Prior to COP21, we planned to conduct a Malaysian gathering or more like a makan (eating) session to gather Malaysians inside and outside COP. I was in charge of conducting and it seems to be so much harder than whichever gathering that I have done before.
Firstly, Malaysians in COP21 are very diverse. They are all both inside and outside COP; and very have different schedule. People from GEC, TWN, some other national delegations including negotiators are those who are inside COP. Whereas Wininie from JOAS, Quek Yew Aun and some other Malaysians who have no access to enter COP venue. Plus, all of them arrive Paris at different timing.
Secondly, it’s a hassle finding a venue. People inside COP are busy with own stuff and would prefer to stay in. But if the meeting place is inside COP, what about the others outside? Well partially it was just me being too perfectionist of wanting to include as many people as I can. I think it’s also important to let people inside COP to know what are the people doing outside COP and vice-versa. This might lead to more coordination and collaboration too!
Thirdly, it’s actually my fault not placing this as my priority to do which leads to late coordination from my side. I only started to coordinate at the end of first week.
Even with all the odds against me, I decided proceed, set a time and see how it goes. Sunitha from national delegation and Raj from GEC came, I thought it was better than nothing. It was pretty casual, networking and exchanging opinions. Most importantly, so nice to listen to the familiar Malaysian English :p
There was an unexpected round of “gathering” few days later. It was at the end of negotiations period where our negotiator- Dr Gary as well as Hilary from TWN who are apparently the busiest people in COP actually told us they r free and they offer to meet up with us (asked separately btw). LIKE WOAHHH. Am i dreaming listening to this. But yeah! Rare chance! So we asked Sunitha to tag along too and tadaaa our unexpected second round of Malaysian makan session kinilah terjadi. Woohoo! (With higher MYD attendance hurrayyy)
MYD members lunch session with fellow Malaysians in COP21- (3rd from the left: Dr. Gary Theseira, Malaysia national negotiator; 4th from left: Hilary Chiew from Third World Network (TWN); and 1st from right: Sunitha Bisan from Malaysia National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO).
Lesson learnt: this type of makan session can be done more than once, to fit this kind of situation of everyone is everywhere. And I think MYD is capable of organising this because of our pre engagement with fellow Malaysians. So we should continue organising such makan session and make it a MYD tradition in every COP. Fantastic 😀
P.s. you know, the adults are actually very happy to have our presence- the bubbly and happy youths around them especially when they are stressing out with the negotiations. Didn’t know that is actually the easiest thing we can contribute in COP which is just simply our presence.
Written by: Emily Oi
Spot us talking to Dr. Gary after one of the meetings 🙂
MYD was lucky enough to get in touch with one of our main negotiator- Dr Gary Theseira during COP21. Thanks to the kind permission from our Minister of NRE, we managed to have close interactions with some of our Malaysians negotiators during COP.
We were sort of panicking in the beginning on how to talk to Dr Gary (you know, big shots haha). Luckily Dr Gary turned out to be quite friendly after our first few physical meetup with him- including one of our MYD training series by him. Few of our MYD members (Elaine, Jolene and I) have decided to follow him in COP21 together to kick-start our tracking Malaysian negotiators journey.
In the beginning, we managed to meet a few Malaysian negotiators who are always attending the same meetings with Dr Gary- Prof Gurdial, Miss Gan Pei Fern, Dr Elizabeth Philip and Malaysian observer from Third World Network- Meenakshi. But when time goes on, they all split and barely have time to meet each other physically too, thus their main communication platform is through social chat apps such as Whatsapp and Viber.
It seems that every negotiator have their own assigned Articles or topics to follow- so everyone know their job well. We got to know that Dr Gary is the coordinator of G77 and China, and focusing on differentiation theme as well- mainly Article 2 & 2bis. He attends the daily LMDC coordination meeting almost everyday too, which is chaired by another proud Malaysian- Prof Gurdial.
Our very first meeting that Dr. Gary brought us in. Took us some time to identify who is who; and took us awhile to “curi-curi” take this photo (lol). Try to spot Prof Gurdial speaking!
Besides knowing how the negotiators coordinate among each others, you must be wondering how are we really “tracking” them down? What do we do when we are following them? Do we talk to them?
Well, we mostly take note on whatever they raised up in meetings or plenaries (but Dr Gary is not among the vocal ones in most of the meeting that I attended) and yes, of course we talked to him, but we have very very limited time to do so, sadly; mostly due to the hecticness. We only managed to interact with Dr Gary when he is walking along the aisle or occasionally between breaks. Oh, and we tried staying till the end of meetings for the first few nights so we can actually have more time to talk to Dr Gary on the way back to our apartment. But this does not work for long, since our schedule doesn’t fit anymore afterwards. I personally plan to attend one of his coordination meeting for G77 & China to witness how Dr Gary coordinates- but it got cancelled :/ However, on the bright side, we are happy to gain positive feedback from some of the negotiators that they love to have us the youth delegation here, and they really need our help!
Overall, for the first week, I guess the tracking process with Dr Gary was quite fruitful, mainly because he is kind enough to share plenty of information and knowledge with us during his free time. Unfortunately, I thought our capacity is kinda limited to absorb all the things he told us (should have do more homework, uh!)
Written by: Emily Oi