Shakirin Personal Account during COP21 with MYD

  • Benefits of this programme to me:

Besides fulfilling the aspirations and objectives of MYD, I also gained credit hours in one of my main core subjects in the curriculum of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in CAS (Creativity, Action, and Service). This subject aims to develop the potential of students to be more confident in communication and outgoing in character. Also, since I am interested to join Pegawai Tadbir dan Diplomatik (PTD), UNFCCC was a good exposure for me to understand international diplomacy and negotiations between parties.

  • Problems faced during the programme:

On my first day there, I was confused as there were just too many side events going on in one place. But on the second day and onwards, I managed to structure my schedule after I had decided to go specifically for negotiations. With the help of my team from MYD, I went through the whole week productively.

7th December 2015

I arrived at CDG Airport around 8pm and went on to take a metro to Colonel Fabien. I had to walk around before I finally reached my apartment. The other MYD delegates had arrived earlier than me, but because of my final semester exam, I had to postpone my trip and therefore went to Paris alone. Amalen, of the MYD stayed back to give me a briefing on what to expect and what to do during the one week at COP21. He also explained to me about one of the constituencies of the UNFCCC which is the YOUNGO. YOUNGO is not an organization, rather, a collection of groups or individuals who identify themselves as youth. During COPs, YOUNGO provides a space, called Spokes Council where youth can learn about the process, network with other youth, and collaborate. Members of YOUNGO can decide to act or endorse an initiative as a constituency, in which case open and transparent conversations and consensus are the mechanisms to arrive at decisions. Youth from every corner of the world can be part of YOUNGO as individuals. Youth organizations can also be part of YOUNGO. 

8th December 2015

Moving on to my 2nd day. I started to join daily YOUNGO meeting and kept on attending it every day. The meeting began at 8am and ended at 9am. During the meeting, I was accompanied by Emily, my other MYD member, as she was kind enough to bring me around the COP area. There are a lot of plenary halls, pavilions for countries to organize side events, booths for NGOs and also, computer area which are free access for everyone who wanted to do their work. All of these are in different halls.

IMG_1552Later on, I went to the Indonesian Pavilion for High Level Session: The Pathway to a Sustainable Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Economy. The speakers were Hon. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (6th President of Indonesia), Hon. Julie Bishop (Minister of Foreign Affairs Australia), Hon. Tim Groser (Minister of Trade and Climate Change New Zealand), H.E Achim Steiner (UNEP Executive Director) and Dr. Fang Liu (Secretary-General of ICAO).

After the session ended, I went to the United States Pavilion for a Clean Power Plan: Challenges and Business Opportunities session by Environment Protection Agency (EPA) – speakers were Gina McCarthy (EPA Administrator), Michael Bradley (Bradley and Associates), Thad Hill (Calpine), Helen Burt (PG & E), Cathy Woollums (Berkshire Hathaway Energy).

Then at 3pm, I and my MYD member, Elaine went to observe the Minister-led informal consultations under the Comité de Paris – Differentiation, in particular with regard to mitigation, finance and transparency which was held in Le Maroni. Our Malaysian negotiator, Professor Gurdial was there too. In between the consultation, we went to Meeting Room 1 for the next Ministerial-led informal consultations under Comité de Paris – Facilitating cooperative approaches and mechanisms. All of the negotiators were working to give their responses on:

  • In relation to Article 3.19, what principles of cooperative approaches should be prioritized by including them in the Agreement?
  • In relation to Article 3ter, should there be one mechanism embodying both crediting and non-crediting approaches, or two separate mechanisms?

A lot of countries responded accordingly. Then at night, I went for a Plenary Session at La Loire where the COP President cum Foreign Affairs Minister of France, Lauren Fabius took the lead in addressing all the delegations. The real negotiations took place in La Siene, but for Pink Badge holders like me, we were not allowed to go inside. Thus, we only watched it in La Loire which was still about the same size of La Siene Plenary Hall. The negotiations resumed till 12am, but unfortunately we were not allowed to go in. Thus we went back and prepared ourselves for the next day.

9th December 2015

My day started with the YOUNGO meeting as usual. Today, I sit at the Spokes Council area where I was given the opportunity to introduce myself and network with other youths. It was a fruitful one as I got to talk with the Global North Focal Point, Tim Damon from SustainUS. He said that in the United States, the West Coast is extremely vulnerable to drought and fires. California in particular – wild fires. And East Coast is vulnerable to sea levels rising and hurricanes. The side event that he organized focused entirely on intergenerational equity and he hoped that more countries will have more delegates and also, have more constituencies to interact between one another so our voices can be heard.

After that, I went on to join the Climate Action with the invitation from Rachel Lynskey of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC). While doing the climate action, I got to know with Joanna Read of the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC) and since we were supposed to have a bilateral meeting between MYD and UKYCC the next day, I used that opportunity to get to know her and ask a little bit about her organization.

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Later that day, all of us the MYD went to the public zone, which was in the Green Zone to dance with Winnie Jimis of Jaringan Orang Asli SeMalaysia (JOAS), as a support for her during the closing of Asia Day at the Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion. We did Sumazau dance and it was really joyful as our spectators mainly from Europe and Asia joined to dance together with us.

After that, MYD team proceeded to La Loire to attend the next Plenary Session of Comité de Paris. The meeting was chaired by Laurent Fabius. A lot of countries voiced their concerns on the reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by a certain date, and the limit of 1.5 or 2 degrees Celcius in global temperature rise. Some countries voiced out about “REDD+”. “REDD” is an abbreviation for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. However, “REDD+” goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. “REDD+” is part of the climate change solution but REDD+ alone cannot adequately mitigate or abate climate change. The implementation of REDD+ must co-exist with significant emission reductions in both developed and developing countries if we hope to curb climate change.

10th December 2015

On my 4th day here, we had a bilateral meeting with the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC). Since MYD is at a very young age, we were keen to know how the UKYCC members manage their organization and what activities they do in the UK to show their solidarity with climate change. It was good to know about the climate mobilizations they made. UKYCCC has been established for around 5-6 years and there are four teams in their organizations which consists of Community team, UK team (domestic), International team and Operations team.

12321614_1071676002884626_1370053795131211655_nAfter the meeting, I went to do my interviews with Max Frankel from World Resources Institute, Ouafae from Moroccan Government Delegation, Giorgia Rambelli from ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and Tim Damon from SustainUS. We were supposed to have an interview with Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition on the same day, but it was postponed because of time issues.

11th December 2015

Today we had our meeting with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) and it has been established for almost 10 years. They fought for 100% renewable energy and in total they have around 130,000 members. But only 500 active members, AYCC have different groups in different states. They often criticized the coal mining in their country and wanted it stop due to the release of carbon dioxide during combustion.

12341133_1072311839487709_2068232994717050035_nAfter that I went to meet Max Van Deursen from the Dutch Youth Representative Sustainable Development to the United Nations and Iago Hairon from Engajamundo of Brazil, to proceed with my interview. Later that day, I went to Hall 5 to witness the YOUNGO Press Conference. I continued to do my work at the computer area at Hall 4 before going back.

12th December 2015

The final text was soon to be released. Today was the day that all the delegations here have been waiting for after long hours of endless commitment and sleepless nights. Some of MYD members went to participate in the climate action movement called the Red Lines held nearby Eiffel Tower. The demonstration was displayed in the news and thousands of people had taken part in it. I chose to be at the COP area because I had only been here for less than a week. Plus I wanted to see the historic moment of Paris Agreement.

When the text was released, I quickly checked on Article 2. But I am disappointed to find that human rights, gender equality, indigenous people’s rights, intergenerational equity, the right to just workforce transition and ecosystem integrity are omitted from the operative sections of the agreement.  This means that although they are listed in the preamble, they do not carry the same legal weight as the articles in the operative text. No agreement we reach will be sufficient unless it is based on a foundation of human rights and social justice.

IMG_20151212_181258The last Plenary Session at La Loire was full house. The main Plenary Session was held at La Seine and that was where the world’s leaders gathered. Among of them are Christiana Figueres (Executive Secretary of UNFCCC), Ban Ki Moon (Secretary-General of United Nations), François Hollande (President of France) and Laurent Fabius (Minister of Foreign Affairs France and COP21 President). Few hours later, I decided to go back after saying farewell to some of my friends that I have met from YOUNGO, UKYCC and AYCC.

13th December 2015

This was my last day in Paris and finally, after a busy week, I had the change to go for sightseeing around Paris. Later that day, I had a dinner together with the MYD coordinator, Adrian and other MYD members – Elaine and Amalen, and also Quek who was the Co-Chair of Power Shift Malaysia 2014. The rest of MYD members were still outside for the sightseeing.

14th December 2015

It was time to go back home and I look forward to involve more in climate change movement, be it locally or internationally. For me, COP21 is just the beginning for more exciting journeys in the future.

To the Malaysian Youth Delegation, thank you for the fabulous experience,

MOHAMMAD SHAKIRIN BIN SHAHRUL JAMAL

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