MYD was lucky enough to get in touch with one of our main negotiator- Dr Gary Theseira during COP21. Thanks to the kind permission from our Minister of NRE, we managed to have close interactions with some of our Malaysians negotiators during COP.
We were sort of panicking in the beginning on how to talk to Dr Gary (you know, big shots haha). Luckily Dr Gary turned out to be quite friendly after our first few physical meetup with him- including one of our MYD training series by him. Few of our MYD members (Elaine, Jolene and I) have decided to follow him in COP21 together to kick-start our tracking Malaysian negotiators journey.
In the beginning, we managed to meet a few Malaysian negotiators who are always attending the same meetings with Dr Gary- Prof Gurdial, Miss Gan Pei Fern, Dr Elizabeth Philip and Malaysian observer from Third World Network- Meenakshi. But when time goes on, they all split and barely have time to meet each other physically too, thus their main communication platform is through social chat apps such as Whatsapp and Viber.
It seems that every negotiator have their own assigned Articles or topics to follow- so everyone know their job well. We got to know that Dr Gary is the coordinator of G77 and China, and focusing on differentiation theme as well- mainly Article 2 & 2bis. He attends the daily LMDC coordination meeting almost everyday too, which is chaired by another proud Malaysian- Prof Gurdial.
Besides knowing how the negotiators coordinate among each others, you must be wondering how are we really “tracking” them down? What do we do when we are following them? Do we talk to them?
Well, we mostly take note on whatever they raised up in meetings or plenaries (but Dr Gary is not among the vocal ones in most of the meeting that I attended) and yes, of course we talked to him, but we have very very limited time to do so, sadly; mostly due to the hecticness. We only managed to interact with Dr Gary when he is walking along the aisle or occasionally between breaks. Oh, and we tried staying till the end of meetings for the first few nights so we can actually have more time to talk to Dr Gary on the way back to our apartment. But this does not work for long, since our schedule doesn’t fit anymore afterwards. I personally plan to attend one of his coordination meeting for G77 & China to witness how Dr Gary coordinates- but it got cancelled :/ However, on the bright side, we are happy to gain positive feedback from some of the negotiators that they love to have us the youth delegation here, and they really need our help!
Overall, for the first week, I guess the tracking process with Dr Gary was quite fruitful, mainly because he is kind enough to share plenty of information and knowledge with us during his free time. Unfortunately, I thought our capacity is kinda limited to absorb all the things he told us (should have do more homework, uh!)
Written by: Emily Oi