Learnings from ASEAN Power Shift – Roxanne Low

By Roxanne (MYD15)

The last three days flew by so quickly. I somehow wish that we could have had more time to spend with each other, among ourselves (MYD) as well as the other delegates from other ASEAN countries. As I reflect upon the days spent at APS, I am not sure if I achieved the things that I am supposed to achieve.

From left :  Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Thailand.

From left :  Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Thailand.

To begin, the organizer gave away very little in regards to the activities that awaited the delegates in policy track. All we knew that we had to prepare a National Position Paper. However, the purpose of the gathered data was very much unknown. Another reason is because I tend to not place expectation on things simply to avoid having disappointment. Therefore, if I went there without having an idea what I am set out to achieve, it was difficult to say that I managed to achieve something at the end of the APS.

Despite having said that, into the second day of the conference, I decided for myself to give collaboration to complete the Position Paper. Although I noticed many limitations that underline the Position Paper, such as, the time constrain, language barrier, imbalance participation from the ten countries, lack of necessary knowledge and skills, I disagree with not putting the effort to contribute to the entire discussion and have a negative and pessimistic view about the Position Paper that we tried to produce. To me, not only it would be very discouraging to the enthusiastic vibe that was felt within the room filled with passionate delegates, it may be a loss of an opportunity to learn something during the process.

Then again, some can disagree to my perception whereby since the Position Paper would not be a success (which may be defined as not representative of all youths in 10 countries, not substantial, not contextual…), perhaps the focus should have been driven towards building strong network with other delegates, finding possible collaboration in future projects, understanding each other’s situation.

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Team Malaysia and MYD

In the end, due to limited time, we were not successful in producing a proper position paper. But something that we were able to achieve was the have a rather strong Preamble which some say is the most important part of the whole position paper. Although it was not a huge success, I still feel that I did achieve something.

I not only learned about the process of making policies (perhaps not exactly like the actual thing), but through the process of coming up the various policies, I learned about the situation and problems faced by my neighbouring countries in the region. It was truly an enlightening experience for me.

Most importantly, this experience allowed me to get to know my MYD members, to agree and disagree, to work together despite our differences. This was not something I set out to do, but I still eventually did, which is very valuable.  Even though I cannot list down everything that I have learned from APS, but I believe that I have unconsciously learned many things, which I will realize in the future. At the moment, I know that I my network have now crossed borders.

To end my reflection, it may be important to know what you are about to do in order to set a clear purpose and target to achieve, but sometimes embracing the unknown can be just as precious for it is filled with surprises. Most of the time, we gain something valuable beyond what we initially set out to do.

#MYD15 – 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.

#ASEANPOWERSHIFT – A conference gathering youths from 10 ASEAN countries with the focus on finding pragmatic and possible solutions to tackle climate change and empower youths with creative skills and knowledge to initiate their own actions.

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