aside RM800mil to be invested in international initiatives through fund managers locally and internationally. It aims to grow its ESG portfolio to 70% from 50%-60% in order to strengthen it capabilities in responsible investments.
Addressing the Elephant in the Room
Satya Tripathi, Senior Adviser for 2030 Agenda from Sustainable Development, United Nations Environment Programme, was one of the speakers in the “Innovative Approaches to Green Finance” session. He touched on the Emission Gap Report and stated that we are unable to keep global temperature rise well below 2C, preferably 1.5C, without private finance. We have to address the elephant in the room – and the elephant in the room when it comes to combating climate change is, the private sector. The question is, how are private sectors, as key players, been neglecting their contribution towards the health of the environment?
Feeling Left Out of the Conversation
I had the opportunity to have a conversation with the CEO of KWAP, Datuk Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Ahmad. Datuk Wan has great vision for KWAP upholding sustainability, reiterating KWAP’s commitment as a responsible investor. KWAP became a signatory of the United Nations-supported Principles for Sustainable Investment (PRI) in February 2018, making its mark as the first pension fund in Malaysia to demonstrate commitment towards responsible investing.
There’s a reason why the KWAP Inspire Environmental Conference 2018 is one of its kind in Malaysia. Datuk Wan expressed his frustration that financial sectors are often excluded in conversations when it comes to climate change, particularly in Malaysia. The government and NGOs know their roles in addressing climate change, but the private sector and financial sector still need to catch up. So, how do we improve the state of communication in between sectors and bridge the gap?
Providing Inclusive Platform
with CEO of KWAP, Datuk Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Ahmad.
Did I mention that the conference costs RM1,880 per person to attend?
KWAP Inspire Environmental Conference 2018 brought big sponsors from the asset management sector, including Affin Hwang Capital, Aiiman, Amundi, BNP Paribas, CIMB Principal, Glennmont Partners, Kenanga, Nikko Am and Serba Dinamik, among others. It also brought big names in the environmental industry such as Robert Swan, One of the world’s greatest explorers, and Nadya Hutagalung, Eco-Activist and TV Personality. The conference was priced at such as it was meant to attract corporate attendees – and the content of the conference reflected just that.
The price of the conference raised a debate on whether the conference was being “inclusive”, or rather it is “just another fancy corporate conference”. The Malaysian Youth Delegation is very grateful to be invited to attend the conference as I believe that we learned a lot on the role of financial institutions in addressing climate change, and the knowledge that we have obtained will definitely be beneficial as we know understand better.
However, the platform limits opportunities for students, NGOs, and interested individuals who are keen on the topic discussed but constrained due to financial capabilities.
Perhaps the first step for the financial sectors to be included in the climate change conversation in Malaysia, is to be inclusive.
To: The Secretariat, Committee of Institutional Reforms, Council of Eminent Persons
Date: 28 May 2018
Subject: Recommendations for Institutional Reforms and Issues
Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) is a Malaysian civil society organisation that represents the local youth climate movement at international climate conferences, such as the annual Conference of the Parties (COP), part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Dedicated to raising awareness of climate policies amongst Malaysians, the youth are mentored and trained to translate technical policies into more relevant and relatable information for the public. MYD endeavours to hold Malaysian leaders accountable for the promises made at international climate summits.
This paper outlines the structural defects that stunt the decision-making process to address climate change, and subsequently offers an appropriate redressal mechanism for good climate governance.
2. Pakatan Harapan’s historic win in the 14th General Election serves as a symbol of renaissance in governance and democracy. The Malaysian Youth Delegation commends the Committee for Institutional Reforms’ invitation for written representations from the public as it shows the ruling coalition’s encouragement for the people to be involved in the democratic process, and its inclusivity when it takes into account of public opinion. In that spirit, we would like to propose several institutional reforms in regards to administration of climate change and environment.
3. In accordance to Janji 39 of Pakatan Harapan Manifesto, the National Coordination Council for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation (Majlis Koordinasi Kebangsaan untuk Adaptasi dan Mitigasi Iklim) will be established to coordinate Federal, State and Local Government actions against Climate Change.
4. Taking cue from the governance of the National Steering Committee on climate change, we call for actions to enable collaboration between agencies to align and integrate actions towards climate change mitigation and adaptation, through transparent information dissemination and redefined agency objectives in the National Coordination Council for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation. This is because our existing policies and frameworks on climate change i.e. 11th Malaysia Plan, National Physical Plan 3, National Policy on Climate Change (2009), Low Carbon Cities Framework (2011) as well as other related policies for instance energy, waste management, agriculture etc. must be streamlined for coherent execution.
A. Greater Integration in the Ministry and Agencies
5. The Ministry of National Resources and Environment (NRE) must be retained, as it is an important portfolio in managing Malaysia’s vast and rich natural resources and its climate policy. It plays a crucial role in maintaining 50% of our forest cover, which was initially pledged in the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 by Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, then later reiterated by former Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak in 2015.
6. The functions of the various departments involved in the conservation and management of natural resources must be reviewed and integrated where necessary to ensure there is no functional overlap that leads to inefficiency and unaccountability. For example, although Jabatan Perhutanan Semenanjung Malaysia (JPSM) functions to manage forests and sustainable use of forest resources while Jabatan Perlindungan Hidupan Liar (PERHILITAN) functions to protect wildlife, both departments involve biodiversity conservation. Thus there should be a coordinated mechanism for implementation and monitoring to fulfill this purpose.
7. The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Industry (MOA) must also break away from the ‘silo approach’ and work with the Ministry of NRE as it involves the management of our natural resources, the focus on yield and revenue in research must be balanced with conservation, sustainability and food security. For instance conversion of natural forest to agricultural land use may affect carbon sequestration as well as release of greenhouse gas (GHG).
8. Conservation on Marine Species should also be re-delineated as whether it is more appropriate to be managed under NRE or Department of Fisheries (under MOA) as conservation is crucial to sustainable use of marine resources. On top of that, there must be an emphasis on coral reef conservation as more than 55% of the released carbon is captured by marine organisms, and coral bleaching is one of the major causes of carbon sink reduction. Otherwise, the MOA would simply be counterproductive to the NRE which would amount to wasteful expenses of the taxpayer’s money.
9. Likewise, in order to achieve the goal of 40% carbon emissions reduction by 2020 as stated in Janji 39, focus must be directed beyond the energy sector to include other GHG-contributing sectors such as the transportation and waste management which requires working together with the relevant ministries.
10. We would like to highlight the following Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation actions that should be placed under the new Ministry of Natural Resources or under the purview of Majlis Koordinasi Kebangsaan untuk Adaptasi dan Mitigasi Iklim based on the First Biennial Update Report (BUR) that was submitted to the UNFCCC in 2016:
Call for Actions:
On Climate Change Mitigation:
11. Increase access to affordable and sustainable energy. The current mechanism that impedes wider progress are as follows:
Limited funding constricts wider deployment of Renewable Energy through the Feed-in-tariff (FiT) mechanism.
Limited financial resources and capacity obstructs the development of a sound and holistic energy efficiency plan.
12. Practice interagency inclusive decision-making. The current defects that impedes wider integrations are as follows:
Lack of coordination among relevant local, state, federal agencies for waste management due to restricted applicability of legislation in certain states.
Lack of effective coordination has hindered the implementation of the 3R (reuse, reduce and recycle) programme.
13. ReviveGHG Inventory Projects, NAMA & MRV. GHG identification and quantification are essential to track progress, currently we:
Lack of proper assessment tools and skills to enable accurate quantification of GHG emissions.
14. Regulate Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Activities. The current mechanism that impedes wider progress are as follows:
Competing socio-economic development puts strain on land use patterns, while economic valuation of ecosystem services provided by forests remain largely invisible and undervalued.
Land use change affects peat-lands and associated peat fires result in increased emissions.
15. Reduce Emission from Transportation Sector. The current defects that impedes wider integrations are as follows:
The current policy on fuel subsidy without proportional incentive for hybrid and electric vehicles gives rise to more private vehicle use that would lead to significant growth in energy consumption and GHG emission in the transportation sector.
The enhancement of the public transportation system that has expanded beyond mass connection to bus system will counter the move to reduce GHG emissions unless the planned 10, 000 new buses includes a mix of electric and Euro 6 fuel efficient buses.
Technology compatibility challenges for certain vehicle engine models in using progressively higher composition of palm oil biofuel in biodiesel blends for vehicles.
16. Reduce Emission from Livestock Production. The increase in meat consumption has led to the increase in GHG, as such:
The growth in human population and increasing income per capita, in turn increases the demand in meat production, accounting emissions from livestock by-products, as well as direct and indirect emissions.
The MOA should work with relevant agencies to monitor and increase research on the effects and consumption of the livestock industry, moving towards more sustainable practices of organic and plant-based farming for mitigation measures.
On Climate Change Adaptation:
17. Expedite a National Adaptation Plan. The current defects that impedes wider integrations are as follows:
Approach to adaptation has been largely on a sectoral basis in response to specific needs, leading to lack of holistic and advanced planning for adaptation to climate change.
Lack of capacity in interpreting data from high-resolution climate change projection scenarios for adaptation assessment and application in various sectors.
18. Assess coastal vulnerability.
Detailed sea-level rise studies have only been conducted at some vulnerable coastal areas.
Impacts of extreme weather events continuously take a heavy toll on lives, livelihoods and infrastructures, despite cumulative efforts on flood mitigation.
Implementation of Integrated Flood Management (IFM), Integrated Flood forecasting and early warning systems (EWS) needs to be expanded to all river basins, taking into account the role of forests in IFM.
Assessments of impacts of sea-level rise, and its impact on groundwater and saline intrusion taking into consideration socio-economic effects need to be improved.
19. Revise major development without climate change adaptation.
Essential infrastructure such as roads, railways, seaports and airports, public amenities and private properties are currently constructed without factoring in the impacts of climate change.
Increased challenges of reducing energy consumption for cooling purposes, while durability of conventional building materials could be shortened by excessive heat.
20. Study food security and sustain farmers’ livelihood.
The yields of crops are susceptible to extreme weather patterns and could affect food security.
Smallholders and farmers slow to adopt good agricultural practices that could help them adapt to climate change.
21. Expedite biodiversity conservation and adaptation.
Limited data and information on impacts of climate change on species and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems available to public.
B. Inclusion of Youth in Climate Policy
22. We call for the inclusion of youth representation from a civil society organisation in the National Coordination Council for Climate Adaptation and Mitigation. Intergenerational equity lies in the core of sustainable development, that is, development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is imperative then, that the voice of the youths are well-represented in the decision-making process as they will be facing the consequences of policies that determine the management of natural resources as well as the irreversible effects of climate change.
C. Revamping Climate Education Policies
23. Comprehensive climate and environment education be made or included in core subjects for primary and secondary education. This is important in providing a holistic understanding of the interdependent relationship between the climate-earth system and humanity to invoke climate-consciousness among students when they analyse real-world issues like sustainable development, poverty and food security.
24. Building the capacity of students in school encourage changes in their attitudes behaviour builds a more informed and engaged society that conserves and consumes responsibly.
25. As Malaysia turns a new leaf, many reforms will be made. In the midst of this, we must ensure the focus on climate action is not lost. MYD is encouraged by the affirmations of the PH government, and looks forward to mutual engagement for a brighter, safer, and sustainable Malaysia.