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img_9093The Malaysian Youth Delegation have been crucially preparing and anticipating for this moment since six months ago. The idea of attending the Twenty Second Conference of the Parties (COP22) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was once seemed afar is now an experience of its own.

After five training series, two international knowledge transfer events, a Youth Statement, numerous engagements with organizations, stakeholders and the government and guidance by sifu Adrian and buddies from MYD 2015, it is safe to say that MYD 2016 is well prepared for the conference.

It is the first time Malaysia is having a Pavilion at COP. We were informed about the existence of the Pavilion when we attended the Workshop on Capacity Building, Education, Public Awareness, Information and Networking (CEPAIN), organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) and Third World Network (TWN), over a conversation with Dato’ Dr. Yap, National Project Manager, Third National Communication (TNC) / Biennial Update Report (BUR) for Malaysia.

We are absolutely keen on getting involved with the Malaysia Pavilion and got in touch with NRE immediately. The Pavilion provides a physical platform for Malaysia to showcase the country’s initiatives related to environment and climate change, and as a place to host presentations, dialogues and meetings with national delegates or guests.

Upon arriving the COP venue earlier today, we paid a visit to the Pavilion and were greeted with warm hospitality by fellow Malaysians. The national negotiators start their day early in the morning by having a group meeting at the Pavilion before adjourning to individual agendas throughout the day.

We were invited for lunch by the Malaysia Pavilion’s Project Manager, Puan Syarina. She was very enthusiastic and was delighted with our presence at COP, as she hopes and aspires more youth to take part in combating climate change and also work closely with NRE to form a sustainable relationship.

After lunch, we had an ad hoc meeting with Mr. Jaya Singam, Under Secretary of Environmental Management and Climate Change Division of NRE. He was very interested with collaborating with the youth and listened attentively to what we have to say and want to achieve.

I believe that cooperation between government and NGOs is highly imperative in order to achieve intended goals and policy implementation. From my experience coming from a youth organization, we more often than not have to work twice as hard, merely just to make our voices heard.

Two way communication is key in order to understand the needs from both sides. Mr Jaya gave really useful advice for us to take up upon. Before the meeting ended, I had the opportunity to ask him, “So how can we help you?”

Instead of abiding dedicatedly to advice, always offer help within your capacity. Building relationships is easy, sustaining them is the challenging part. Establish points for contact, it’s easier to engage and follow up in the future.

Mr Jaya replied that legitimate dispersal of information via social media is something to look into. With the fast growing technology, we are easily influenced by illegitimate or viral news. Remember to verify the source before spreading information. We often tend to forget this process of information sharing and get caught up in the whirlpool of social media.

It is overwhelming to take in feel of being at a Malaysia Pavilion in COP22. As the Malaysian Youth Delegation, we always do our best to represent Malaysia and her youth. Having the bond and connection with NRE, national negotiators and fellow Malaysian delegates made us feel as if we are a part of a larger family, all with the same passion for tackling climate change.

We are anticipating the arrival of the Minister of NRE, YB Dato Seri Dr Wan Junaidi on the 14th of November 2016 at COP22, Marrakech.

Written by Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham
Edited by Elaine See

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