Guess whom I met during the Conference of Youth (COY) in Tokyo? It was Roux Nicolas, a student from University of Tokyo. He is currently undertaking a graduate program on Environmental Science. During the first day of COY, he facilitated the ice-breaking session and came up with ground rules for COY11, Tokyo. Find out more about the short interview session with Roux below.
ii) Young press from Global Environmental Forum (GEF)
Hi from Mizuki Okumura. This was the first time Mizuki participated in a conference where youth gather and raise our voices on climate change issues. She is representing an environmental NGO in Japan, Global Environmental Forum (GEF). GEF is a non-profit organization, which focuses on global environmental issues such as deforestation and climate change; raising awareness of local community and make policy recommendations.
As a young intern, planning and researching in GSGES Kyoto University, she is very excited and feels positive about the climate movement especially among youth. She believes youth is powerful and, together we should take action! To her, it was a great experience attending COY 11. Stay tuned with our young journalist as she will be publishing articles on what’s happening in COY 11, Tokyo in GEF.
iii) Biphasa from India I managed to interview one of the volunteers during COY 11, Tokyo – Bipasha Kaur Chatterjee. She is from India and currently studying Social Science (East Asian Relation) at the University of Tokyo. Her friends, who joined the organizing committee invited her to volunteer in this program. She is involved in the communication team and is in charge of note taking. Her homeland is in New Delhi, India. After studying in Japan for two years, she is happy with the policy implemented in Japan, especially waste separation. It has become a cultural for people to separate their waste and everyone practices it. Rivers in Kyoto is clean and nice. She has seen much more polluted rivers in India.
In India, there are many environmental issues such as water pollution, air pollution, land destruction, deforestation, etc. There are many existing laws, but it lack implementation and enforcement. One of the interesting phrases she shared with me is “CHIPKO Movement in India”. The meaning of Chipko in Hindi word is “to hug”. It is a big environment protection movement by the local communities especially aborigine people as men, women, children are hugging the tree when the government decided to clear the forest. It was a huge success of people movement to put their lives in the frontline to protect the trees.
She also mentioned that climate change is a big mess which human created since industrialization. Instead of learning from history, we are following the footsteps of developed countries. We are facing climate change in this era and the blaming games should end. We need to deal with this major issue now. In line with COP21, she hopes to see world leaders coming up with concrete solutions in saving our mother earth.
Glad to meet Akane Ota from Nagoya University. She is studying Environmental Science and doing research in Comparative Analysis of Japan International Cooperation Agency , JICA’s REDD+ projects. It is interesting to know that her research focuses on four different countries, which consists of Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Mozambique. Most of us in ASEAN have heard about Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos but not Mozambique. This is also my first time knowing about Mozambique.
Akane’s research is about Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) among the four countries. REDD is one of the topics in Conference of Parties (COP21). It is an effort to conserve and preserve forest through financial support and incentives for developing countries. Four of these countries have tropical climate with two seasons, wet and dry. These countries are vulnerable to climate change and deforestation rate is increasing. REDD+ have been implemented in these countries by working closely with the local government. Institutions are established to improve the system of REDD+. With the continuous support of REDD+ program, it can help to keep forest intact and reduce the concentration of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) into the atmosphere. Let’s protect the forest and implement more REDD+ program in other countries.
v) Participants from China, Li Lin (李琳)
I interviewed Li Lin from China during the last day of COY11. She is currently studying International Political and Economics in Peking University. Besides studying, she is also a volunteer in OXFAM Hong Kong , an NGO which focus on the power of people against poverty.
OXFAM is a global organization which can be found in countries such as the United States of America, Germany, Japan, Sweden, etc. OXFAM Hong Kong shared the event of COY 11, Tokyo in the mobile application, What’s App. She finds COY an interesting event and there you go, Li Lin in COY 11, Tokyo!
Li Lin shared her concerns on the interrelation between Climate Change and Poverty. In China, there is a huge gap between the poor and the wealthy. Those suffering from the impact of climate change are farmers from rural areas. Even though China is developing rapidly, 50% of the people are depending on agriculture as a living source. The government has taken steps to reduce poverty level among farmers through farmer tax reduction, providing basic facilities, building proper irrigation, etc.
However, the direct impact of climate change such as floods and drought make it difficult for the government to help the poor. Compare to western countries, the agriculture industry in China is still lacking behind in terms of technology. There is a lot of improvement needed for environmental protection by the government. The environmental impact is not as major concern of government as compared to others when comes to economic development.
OXFAM Hong Kong also focuses on research related to precision poverty alleviation, which involve community and NGOs to provide recommendations to government. In line with COP21, OXFAM supports a story telling contest organized by United National Development Program (UNDP). It is called the Voice2ParisGlobal Storytelling Contest. It is available in English and Mandarin. Winner of the contest stands a chance to attend COP21, PARIS. Let’s have a look at video below on Li Lin’s video during COY 11, Tokyo.
Paris. A trip which many are looking forward to. To travel, to explore and… to fall in love. Fall in love with the city, people, culture, fashion, food… and? Well, I am looking forward to the upcoming COP21 at Paris that is to be held on 30th November 2015.
Before every COP, an annual youth conference will be held annually. This culture has been going on since 2009 where young attendees of the world get the opportunity to gather, to share, explore, experience and grow together towards a global smart climate community.
This year, the 11th Conference of Youth (COY11) is one of the largest ever held where the event was graced by 5000 other young attendees around the globe at Parc des Expositions de Villepinte. There are many workshops, conferences, debates, and forum occurred concurrently throughout the 3 days from 26th November 2015 to 28th November 2015. The message of the COY 11 is to show that young people are able to mobilize. They are important actors of change and leaders of tomorrow where, they are able to convey concrete solutions to combat climate change together. Majority of the people come with this objective in mind, “to imagine and create the society of tomorrow”.
One of the highlights in COY is their “Make It Real” program as it is an open innovation track where young people get the opportunity to explore, to convey their dreams and visions into practical solutions to make a better society. For me, words such as creativity, visions and dreams are keys to bring humanity one step forward. If you ask me, to be better or worse? I do not know. Perhaps, James Diamond study on “How Societies Collapse” has the answer for this.
Nonetheless, this year is also the first experience for Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) team to explore COY11. In my opinion, the experience is enriching especially having one of our team member “Amalen” to co-organized a brief Asian meetup session with at least 30 enthusiastic Asian Youth at COY! These energetic young Asian leaders are here – to share and engage with one another, to express their environmental initiatives they have back home. For instance, we have Kai from China, who does global research on bees; Mia from Indonesia – who focuses on youth climate action at COP and Bhaskar Padigala from India, whom had done an amazing work on researching available renewable energy technologies that are applicable to his home country.
Although it is only a day at COY11, it is still an enriching global experience for me. Hopefully, if I am fortunate enough, to explore the next COY in full.
The #COP21 Asian Youths Meet Up was held at Wen Zhou Restaurant. Interestingly (and weird), there are so many different Wen Zhou Restaurants around Paris. So here’s what happened:
While trying to organise this dinner I had decided with a few others that we should hold it at an affordable restaurant as we did not want to burden everyone with the cost of eating at an expensive restaurant which might not fit everyone’s budget. After doing some research we found a quaint little restaurant called Wen Zhou located at the edge of Chinatown in Rue du Maire. We then proceeded to book the place and coordinated everyone to this location. However, when we checked online, we got confused with its location. It showed us a different location in Rue de Bellville – about 15 minutes train ride away from Ru de Maire. So we changed the venue address to the new one.
We then proceed to coordinate all the Asian Youth that we had met over the past week. I sought help from Juliana, a Singaporean staying in Paris, to make the booking at Wen Zhou because they couldn’t speak English, making booking over the phone was difficult. So with Juliana’s help, we booked the Wen Zhou Restaurant. Based on the blog I discovered about Wen Zhou, the affordable Chinese Restaurant was in fact at Rue du Maire. but after some confusion we thought we had the wrong address as Google indicated that Wen Zhou was at Rue de Beleville. We went with the latter. We posted on the Asian emailing list that I had compiled from Conference of Youth 11 (#COY11) the previous week. I felt quite happy with that. We had received good response – dates and times were decided and the final booking at Wen Zhou was made.
The day of the Asian Youth Meet Up arrived, and this Wen Zhou at Rue de Belleville turned out to be a 15-minutes walk from where we, the MYDs, were staying in Paris. The meet up was at 7 P.M. so I decided to head out earlier at 6.15 P.M. to confirm booking and coordinate the space. As I got out to the street, I forgot to mention this was in the heart of Chinatown, I found a Wen Zhou Restaurant – with a blue sign (take note of this). I went in and asked them but they could hardly speak English, only Mandarin and French. They said no booking were made and that I probably meant another Wen Zhou down the road. So I went along, kept walking and couldn‘t find it.
One of the many Wen Zhou Restaurants.
Irritated and slightly angry, I thought they had sent me on a wild goose chase. I proceeded back to the blue-signed Wen Zhou to give the person a piece of my mind. As I was about 5 shops away, I stumbled onto the address 24,Rue de Belleville which was the location based on good ol’ Google I had shared with everyone on the email thread, and lo and behold it was THE WEN ZHOU Restaurant! (Or so I thought) And it was CLOSED! I was shocked – it looked like there were more than one Wen Zhou. Literally within 5 shops apart there were two restaurants with the same name. I panicked, not knowing what to do as the restaurant I booked was closed! So I ran back to blue-signed Wen Zhou, noticed that there was a lot of space and proceeded back to Wen Zhou 24 to redirect people to the blue-signed one. A girl named Nicole from Singapore came by and I told her about the situation and she agreed to help me welcoming our guests at the blue-signed Wen Zhou. I had my note pad with me so I wrote a sign to redirect people to blue-signed Wen Zhou but with no tape or any means to stick it on the door, I waited. More and more people arrived and I redirected them to the new venue. At about 7.30 P.M. Thomas from MYD arrived and helped me to look for tape at nearby stores. He found it and we put up the sign and we went to have dinner with the rest.
During the gathering of 24 Asians, there was a lot of networking going on. Our topics of discussions ranged from what we should do to move forward to how we should focus on generating collaborative efforts instead of focusing on problems. It was at this exact moment I found out that Lastrina from Singapore was at another Wen Zhou with about 13 people. They were at Rue du Maire! The ACTUAL Wen Zhou we had made our booking at! I was in panic mode once again. I announced this to the group and they, who were by now energetic from the all those optimistic chats, said “Let’s go to them!” and so we did. We lost some members on the way because they were too tired and decided to head back. The ORIGINAL When Zhou was only 15 minutes by train and the station was nearby the blue-signed When Zhou we were at.
At the actual Wen Zhou Restaurant we planned, we met up with the other 13 delegates but by then it was way too crowded so we decided to head to a nearby bistro.
At the bistro I found out that Juliana had realised that the Wen Zhou she had booked is not the one with the Googled address I found but instead it was at Rue de Maire and had emailed us at 7.10 P.M of the actual location. So those that ended up at Rue de Maire were actually those who left COP21 after 7.10 P.M. They had seen the email and went to the right venue.
It was an interesting experience organising this Asian Meet Up. It was nice hearing the sounds of Asian languages after a while. The meet up really did boost my spirit to make myself be more useful and more involved in COP21, even though there were some confusions. We still managed to get together, talked about a lot of different topics and most importantly, we had fun being connected in a foreign land.
The other group of the Asian Youth Meet Up
The Asian Youth Meet Up turned out to be successful despite everything that could go wrong, as we managed to bring together a lot of people from different countries.
Thus, the Discovery of Wen Zhou in Paris came to an end.
Author: Loh Rachel, 18 (Selangor, Malaysia)
Current location: Yoyogi Olympics Memorial Youth Center (Tokyo, Japan)
I spent the last night of COY11 Tokyo editing the Youth of East Asia Action Agenda Declaration with Kotoe (one of the main Organisers of the event). The participants worked tirelessly to ensure that the declaration is truly representative of the East Asian youths. We addressed issues related to climate change such as: rising sea levels, poverty, haze, etc. by coming up with creative and innovative youth-led initiatives.
COY 11 Tokyo!
One of the many highlights of the day was the Earth Parade (a.k.a Global Climate March). It was my first time participating in a demonstration and it was exhilarating! We walked approximately 1.5km holding up our signs and chanting about the importance of protecting our Earth. Sze Ming, another representative from Malaysia, has a short clip of the parade on her Instagram account (@szemingg). Additionally, you can check out Power Shift Malaysia’s FB page for more awesome pictures of the Earth Parade.
Fun fact: the Earth Parade is known as the Global Climate March in other countries. Pictures of the march is now all over social media, with posts originating from Paris to Penang!
Lastly, I am extremely grateful to AirAsia for sponsoring our (Malaysian Youth Delegation) flights to Tokyo so that we could attend COY11. I had the opportunity to connect on a more personal level with youth leaders from countries such as Korea and France. And more importantly, contribute to the Youth of East Asia Action Agenda Declaration, which will be published soon on: Tokyo.coy11.org . So, domo arigatou once again, AirAsia!
Welcome to day 2 of COY 11 in Tokyo. It’s great to see new participants coming in for today’s session. The program starts from 9am to 10pm. I get to mix around with different participants from Japan, Taiwan and Korea. Of course, thanks to the advancement of technology, I managed to say HI to my teammates in Paris: Emily and Thomas who are attending the COY11 at Paris during the session of “meet a local COY Session”. It is so happy to meet up with team members even though we are far apart. There are several round table discussions today. I learnt the importance of teamwork in finding a common solution. As we know, one voice can’t be heard but many voices make a huge impact.
I joined COP in My City session. The main objective of this session is to bridge the gap between youth and COP. We are given the chance to experience a Model COP in 3 hours. It is just like the real negotiations in COP with each of the participants representing different countries such as: China, India, US, EU and other developed countries. We are given confidential data as a reference. I represented other developed nations which comprised of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Russia and other former Soviet Republics like South Korea, etc. Our main goal is to negotiate a global agreement to reduce green house emission (GHG) based on the current situation of economies and national interests. At the end of the session, we managed to reach a consensus. Each delegation signed on the World Climate Agreement. The organizer will submit the document to COY 11 Paris and COP21.
The first session of the day is Renewable Energy. Participants gained greater insights on what is sustainable energy and what’s Japan has learnt from Fukushima Disaster. It is a disappointment to know the fact that 26 out of 46 nuclear plants are applying for inspections to restart. Japan’s energy policy is not moving towards sustainable energy. Our team, Malaysian Youth Delegation, participated in the poster session where we presented the rice and PowerShift Malaysia bunting. It is a great platform to interact, exchange information and most importantly to inspire each other. If you read the day 1 blog post, we continued the discussion of Youth of East Asia Action Agenda (YEAAA). It can be pronounced as YEAH !!! Team members got together and provided a final solution to the topics mentioned earlier. This is a very crucial step as selected ideas will be included in declaration.
I joined an interaction session between Paris and Tokyo. We discussed about the necessities of nuclear power plants, individual actions to reduce CO2 and important aspects to combat climate change.
The last session of the day was the planetary health flim, “ Mamtaz’s Story” – The fight for climate justice in the Bay of Bengal. The people are leading a simple lifestyle depending on the available resources. They are least responsible towards climate change yet most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
We are getting closer to submitting a declaration to COP21. I am very excited about it and looking forward to get youth voices heard in COP21. This is the future we want and remember “YOU”th are the solutions. I’m counting down to Day 3 of COY11 at Tokyo.