#MYD2018 Urges on Good Climate Governance in Letter to Committee for Institutional Reforms

#MYD2018 Urges on Good Climate Governance in Letter to Committee for Institutional Reforms

Secretariat,

Committee on Institutional Reforms,

Level 32 Ilham Tower,

Jalan Binjai,

50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

 

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.

 

Aim:

  1. 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.

 

Background:

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.

 


Figure 1: Institutional Arrangement and Thematic Grouping for Climate Change Action Governance in Malaysia (Biennial Update Report to UNFCCC, 2016)

 

Recommendations:

 

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. Revive GHG 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.   

 

Conclusion

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.

 

For enquiries, please contact:

Nachatira Thuraicamy | t.nachatira@gmail.com | 011-2100 5882

Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham | j.irishailham@gmail.com | 018-463 4594

mydclimatechange@gmail.com

Long term solutions to end Indonesia’s forest fires and haze?

Long term solutions to end Indonesia’s forest fires and haze?

Herry Purnomo, Project Leader - Political Economy of Fire and Haze in Indonesia, CIFOR giving a short introduction on political economy of fire and haze in Indonesia

Herry Purnomo, Project Leader – Political Economy of Fire and Haze in Indonesia, CIFOR giving a short introduction on political economy of fire and haze in Indonesia

Since 1990s South East Asia has been facing the issue of trans-boundary haze and 2015 is considered among the worst ever. This is an inevitable phenomena as palm oil industry is booming and is anticipated to grow to $88 billion by 2022 and Indonesia is the main regional player of this industry. 

We have understand the effects of haze on environment, health and socio-economics. These issues are ongoing with trans-boundary haze. With all the experts at the forum today, are we able to find the long term solutions to end Indonesia’s forest fires and haze?

Here are some highlights sharing from each expert:

Intro: Understanding the root causes of political economy of fire and haze in Indonesia

Herry Purnomo, Project Leader – Political Economy of Fire and Haze in Indonesia, CIFOR

In 2015, forest fires have caused about 2.6 million ha of land burnt with more than 30 billion dollars of economic losses. 43 million of Indonesians were exposed to haze and half million of people became victims of acute respiratory infections with 19 people reported death.

Some important key points on the root causes of political economy of fire and haze in Indonesia:-

  • Tenure and illegal land market
  • Bad practices of agricultural and plantation development – Interestingly wood plantations are manage by group while oil palm plantations are managed by individual companies.
  • Land politics: Patronage network between business and government – When it comes to land politics, corporate actors are connected to elites at various levels.
  • Land politics for local elections – Hot spots is linked to election. Local elites/cukong who organize farmers are the most influential actors in land transaction.

Q. Are Smallholders to be blame for forest fires and haze in Indonesia?

Mansuetus Alsy Hanu – National coordinator, Indonesia’s Palm Oil Smallholder Union

Smallholders are owners who own the land under 25ha and they manage the land on their own. In Indonesia, there are a total of 60% of the 48,000 are smallholders.Smallholders tend to be in difficult position when it comes to prepare plantation. For now, fire (aka ‘slash and burn’ method’) is the cheapest method to prepare plantation.

Regarding forest fires and haze, smallholders may not be the main cause of it. Smallholders do not receive benefits to convert their crops to palm oil plantation and they do not get assistance or any protection by government locally and nationally.

In terms of solution of reducing forest fires, Mansuetus proposed the need of better mapping for smallholders’ land. There is also a need of strong establishment of relationship between government and smallholders. The government could provide incentives to smallholders who do not use fires to prepare their plantations as an attractive income for the smallholder..

Q. From NGO Perspective: What are the challenges in resolving this Issue?

Jatna Supriatna, Chairman of Research Centre for Climate Change, University of Indonesia.

While getting himself involved in non-governmental organization for 15-20 years. Jatna thinks the problem in dealing with forest fires for the past 20 year is the budget. The budget from government is not easy to be accessible for forest fire issues.

“To monitor the hot spots, there is no budget to access the peatland areas. Fire in the peatland is easily spread – underneath. Go widely. It is very important that we are working in many different form. it is always the dry season we have to be ready. In Indonesia, local governments do not have fire brigade but trucks. We really need to have collaboration with local government and private sectors” says Jatna.

Jatna also highlighted the importance of law enforcement in public area and national protected areas as forest fires occurred in these areas are caused by encroachment.

Q. What can Private Sectors do to prevent forest fires and haze?

Dharsono Hartono, president director of PT Rimba Makmur Utama, Indonesia proposed the key to prevent forest fires and haze is to establish trust among various stakeholders via bottom-up approach.

Forest fires tend to occur in conjunction with El Nino. During El Nino, the canals from east to west of Indonesia will dry up. After the projection of terrible El Nino by NASA in 2007, PT Rimba Makmur Utama has immediately engaged and worked closely with the 6 villages (200 people) to prevent forest fires and haze.

Awareness, trust and transparency are the key values to promote full participation from the communities. Other than providing education to the villagers, PT Rimba decided to go beyond the boundary by training a brigade team prevent and combat forest fires and haze.

Q. The world demanded Palm Oil. What about the Supply Chains of Oil Palm Plantations? Aren’t they also responsible for forest fires?

Agus Purnomo – Managing Director for sustainability and strategic stakeholders Engagement, Golden Agri-Resources, Ltd.

As Indonesia is the largest oil palm producers in the world, supply chains around world are also responsible for forest fires and haze. According to Purnomo, it is common to have problematic growers / companies within the supply chains. In order to prevent this, Golden Agri-Resources is focusing on establishing transparency with their suppliers.Thus far, they have 98% of the mills willing to share their suppliers info and by Dec 2015, they will have 100% visibility of the mills. However, it is difficult to acquire transparency and visibility beyond the mills and these mills source their resources from others.

“All our supply chains are posted on the website. We do not know the particular mill bought by another group. That is something we cannot know before. If we know, we will engage. We will have dialogue and see how we move forward.” says Purnomo.

Golden Agri-Resources is focusing on B2B arrangement. However, policies cause a lot of issues as mentioned by Herry. There is an urging need in getting all stakeholders to be involved to resolve such issue. From government, to local stakeholders, NGOs, companies who are involved in the supply chain. We need to formulate a common goal, better transparency in order to prevent forest fires and haze.

Written by: Jolene Journe T.

Dialogue with Mr. Al Gore

Dialogue with Mr. Al Gore

“As human beings, we are vulnerable to confusing the unprecedented with the improbable. In our everyday experience, if something has never happened before, we are generally safe in assuming it is not going to happen in the future, but the exceptions can kill you and climate change is one of those exceptions.” -Al Gore

Albert Arnold “Al” Gore, Jr. is an American politician and environmentalist who served as the 45th Vice President of the United States from 1993 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton. He is well known for his work on environmental issues. On December 10, 2007, Al Gore was awarded as a Nobel Prize winner, for his unwavering dedication in combating global warming.

I believe everyone who are involved in climate change or environment activism have heard of his name. Yesterday, I had the privilege to attend a dialogue with Mr. Al Gore, along with other observer organizations. It was a day filled with wisdom, hopes and possibilities.

IMG_1055

During his opening speech, he was pleased that the role of civil society in COP21 is the strongest among all the conferences he attended. In fact, the civil society have grown to be more engaged and representative over the years. Al Gore emphasized that it is immoral to continue emitting carbon emission and let the rest of the world suffer due to one’s actions. Private sectors, states and governments (delegates) must take the lead in curbing climate change.

Al Gore also provided insights on how the United States of America takes up rapid progress in curbing climate change despite the differences in political power. Seventy-eight percent of electric utilities that was built in the U.S in 2015 were powered by solar and wind energy. By shifting conventional energy to renewable energy, it will eventually open up possibilities for electrification of transportation. This idea could be adopted by our home country, Malaysia in the near future too. During the dialogue, there was a question asked on how to create and facilitate a soft landing in stranded assets. Many are concerned that if the environment wins the game, fossil fuel will be a total game over. All assets that are regards to fossil fuel and other finite resources will be devalued or converted to liabilities. Al-Gore replied that in order to avoid hard landing, divestment should start now but not later. People should start to discontinue in investing “hard” assets. Furthermore, he believes that the top agenda item after COP21, will be on the accessibility of green money/fund.

Al Gore also expressed his hope that green credit or funds that is affordable to be established. His hope resonates with me. Renewable energy is an excellent investment because there is minimal, in fact, almost no marginal cost aside from capital cost. Traditional energy requires the burning of fossil fuel (margin cost) to generate energy, whereas renewable energy such as solar energy does not undergo any burning, or chemical process that emits undesired side product. it is no doubt that job opportunities need to be opened to all renewable energy sector!

One of the civil society representative expressed her concern on the hard life of Arctic-ian due to climate change, fossil fuel extraction and land intrusion. Al Gore understood the challenges faced by the natives. At the same time, he expressed his gratitude to civil society for their effort in stopping the progress of drilling fossil fuel in Arctic. For those who are not aware, the smoke emitted from various industries, whether transboundary or local, is dispersed into the atmosphere, leading to the formation of black snow. Dark objects have the tendency to absorb more heat. In other words, black snow accelerate the melting process of Arctic ice. This amplifies the impact of climate change. In regard to this issue, Al Gore hopes, wishes, pledges and wants the Arctic to become a fossil fuel free and intrusion free country. My first thought after his speech: There is hope for polar bears!

On top of these, there is also a question related to how civil society can play an active role in COP. Al Gore answer is relatively straightforward. He urged the civil society to lobby their own government and provide assistance if necessary. Furthermore, youth in the room were also actively involved in the dialogue. Their questions were similar, revolving around the concern of how youth can be taken as real stakeholders, to have their voice projected and heard. In response to this, Al Gore gave his assurance to the youth that young people have been the vanguard of reformation. He advises the youth on 3 different approaches. Firstly, YOU-th need to become an activist and at the same time, win the conversation in climate change. Determination and persistence is the key to it. Next, YOU-th should embark and embrace on becoming the shifter for green and sustainable technology. YOU-th possess high consumer power and the market depend on such demand as well. Thirdly, YOU-th should actively involved in political process. Despite the external changes, such as pressure from NGOs and private sectors, change within the system is crucial and indispensable.

“Political will itself is a renewable resources”. Mr. Al Gore ended his speech with this meaningful quote that struck a responsive chord with his audience. He believed that all problems can be overcome if climate crisis is resolved. We should all learn from leaders like Al Gore. I have so much respect for this man, who took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to a country’s economic growth and environmental protection, including the improvements in educational system. He worked to try to improve the quality of life, not just in the U.S, but in a world that we all share.

Written by: Thomas

Edited by: Merryn

The last day of COY11 Tokyo – Loh Rachel

The last day of COY11 Tokyo – Loh Rachel

Date: Saturday, 28 November 2015

Time: 17:12
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!

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!

MYD Training Series – Dr. Gary Theseira

MYD Training Series – Dr. Gary Theseira

Dr Gary Theserai - MYD

Dr Gary Theserai – MYD

Title: The power-play within the UNFCCC groupings – Current and Historically

Training Brief: International negotiations are never easy, with many interests, historical perspectives, economic muscles and many more to consider. How does such power-play affects the on-going negotiations in UNFCCC?

  • Date: 17th Sept 2015, Thursday
  • Time: 7.00pm – 9.00pm
  • Location: BAC, PJ Campus

Trainer Profile:

Dr.Gary William Theseira is the Deputy Undersecretary of Environment Management and Climate Change Division Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. He is responsible for policy analysis, development and support for environment management and climate change and sustainable development.

  • Environmental Management and Climate Change (PASPI)
  • Senior Research Officer with FRIM (2001 to 2010)
  • Post Doctoral Associate, University of Minnesota
  • Ministry of NRE Undersecretary
  • Ph.D. Mississippi State University, USA

MYD Training Series 170915

#MYD Training Series – Training on UNFCCC negotiations and media work with various climate experts, government bodies and civil society leaders, from July until Nov 2015.  Each sessions will run for 2 hours and will be broadcast live on Google Hangout. Hangout will be available on YouTube for future reference.

#MYD – 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.