First Day at COP22

I expected to walk into COP22 as a wide-eyed squirrel because of the overwhelming importance of the issues as well as the delegates and participating NGOs. In fact, it was not as scary as I thought it would be; most people we spoke to were genuinely interested in the work we do as the Malaysian Youth Delegation and were happy to enlighten us on the projects they work on or their countries’ perspectives.

Moon Moon and I collected our badges earlier and headed to the Malaysian Pavilion straight to check it out. I personally thought it was a good effort on Malaysia’s part considering it was our first. During our engagement with Ms Syarina over lunch, it was evident that the team behind the Malaysian Pavilion are passionate and committed people, which I think bodes well for Malaysia’s presence in future COPs.

During our engagement with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on both counts, it appears evident that they are eager to work with us to increase the youth’s participation in COP and perhaps even, climate policy. We intend to make use of the Malaysian Pavilion while connecting and meeting with other organisations.

The Opening Plenary was an exciting experience, even if only because of the novelty of sitting amongst various NGOs and listening to live speeches through the translating headphones.

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Nachatira and Kelvin at the Opening Plenary

I found the CAN Introductory Workshop to be useful, as we were briefed about what to expect and how best to access materials and resources from CAN. I found most of what was shared to be familiar as our MYD 2015 buddies had prepped us about them beforehand, i.e. how to keep updated with daily news and what are the many NGOs involved, etc. What I found to be interesting, was their presentations on climate financing and its issues, that I will be writing about more in the upcoming article.

It has been fascinating to hear the various perspectives on politics, priorities and in general, the negotiations by the NGOs and national delegates that we have spoken to thus far. It stretches from the cost of renewable energy in South Korea to crises faced by small island nations and their efforts in adapting to climate change, to climate justice from the point of view of a Malawi delegate. Although I attempt to maintain my interests in specific areas such as adaptation and intergenerational equity, I am curious as to how all the other elements such as mitigation, climate financing, technology transfer, intellectual property rights and politics are interwoven.

It has been a privilege just to experience the smorgasbord of information and opportunities to access such resources with other great minds. It is exciting that COP22 has something that each of us is personally interested in, and we often meet other like-minded individuals who are more than happy to share their thoughts and ideas. I am personally awed by the spirit and conviction that most people I met today have in regards to climate change, and this has renewed my hope that collectively, Paris Agreement could indeed be the salvation our planet desperately needs.

Written by Nachatira Thuraichamy
Edited by Choy Moon Moon

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