Reflection on Paris Agreement pt2: Another Side

Reflection on Paris Agreement pt2: Another Side

Photo taken at Tuileries Garden, Paris. Is he face palming because of the things he worried or, is he crying due to joy? You decide.

Photo taken at Tuileries Garden, Paris. Is he face palming because of the things he worried or, is he crying due to joy? You decide.

This article is a continuation of “Reflection on Paris Agreement: Part 1”. (http://powershiftmalaysia.org.my/reflection-on-paris-agreement/)

My previous article focuses on the bright side of Paris Agreement. I would like to reiterate that all points mentioned in both articles, are based on my personal reflection and thoughts. You may find that this read-through takes more time than you expect, especially if the information is dense or complex.

Technical corrections of Shall and Should

During the Paris Committee meeting on 12 December (the last day), the Secretariat announced that there are some technical corrections to the final draft text. Immediately after the announcement, the agreement was gavelled by Sir Laurent Fabius, President of COP21.

One of the technical corrections which I am most concern, is the replacement of the word ‘shall’ to ‘should’ in Article 4.4 (page 22).

“Developed country Parties should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets…” (Article 4.4, Paris Agreement)

Replacement of one word may change the content of the whole text. Albeit Paris Agreement is an agreement with legally binding force, the word ‘should’ is just a “selective” principle while the word ‘shall’ is an obligation. In other words, developed country Parties have the right to choose to continue taking the lead, or not. The word ‘shall’ is to differentiate the responsibility of developed and developing countries based on Common but Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR) principle. Since the word ‘should’ is in use now, the responsibility for both developed and developing countries is at the same level.

Loss and Damage

Paragraph 52 in the decision part stated that “Agrees that Article 8 of the Agreement does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation”. (Article 8, is the agreement for Loss and Damage). This means developed countries will not hold liability for the damage they had caused, by centuries due to historic emission. Frankly speaking, the situation would be like: “Oops, we acknowledge your loss and we do feel sorry about it, unfortunately we are unable to compensate your loss.” Besides, the language in Article 8  is also weak due to the use of the word ‘should’ and ‘may’ in 8.3 and 8.4 respectively (page 26).

Uncertainty

There are uncertainties in the agreement. The agreement is perceived to be an achievement for Obama’s administration, or to the world. But, the presidential term for the United States President Barack Obama will end in Jan 2017, which also means his term will end in almost a year’s time. He will not be able to oversee the implementation of the agreement. Besides, United States may disagree with the agreement, if the President for the next term does not have the same interest as President Obama did. This “what if scenario” also applies to countries from all around the world. In a plain text, the success of the agreement depends on political stability as well.
As for the finance, the issues on developed countries fulfilling their pledges of $100 billion annually, starting in 2020 are still unclear. What is missed in the agreement – there are no explicit targets in the text.

Conclusion

“The agreement is not perfect, but what is in life?” said by Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC during her interview with CNN after the agreement is adopted.

Some people said the Paris Agreement is a flaw. Well, nothing is perfect in this world but nothing will happen if nothing is being done. As for me, Paris Agreement will be a turning point. We will see a shift from fossil fuel era to a more sustainable and renewable energy era in the near future.

Last but not least, the Paris Agreement is just a stack of paperwork full of unsound obligations, sound actions are required in order to achieve the objectives of the agreement. Domestic actions such as mitigation and adaptation need to be done to achieve the contribution listed in the INDC, without compromising the needs of the people and ecosystem and, inline with the objective of Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)(page 4)

Written by: Thomas Lai
Edited by : Merryn Choong

Sharing my Like’s and “Meh” in COP21

Sharing my Like’s and “Meh” in COP21

I was at COP21 for both weeks. There are things that i like and dislike.

What I Like

Al Gore speech

I attended 2 events which the presentation was delivered by Al Gore. His events were always full house. One of his events “Impacts and Solutions to the Climate Crisis” was held at La Loire, which is the biggest plenary that can fit at least 1,200 audiences. Yet, the whole plenary was full and some of audience even need to sit on the floor. He is such an influential guy. His speech was like a magnet. It attracts everyone’s attention. While delivering his presentation, he also show us some video clips that show the devastating effect of climate change. One of the video clip really struck my heart and i almost cried. The video clip show an African guy was being interviewed about his likelihood when the drought is still persist. Halfway through the interview, that guy just break into tears. Together with the background music, it make the atmosphere so sentimental. Besides, I saw people taking out tissue as well. *if you know what I mean*

Relaxation room

“Are you kidding me?” was my first thought when i heard these 2 words. I believe you have the same feeling as me right now. The relaxation room indeed is a nice amenity. The room equipped with comfy sofa bed. The room is also very popular for people who want to take a short nap due to its peaceful and quiet atmosphere, except the fact that sometimes you may heard people snoring.  

 

The relaxation room at COP21

The relaxation room at COP21. Everyone was taking a short nap after a tired day. Photo from ClimDev – Africa

Because of it popularity, the room was always packed and it is very hard to find a seat during daytime. There is only once that the room is empty as that day is Sunday (6th December) and there is no event happening in COP21. To be frank, the sofa bed felt more comfortable than the bed in my apartment. I stayed in the room for the whole afternoon to write my article, not forgetting taking a short nap.

Green Zone

Green Zone aka Climate Generation Space is a huge space for debates, knowledge-sharing, discussions and conviviality. I like Green Zone because the atmosphere here are much lively and colorful as compared to Blue Zone. I thought I was at a huge adult version of kindergarten when I first step into the zone. Moreover, I heard quite a few times that the fish n chip here are delicious. Too bad I missed the opportunity to taste it.

A medium sized #COP21 sculpture

A medium sized #COP21 sculpture

Near Indigenous People Pavilion

Drawing near Indigenous People Pavilion at Green Zone

Bilateral meeting

I attended 2 bilateral meeting organised by MYD. They are the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC)  and Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC). After listening to both of the parties, I realised that I am not the only one who felt lost and frustrated during COP21. COP21 indeed is a huge circus with many events happen concurrently, which make us want to explore here and there and ended up getting lost. Well, getting lost is part of growing up isn’t it? By getting lost, one will know what is his main goal is about. I realised my area of interest is policy/negotiation tracking. I would like to learn more about policy and negotiation technique in the future.

Food is everywhere

In COP21, you hardly possible get hungry because you can find food anywhere. The only problem you need to worry is whether you have sufficient money or not. The food i like the most is the pastry because it is cheap and filling. Among all pastry, chocolate pain au lait is my favourite.

Choc pain au lait - my favourite pastry

Choc pain au lait – my favourite pastry

Charging station

There are 3 different charging methods in COP21. One is the charging lockers, second is a charging “tree” station and the third is the bicycle charging station. I have tried all. I discovered the charging lockers on my first day at COP21. As the name described, one can charge his electronic devices in the designated box and locked it. The key will be kept by the owner until he take back his devices. Having said that, the lockers were always occupied started from the end of 1st week, even early in the morning. *suspicious*  

The charging “tree” station is using plug n charge method and there are plenty of plugs available in a “tree”. Not many people were using this because the devices will be exposed to public and there is a risk of getting stolen.

Bicycle charging station is the coolest innovation among all. State of art is simple. You cycle, you get electricity. Thus, this will not be a good choice for lazy people.

Bicycle charging station

Bicycle charging station

What i “meh”

Closed events

Some of the negotiation process like ADP spin-off group meetings are still closed. In other words, people like me who is a yellow badge holder (observer) was not allowed to participate. I have felt a bit frustrated because I am unable to get first hand information or get to know what is going on during the negotiation process. In order to achieve maximum transparency and accountability, participation from civil society is a must.

Time consuming to walk from Blue Zone to Green Zone

Due to stringent security measures, we are required to walk for at least 15 mins to reach one of the zones albeit they are just next to each other. The most irritating part is we need to go through security check per entry. In other words, a return trip will require 2 security checks. All electronic devices need to be taken out and put in one box, winter coat or windbreaker need to be in one box and bags need to be in one box too. #hectic

Cold water

The water from all water dispensers in COP21 are cold. Hot water is not available publicly and i need to ask from the waiter in food stalls. Sometime, i was not allowed to do so unless i buy a drink from them. #cunning In my opinion, hot water dispensers should be provided as well so that i can brew MILO – my favourite drink since childhood.

Written by Thomas 

 

Importance of NGOs in UNFCCC

The participation of NGOs in UNFCCC is increasing in significance. Currently, there are around 1,400 non-governmental organizations participated as observers for the annual UN climate change conference (a.k.a COP). The number may increase every year due to the advancement of information technology and greater awareness on democracy.

Thus, have you ever wonder why NGOs participation are important? Please refer below for some of the importance of NGOs in UNFCCC.

Information collection and dissemination

NGOs has much to offer in information collection and dissemination. NGOs representatives are able to admit the negotiation session as observers and gather important information. The information gathered will be compiled daily and produce some useful daily newsletters, such as ECO Newsletter by CAN and TWN newsletter. Despite the differences of each type of daily newsletters, they do provide latest information about the UNFCCC process. Besides, the newsletters also will be available online and anyone with internet access is able to read them. Indirectly, this will raise awareness.

Provide opinion to the decision makers

Research and policy documents done by NGOs were released parallel to the meetings. For instance, Climate Action Network (CAN) submitted an annual policy document titled “The Paris Package: A Springboard for Sustained, Transformative Change” prior to UNFCCC COP21. CAN is a worldwide network of over 950 NGOs in more than 110 countries, working to promote government and individual actions to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. Some of the highlights of the document are equity and dynamic differentiation, pre and post 2020 finance and 5 year periodic review on adaptation, mitigation and finance. You may read the full document for further insights.

Having said that, the documents produced by NGOs may not be taken into consideration by the national delegates as generally they rely on official channels such as IPCC. Even they read the documents, there is often little feedback and very limited opportunity for back and forth dialogue.  However, there is a chance that the document could shed some light on the problem of climate change.

Transparency and Accountability

The involvement of NGOs increases transparency of the process, thus improves democratic legitimacy of global climate governance. A government or intergovernmental organisation that operates behind the curtain of secrecy is often hard to win, be it the trust or the support of its citizens. Hence, it is a necessity for them to build public support by seeking legitimacy and credibility for the decisions proposed. As Thomas Weiss notes:

“NGOs are . . . capable of making sensitive or politically important information public – something that intergovernmental organizations often are reluctant or loathe to do because of their dependence on member states for resources”

Besides, NGOs may hold decision makers in international arenas publicly accountable for decisions in ways that the intergovernmental system itself could never accomplish. Accountability and transparency are interconnected. Higher transparency will increase the accountability of the process.

 

Despite these, some of the negotiation process like ADP spin-off group meetings are still limited to national delegates. In other words, observers are not allowed to participate. This lead to the issues of legitimacy and transparency are being questioned. Prof Gurdial Singh from Malaysia and the Chief spokesperson for Like Minded Developing Countries too, brought up this issue during one of the plenary session.

Mobilisation of public

As mentioned earlier, NGOs often have the ability and capacity to disseminate the information. Thus, these could facilitate mobilising public opinion. NGOs can influence the public through campaigns and wide outreach as they often work with grassroots communities or even work together across national borders.  The mobilisation effort can even be amplified with the development of information technology. Information technology such as internet and smartphones ease the communication between NGOs and the public as well.  

Faith based organisation – extra hand

Faith based organisations have the potential in curbing catastrophic effects of environmental degradation. They have the ability to facilitate mobilisation of public opinion. Partha Dasgupta, an economist and Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate and atmospheric scientist, together made a watershed appeal to religious leaders, for assistance in stopping environmental degradation due to anthropogenic activities.

“I think that a lot of people see the religious contribution as a cosy topic which we should only discuss on Sunday morning, but it could prove decisive. An organisation like the Catholic Church is remarkably effective at leading a famine relief campaign. These are mechanisms that we should be using to tackle other global problems, including stopping governments from riding roughshod over people’s lives with disastrous effects for biodiversity – Prof. Partha Dasgupta, University of Cambridge”

On top of these, faith leaders also play an active role in combating climate change. Within this year, Pope Francis has signed a common declaration of intent to combat environmental damage, human trafficking and, the launch of first Islamic Declaration on Climate Change.

Written by: Thomas Lai
Edited by : Merryn Choong

Meeting Inspiring People in COP21 – Pt. 2

Meeting Inspiring People in COP21 – Pt. 2

Pavlos_photo

Hi! I am Pavlos Georgiadis from Greece. I am an ethnobotanist, activist and start-up entrepreneur. I worked as a researched in 11 countries in Europe, Asia and America before returning to Greece in 2012, where I focus on agrifood innovation, participatory rural development and environmental politics.

What do you do for a living? 

I have created Calypso, one of Greece’s first family farming startups, after the financial crisis hit home at 2011. This is an attempt to revitalise an ancient olive grove on the north-eastern coast of Greece, through a combination of local food traditions and agroecology. I have also co-founded We Deliver Taste, a food innovation company which tries to connect good food producers with responsible consumers.

What is your role in Paris COP21? What are you looking forward in this conference?

I was at COP21 as member of the international Climate Tracker team. We have been following the climate negotiations very closely over the last few months, and we were in Paris for the final round. Our aim was to put our negotiators in the national spotlight and climate change on the front pages of the world’s media. Our team has published more than 400 articles during the two weeks of the COP, adding a small contribution to these negotiations.

What are the major climate changes induced disasters that may affect your country?

Greece has more than 6000 islands, and more than 200 of them are inhabited. All these communities are potentially on the front line of climate disasters. Being a member of the European Union, Greece belongs to the worlds’ most developed nations. However, the debt crisis has led to a 25% reduction of the country’s GDP in the last five years, leaving half of its youth unemployed. With the economy in such a grim situation, and the social welfare system totally dismantled, what worries me most is how Greece is going to catch up with its commitments towards climate action.

What are you or your organisation / government doing in your country on climate change?

Against a background of government inaction against climate change, the civil society is on the move in Greece. There is virtually no media coverage of the issue in the country. There is no public understanding of the problem and our biggest task in 2016 is to change that. Unfortunately, not many people from Greece participated in COP21, however,

the few of us that were in Paris are already discussing ways of bringing climate change to the public dialogue.

This occurs in a social setting where people are worried about plundering incomes and unemployment. The challenge is to turn this around, and offer plausible alternatives for a new economy that is climate resilient, socially inclusive and empowering to citizens. This is a process that involves multi-stakeholder consultations, campaigning and advocacy. What makes our work in Greece interesting is that, in lack of funds and political sense, we the citizens will have to do on our own.

Any tips you learn at COP that you would like to share with us? 

Amidst so much war and conflict around the world, with the youth challenged by decisions taken from the previous generation, we must bear in mind that the world has agreed to solve this problem. And it is us, the youth, that need to claim our role and responsibility in this effort.

The COP should remind us that here we have a unique opportunity to steward our planet. Do we want to be part of this process and now?

Do you have any upcoming events happening that you would like to share with us?

There are three major events in 2016, that should definitely draw the attention of active citizens around the world:

  • Habitat III – the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development  – Quito, Ecuador; 17-20 October, 2016.
  • Convention on Biological Diversity COP13 – Cancun, Mexico; 4-17 December 2016
  • World Humanitarian Summit  – Istanbul, Turkey; 23-24 May, 2016

Have you attend any parallel / side events at Paris other than COP21? If yes, can you highlight the event(s)? 

My stay in Paris started with a prayer ceremony by indigenous communities at a park opposite Bataclan, on the site where victims of the Paris attacks lost their lives a few days before the COP21 begins. Being a Climate Tracker, after the COP started I had to spend most of my time at Le Bourget, where the negotiations were taking place. I have followed the discussions on climate solutions related to regenerative agriculture and agroforesty. I also listened to a very interesting lecture by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs on Deep Decarbonisation.


nesha

Hello, I am Nesha Ichida from Indonesia. I’m an online bachelor student studying Natural Science at the Open University UK. With this I’m also doing volunteer jobs and internships to gain more field work experience before I graduate. My passion is mainly on wildlife research and conservation but focusing more on the marine site. Although 2 years ago, I’ve put an interest in sustainable living as well after seeing the effects of climate change in my country and in the Arctic.

Tell us your purpose at COP21 and what you are looking forward at COP21?

As one of the Indonesian youth delegates, to speak at the youth session at the Indonesian pavillion, build international network, and to interview several scientist and climate activist for the “Youth4Planet Program”.

I would like to know what are the major climate changes induced disasters that may affect your country?

Forest fires, coral bleaching, drought, floods, El Nino, animal extinctions, food shortages, health and economy risk.

What are you or your organisation / government doing in your country on climate change?

Personally, I am still doing my best to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable living and reducing our carbon footprint through social media as I think every bit of change from each of us counts.

Any tips you learn at COP that you would like to share with us?

It is important to keep our goal in mind and not let green washing companies influence us. We need to build international connection to combat this problem and we youths are the ones who need to get involve the most as our future are what is at stake.

Have you attend any parallel / side events at Paris other than COP21? If yes, can you highlight the event(s)?

  • Earth To Paris (Petit Palais), meeting my two conservation heroines, Dr. Jane Goodall and Dr. Sylvia Earle. And also watching all the other celebrities talk about the importance for action in climate change
  • Exxon vs People Mock trial court (somewhere in Paris), listening to all the witness from around the world whom have been affected by climate change and how the fossil fuel industry have destroyed their home was devastating but very eye opening as well.

1

Dian Anggraini was selected as a member of the mentor for Indonesian Youth Delegation for COP 16 UNFCCC in Cancun Mexico, COP17 UNFCCC in Durban, South Africa, COP 18 UNFCCC in Qatar and Indonesia Delegation for COP 21 UNFCCC in Paris.

In January 2011, Ms. Dian was trained by the Honorable Al-Gore and joined The Climate Reality Project Indonesia, a non-profit organization that serves as the Indonesian component of a grassroots movement of more than 7,800 diverse and dedicated volunteers worldwide. In the last four years she has been active as a Climate Leader, speaking and presenting about the climate crisis and its solution to the general public skills.

In the same year, Dian also participated in The Asia Pacific Leadership Congress in Melbourne, Australia.  Organized by the Australian Conservation Foundation, the congress focused on leadership, communication and engagement skills to influence and mobilize communities for a healthy environment.

In 2013, Dian participated in Climate Change Educator Skill Share and internship in The Climate Reality Project Australia for 8 weeks.

“Since the training, I appeared in international forums as well as local forums to present climate issues to various fields. I obtained climate knowledge from the training, as well as other media and events that I have participated in. As a climate leader, I like to communicate and connect with my audience especially towards the youth. I like to share some of my sustainable habits I picked up along my journey to my community especially at work and school.”

Tell me Dian, what are you looking forward at COP21?

My aims at Paris COP21 are to support our Indonesia negotiators and to help running activities in Indonesia Pavilion. I believe all our activities in Indonesia Pavilion are worth spreading and I believe our Indonesia negotiators succeeded in giving good inputs for the Paris Agreement. I hope all countries are genuinely concern and ready to cooperate to reduce the impacts of climate change for a better life.

What are the major climate changes induced disasters that are affecting your country?

Haze and Dryness resulting from summer long and forest fires.

What are you or your organisation / government doing in your country on climate change?

We are working together with the government and other community to provide communications and education to the youth and to hold climate-related activities for students such as Indonesia Youth for Climate Change , FGD and seminars.

Any tips you learn at COP21 that you would like to share with us?

Always use the social media to communicate “climate change issues” and coordinate with the government, relevant organizations and communities to promote climate awareness activities.

Do you have any upcoming events happening on Post-COP that you would like to share with us?

Yes we have upcoming Post-COP21 events but we are still organizing them.


barretteHello, I am Naomi Ages from United States. I am the Climate Liability Project Lead at Greenpeace USA.  I work on establishing legal, political, financial, and social liability for climate change.  I also work on our climate justice campaign.  I am a lawyer by training and have previously worked on human rights and asylum issues. I focused on environmental law and international law in law school and planned to make it my career. At the COP21, I worked mainly on loss and damage and as a US policy advisory for the Greenpeace delegation. I also helped interpret and advise on general issues of international law and US law.

What are the major climate changes induced disasters that may affect your country?

In the US, major climate-change induced disaster are hard to attribute, scientifically. There is some evidence that the drought in California, super-storm Sandy, and the warming in Alaska are all being worsened by climate change.  In addition, low-lying cities like New York and New Orleans are threatened by rising sea levels and future storms.

What are you or your organisation / government doing in your country on climate change?

  1. The Obama administration has made climate change a “signature issue” and has instituted the Clean Power Plan to reduce emissions.
  2. Additionally, a number of sub-national actors (cities and states) have invested in renewable and pledged to reduce emissions faster than the US government has mandated)
  3. Greenpeace runs a climate and energy campaign that focuses on “keep it in the ground”, ending coal leasing and production, “green my internet”, and political lobbying where possible.

Any tips you learn at COP21 that you would like to share with us?

This was my first COP so it’s hard to say I have tips but I think not getting caught up in rumors is important. Also that trust between organizations and between delegates and observers is the key.

Have you attend any parallel / side events at Paris other than COP21? If yes, can you highlight the event(s)?

  • WECAN – “Women on the front lines of climate change” which was held at the Marriott Ambassador Hotel in Paris
  • “What Exxon Knew and what Exxon did anyway” hosted by Matt Pawa and CIEL and was held at Light Loft and Skies in Paris.

Written by Jolene

Meeting inspiring youths in COP21 (Part 1) – by Emily

Meeting inspiring youths in COP21 (Part 1) – by Emily

Throughout COP21, I bumped into many amazing youth from all around the globe and found their stories really inspiring!

emmaEmma Lewins, United Kingdom- United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC)

Emma is currently working for her local council back in the United Kingdom. She joined UKYCC since February 2015 and work under the team that focuses on understanding and following national climate related policies. This COP21 opportunity came at a surprise when there was a last minute vacancy from UKYCC and thus she decided to grab the chance. As Emma didn’t have access to the COP21 Blue Zone, she thus decided to help her teammates who were on the inside (of COP21) to connect with other people out there and be part of the climate movement. For instance, she had recently attended the ‘Red Lines’ protest in Paris where she was so touched and cried (happy tears) because she felt incredible to be with so many different people all united for the same cause!

She shared that this year, UKYCC asked hundreds of young people to complete postcards before they left for Paris to show the negotiators what the youth of the UK were most concerned about climate change. In this initiative, Emma thinks her involvement in getting 30 students to draw postcards was her biggest achievement in COP21. Besides, she also attended talks at the Climate Action Zone, including a great talk from Indigenous Women from around the world; where she found the connection between gender and climate fascinating.

Aside from COP21, Emma explained how climate change affects her country- where flooding is happening more frequently. Unfortunately, the UK government cut a lot of funding for flood defences in the past few years, and not much was seemed being done. Emma also raised the issue of historic responsibility in climate change is explained poorly in the UK. In addition, the local media framed Paris Agreement as a total success which to her, was frustrating. She also believes that UK youth are engaged in climate change, but not in the COP process and that more should be done on this.


received_10153290552373865Renee Juliene M. Karunungan, The Philippines- Dakila

Renee is a communications director and climate campaigner for an organization in the Philippines called Dakila. Dakila is a group of artists and young people that uses creative platforms for its advocacies. Renee also have been writing as a freelance journalist on climate issues and the negotiations in local and international media, feel free to follow her reneekarunungan.com. This year, she joined the climate tracker program in COP21 to track the negotiations and to interact with the Philippines national delegation.

She learnt that one can be effective in influencing public and policy by writing; and she was able to write two articles a day- which she think is a milestone for her. With the climate tracker program team, they also managed to do a lot of text analysis and info graphics every time a new text came out.

Renee thinks that the overall youth participation in COP needs to be improved by more engagement in the negotiations than just via actions outside of the negotiations. She also added on that Filipino youths involvement in COP is quite limited. She thinks that more Filipino youths should be engaged and it should be started from the national level. Nevertheless, Renee is proud of her country’s performance in COP21 where The Phillipines led the Climate Vulnerable Forum which pushed for 1.5 degree celcius and fought hard for human rights.


b83279d1-04d9-4c46-81c3-ca93a6beb85cBindu Bhandari, Nepal- CLIMATES

Meet Bindu from Nepal! She is a youth eco- campaigner under CLIMATES and Tunza Eco- generation, specifically working for youth sensitization in climate change. This is her first time in COP21 and she is here to learn about how negotiation works and to understand what exactly an observer does in COP. She have chosen to track negotiations focusing on Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Loss and Damage (L&D) which is more applicable to Nepal as an agricultural country.

She pointed out Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries in climate change, where the people depend on rain-fed agriculture system, thus intense drought and unpredictable high rainfall has serious effect in overall economy of the country. Moreover, as Nepal is a land of several high range mountains including highest Mount Everest; glacier melting has become a serious concern. Of all these, she appreciates the Nepal government initiatives by supporting REDD+ and is a member of UN REDD program. This approach aims to empower local communities with funding and capacity building for conserving existing forests and fostering community forests.

Regarding youth participation in Nepal, Bindu explains that although there is an appreciative attitude in participation among the urban youth in Nepal; however, participation is still lacking when it comes to climate change movements in villages and sub-urban areas. Bindu feels that the Nepalese government should include youth in the national delegation so that the youth can feel that they are part of it as well as enhance exposure to really understand the happenings in COP. She also thinks that it is more effective for the youth to engage and lobby their respective national negotiators or ministers compare to meeting up them back in respective countries.


IMG_3693Kristina Yasuda, Japan- Climate Youth Japan (CYJ)

Kristina Yasuda from Climate Youth Japan (CYJ) shared that COP21 was her first COP and she felt very lucky to be here as Japan is very strict on giving out accreditations. As the only representative from CYJ in COP21 for the first week, she fully utilised this opportunity to attend different types of side events, workshops and of course observing the negotiations.

Among the side events, Kristina found the initiatives done by private sectors to combat climate change very inspiring. As an example, there was an event that talked about hundreds of banks from around the world form alliance not to fund companies with high carbon footprint. She also raised her concern on gender equity in climate change where she saw that women are still marginalised. Thus, she hope to see more equal representation of both gender in the future, especially in Japan itself.

Through following the negotiations, she was very surprised to find out at how similar the negotiations actually are as compared to the debates in colleges. It was however a bit saddening to see Japan being not influential enough in the negotiations. She also thinks that youth involvement and participation in Japan is not sufficient which definitely need more work on it- to mobilise the government as well as to engage with universities who provide accreditations.

Kristina thinks that her biggest achievement in COP21 was to be able of positioning herself in an active international youth network. She explained that previously she stopped volunteering in environmental activities due to the lack of activeness in volunteering culture in Japan. However, meeting youth from different parts of world inspired her to return and she thinks COP21 further enhanced her motivation. She was also happy to see how her social updates being recognised and acknowledged by people and she feel that was essential because  not everyone can go to blue zone!


Qin Yuanyuan, China- China Youth Climate Action Network (CYCAN)

yun2

Yuan Yuan is a member of China Youth Climate Action Network (CYCAN)- COP Youth Delegation. CYCAN have been working on the “low-carbon campus” project back in China for years which conducts carbon accounting investigations on campus and coming up with effective solutions to reduce carbon emission. In COP21, Yuan Yuan aims to stretch out for more people and knowledge relevant to tackling climate change in various fields. She is keen to learn and witness the negotiation process, as well as to interact with people inside COP to understand their concerns’ on this issue.

In COP21, she had the chance to be part of the presenter in a press conference to issue ‘Sino-U.S. Youth Declaration on Climate Change’ with members from Sierra Student Coalition and it was recorded by UN press! Besides that, she managed to attend side events organised by Climate Strike or Climates that were held to unite young people around the world to articulate their concerns and demonstrate their efforts. She found these events were very encouraging and promising.

When it comes to youth participation in COP21, Yuan Yuan had her say on it- she personally believe that the overall youth participation has to be enhanced and enlarged, including youth participation back in China. In COP21, youths don’t get enough discourse rights in the conference, especially in the decision-making area; where she self-experienced it and it struck her hard. She thinks that the current existing platforms such as YOUNGO could be regarded as informational channels, yet still need space for improvement. To mobilise on this, she thinks that joint project is a way to engage more youths and exerting youth power in the process.

**View Part 2 of the interview here 🙂

Interview done by: Emily

p.s. I have wrote a tribute to my beloved interviewees too on how I got inspired by them and what I learnt from them. Check it out here!