So my name is Amalen from the Malaysian Youth Delegation, MYD and I am currently attending the Conference of Youth 11, COY11 in Paris.
I got here a day earlier than the rest of my team and being here on the first day in the morning was simply overwhelming. We didn’t have access to the full program before this morning (26th Nov) but looking at it for the first time I simply felt swamped, confused and mostly just overwhelmed.
There were so many different events going on in that single space. There we hundreds and thousands of people there. Me being alone I didn’t really know what to do at first, I texted my mentor and friends and sadly didn’t get a direct response due to time differences but I just decided that I need to stop feeling this way and carry on. So that’s what I did. I sifted through all the activities and events for the day and planned out my schedule so that I could attend all the sessions I wanted to. It took me awhile to shake off this overwhelming feeling but just focusing on the events I had to attend helped me get through it better.
For most of the day I was stuck at the COY manifesto sessions. These sessions seemed more familiar as I have previously been involved in a similar process during ASEAN Power Shift 2015. During these sessions, they talked about the youth manifesto which has been worked on for the past 2 weeks by a host of different people using data that they had gathered via email surveys to youths that registered for COY, and believe me that is a large number. This final sessions were more of a finalizing session, to ask us, the youth, if we agree on what they have made, do we want it worded differently or certain thing added or removed etc.
During these sessions, I realized that youth voices from South East Asia or East Asia for that fact are rarely heard. The number of Asians at the conference were not that numerous and trying to find another Malaysian there seemed almost impossible. I took this as a challenge, I should voice out my opinion, I should say something when I agree or disagree, let my voice be heard!
And true enough, my voice was heard and more than that it was taken into account, it was considered a very good point. That just gave me a big boost of confidence to continue to speak up throughout my time here.
I attended a workshop by a group called ‘Make it Real’. They had previously done COP simulations with different mechanisms to UNFCCC. Their new hypothesis and ideas really sparked an interest to me. They were trying to make the process of UNFCCC much more easier, more better and simply more efficient. These were youth who decided to work with their negotiators, gather data and evidence and work closely together. Hopefully this is something we the MYD can do with our negotiators after COP21.
I also met an interesting chap called Sustaina Claus, the sustainable Santa Claus-turning Christmas green, haha. He taught me something very interesting, he took a picture with me and told me to put up 3 fingers. I just did it and it was a rather funny thing but after asking why I found out he had his own little movement going, society, environment and economy in balance- to create a sustainable balance between these 3 groups, and the fact I can tell what it meant and what it’s about is all because he put up something random and it made me ask. Sometimes it’s all about doing and letting human curiosity take course.
Towards the end of the day I felt ecstatic to the fact I reached home without realizing I hadn’t eaten dinner. It was an amazing first day and there is so much more I would like to share but alas sleep shall take over me now.
I have been looped into involvement for a session during tomorrow’s program-Asia region meet up and discussion. I hope I do well. Doing things on a whole new scale is definitely scary but I’ll give it a try and hope for the best. Hopefully meeting all the different people and conversing with them about different ideas and projects will help bolster my confidence for tomorrow.
Till my next post. Amalen.