KUALA LUMPUR, 26 January – The Malaysian Youth Delegation organised Post-COP24 Forum at Common Ground Bukit Bintang, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur on the 26th January 2019.
The Forum was officiated by Ambassador of Republic of Poland to Malaysia, H.E Krzystof Dębnicki, who expressed his gratitude to the Malaysian COP delegation for the solidarity and commitment dedicated to the cause of climate justice.
He conveyed his appreciation at the Post-COP24 Forum organized by the Malaysian Youth Delegation.
In his opening statement, he advised the attendees to reduce waste, avoid plastic straws and plastic bags.
“This country has made tremendous change and developing fast. Malaysia can be the leader for sustainable energy, not just in ASEAN but in the world.”
“I hope Malaysia does,” he stressed.
Chee Yoke Ling, Director of Programmes, Third World Network, moderated the panel.
She was joined by three panelists, Liyana Yamin, COP24 delegate from Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD), Muhammad Ridzwan Ali, Assistant Secretary Environment Management and Climate Change Department from the Ministry of Energy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC) and Meena Raman, Climate Change Programme Coordinator from Third World Network (TWN).
The annual Forum aimed to explore the critical questions pertinent to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5C, expanding towards the changes in Malaysian climate change policy with the shift in government in the era of Malaysia Baru, role of CSOs in these changes and the role of youth in advocating climate change.
“Battle was fierce between developed and developing countries at COP24”
Muhammad Ridzwan Ali, Assistant Secretary, Environment Management and Climate Change Department, MESTECC.
Muhammad Ridzwan Ali, Assistant Secretary, Environment Management and Climate Change Department from the Ministry of Energy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC) who attended the Conference of Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland said that this was due to conflicting interpretation of the Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) principle which has been the cornerstone for the UNFCCC negotiations.
Among the other issues that was studiously debated during the negotiations were climate financing and how the developed countries must contribute to financing the adaptation and mitigation efforts in developing countries.
Meena Raman, Climate Change Programme Coordinator from Third World Network (TWN) added that technology transfer was also a hot topic during the COP24 negotiations.
These a fragile balance in the negotiations, “some developing countries would win and some, the developed would win”, she told the crowd at the Post-COP24 Forum before citing the downside of developed countries such as the United States.
Meena further criticised the United States government for their decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement citing explanations such as climate change as a China made-issue as ridiculous.
According to current climate trend, the global climate temperature will increase 3C and the work to offset it will be a mountainous challenge rightfully and the developing countries was fair to fight adamantly on this front.
This is due to the fact climate change will implicate developing countries the most and fundamentally, “developing countries have been doing much more than the developed country”, Meena stated.
“CSOs are disappointed with the lack of urgency in immediate decision and actions”Meena Raman, Climate Change Programme Coordinator, Third World Network.
Liyana Yamin briefly touched on how even American youth disagree with President Trump – at COP, she interviewed an American youth who stand on the decision of raising the voice of developing countries. American youths are aware of the critical climate situation that we are in and they work hard to push campaign forward in action and social media, in highlighting how unfairly treated the developing countries face.
Overall, Ridzwan clarified that the Malaysia Delegation achieved all their goals which was especially, 1. To lessen reporting burden, 2. Ensuring that nations could execute their plan for sustainable development, 3. There’s equity in the CBDR convention and 4. Financial support from developed nations at COP24.
With that, he reassured the policies surrounding climate change will continue to be a priority as this has been a continuous effort.
Domestically, the government have been actively pursuing the cause by ramping up efforts towards environmentally-friendly policies such as plastic bags and straw bans.
“As a government officer, we are proud that climate change was given centre stage and having a ministry named after climate change”, Ridzwan added restating the government’s commitment towards climate change which translate to bigger responsibilities additionally.
However, Meena questioned the priority of the current government with the new national car initiative.
She argued more focus and resource could be channeled to public transportation, sustainable agriculture, mangrove conservation etc.
Nonetheless, Meena told the crowd that, “We are excited to engage with the current government.
As the crowd warmed up during the panel introduction session, the question and answer session turned into a heated discussion as questions ranging from the topic of agriculture, public transportation, energy and corporate responsibility was debated scrupulously.
There was a suggestion made to place MESTECC officers in other ministries such as economic affairs and finance as climate change should also be viewed as a major economic factor in the planning and implementation of the nation’s economy.
The suggestion was made by Datin Susheila McCoy, the first woman civil servant in the Malaysian government.
A number of vocal attendees spoke their mind and weighed in their opinions on climate change and the discourse surrounding it.
The forum saw many prominent climate activists, concerned stakeholders and the passionate public in attendance.
Dr. Nagulendran, Deputy Secretary General and Dr. Gary Theseira, Special Functions Officer to the YB Yeo Bee Yin, from Ministry Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC), Hui Feng Chiang, First Secretary of Political Division from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and Professor Syed Azam-Ali, CEO of Crops for the Future Research Center was also present.
Written by Kadir Danial