Role of Civil Society in Climate Negotiations

In light of the discussions on the Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto as the new ruling government, my friends adjured me on what I had envisioned for the new Malaysia by 2020. It was a loaded question!

Being with the Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD), our team battles the ticking time to tackle issues regarding climate action to the best of our capabilities. The newly formed government’s manifesto envisions Malaysia to transform its economy, governance, social well-being, and our concern, the environment.

Our voice certainly isn’t representative of the entire Malaysian youth but one thing remains indisputable: every Malaysian youth wants a brighter future, better world for themselves and the next generation. Therefore, in the spirit of climate action, we progressed by conducting a training series to assist our fellow members and interested youth/public with knowledge on climate action.

 

The Third Training Series happened on May 27, 2018 as we welcomed our honourable speaker, Mr. Nithi Nesadurai, who is the President of Environmental Protection Society Malaysia (EPSM) to share his knowledge on the Role of Civil Society Organisations in Climate Negotiations and his vast experiences by attending the Conference of Parties (COP). During the commencement of his sharing session, he expressed his gratitude towards young leaders, who were of great help in environmental related projects.

Mr Nithi Nesadurai, President of EPSM, giving a brief introduction.

 

Mr. Nithi started with explaining the background of COP and Operasi Lalang. According to him, in the 1980s, the general relationship between government and environmental organisations were strained but eventually turned relaxed as they grew being supportive of each other due to these organisations’ help under technical areas to the government. Nonetheless, it would be ignorant on our part to dismiss the effort put in by these groups to hasten environmental action. He then proceeded to speak about the interactions of the society and government, and society with international negotiations w.r.t climate negotiations.

After this, we had shifted to learning on the process leading to Rio Summit under the  United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). Within the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21 aimed to improve sustainable development and action in the 21st century. In this agenda under Section 3, groups such as women, children/youth, indigenous people were incorporated.

Participants and MYD members listening to the intriguing talk!

One of the crucial component of this talk was the role of Climate Action Network (CAN) in Climate Change action. One of this organisation’s aims were to withhold the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), which has been subtly fading in the recent climate negotiations. He explained that with CBDR, the developed countries were ought to initiate and set leadership example by reducing the emissions first, which was to be followed by the developing countries under the funding and technological assistance by the developed to aid a low-carbon development. Mr. Nithi highlighted the differences in approach for the Global North and Global South. Typically, the North tended to go in depth into one specific area of policy whereas the South often covered wider aspect but weren’t comprehensive.

The roles and structure of CAN was also explained briefly. CAN in climate negotiations, is consistently working towards inducing more ambitious climate change regimes and effective lobbying, for instance, directly engaging with negotiators, sharing viewpoints and gaining knowledge He explained about hpw ECO was a highly regarded daily use bulletin in the climate policy arena. It generally gave an insight on the events and news that had occurred the previous day. He had also explained the infamous “Fossil of The Day” – an event that identified a respective country that proved to be an obstruction or a nation that attempted to stall negotiations in a given day or time period during COPs.

 

As he headed towards the end of the sharing session, he listed some challenges as well. First and foremost, was pertaining to the badges. He notified us that Poland did not like civil society organisations and it would be against the law to rally. Secondly, the meetings enabled for the civil society would be diminished due to lesser number of yellow badges in contention.

At the end of the talk, Mr Nithi gave a round of advices to the civil society participants for learning and understanding issues. He emboldened us to select an issue that is appealed to oneself. He encouraged to seek answers from people that could clarify one’s queries and asked to join the respective working groups.

 

The day ended with giving the token of appreciation to Mr. Nithi Nesadurai.

 

Aida Amirul, the emcee of the day delivered her appreciation to Mr Nithi.

‘Plants bring good smiles’ – Mr. Nithi’s handed over a chili plant by Lhavanya.

A token of appreciation to Brixston Academy, our location provider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘The Dream Team’ with their ultimate C for Climate Change sign.

In the spirit of TS 3 this week, I would like to dedicate this piece to all the prominent figures in MYD who have inspired the pioneers to become the kind of environmentalists that we are today. Even though MYD works progressively in pace, we are the backbone of society and one of the country’s pillar of strength. We often don’t realise that we are where we are today not solely through our own efforts. Somewhere in the past, someone has revolutionised the way succeeding generations should live, whether it was by improving their way of life through material means or by reforming their intellect. Indeed, MYD family will stand true to our own purpose. Cheers to the upcoming Training Series!

 

Written by Sarah

Edited by Varun

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