“My name is Areeya. I work for an environmental NGO in Thailand named TERRA. We monitor Thai investments in neighbouring countries in the Mekong Region and campaign to promote understanding of trans-boundary impacts and rights of the communities to protect their natural resources, livelihoods, and posterity.
I came to Paris hoping to witness the global movement of the people, to find youth voices that speak about climate change and hope that their stories would inspire Thai youth to be interested in climate change. At the moment, many communities are losing their lands to extractive industries. Fishers folks are fighting against coal-fired power plant proposals.
Indigenous communities are at the forefront to protect the forests and their communities from being taken away. Extractive industries and especially coal induce climate change and pollute our soil and water–the basic ingredients for food security.
The forests are part of the natural ecosystem to recycle and absorb carbon, yet they are being cut and the communities who have been living in and protecting the forests–their homes–are being chased away. So, I believe that these are climate change induced disasters.
We (my organization) are not directly monitoring COP or the negotiation; however, we monitor energy policy to help our campaign against large dams and coal-fired power plants. It’s a good news to see Thailand submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) which inserts a 20-25 percent decrease of nation’s greenhouse emission. It shows that it pays attention to take part in the climate negotiation and our prime minister also spoke before the members of COP21 about Thailand’s plan. I do not know much about Thailand’s adaptation and mitigation plan. Nonetheless, if we look into another document: Thailand’s Power Development Plan, we see that it aims to add in 57,459MW in the next twenty years and many projects include more coal-fired power plants and hydro dams, especially in Thailand’s neighbors in the Mekong Region.
At the moment, (the youths’) interest in climate change is still primitive. Many groups are aware of climate change but I personally do not know many who actively advocate on this issue. Thailand did not send any delegate to participate in YOUNGO or the official youth delegation.”
– Areeya from Thailand
“I am Kuan-I, Lee from Taiwan and I am an auditor in KPMG. The two main issue in my country that caused by climate change would be the extreme weather, especially typhoon and air pollution caused by deforestation and the exhaust emission. My organization, Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition (TWYCC) hold several workshops and Taiwan Power Shift to raise the awareness of the civil society and especially for the students and the young people. We are also one of the most positive teams in Taiwan to join in the COP and become the bridge between local and global communities.
Quite a lot of youth are interested in the environmental protection issue or energy conservation and carbon reduction, but the lack of whole picture on climate change is a problem. Youth have a much more ambitious goal and determination. It is probably what the delegates in UNFCCC need, for they may compromise with rather unambitious standard due to the pressure from certain sectional interests.
A series of COP21 documentary sharing events are organized, and we have already prepared 10 videos of different topics, including COY, human chain, red line march and the voice of youth.”
– Kuan-I, Lee from Taiwan
“I’m a student in France, Sciences Po, studying law and political science. I represented Japanese youth in COP21 as a member of climate youth Japan. I have been participating and organizing COP21 simulations around the world in 2015, so my initial purpose was to follow negotiations and compare with what we’ve done, but I ended up also learning a lot from the side events.
Interestingly even though Japan is an island and is supposed to be affected a lot by the climate change, we don’t hear much about the climate change induced disasters. I have read minor news how the agriculture in Japan (especially rice) is being affected by it (lower amount). We are doing our best to influence and improve government policies(we submitted opinion papers to three ministries – economics, foreign affairs and environment) but I think our most important purpose is to increase the awareness among the youth.
We should organize youth NGOs better through YOUNGO. It’s a very huge organization but since this COP was my first one I felt excluded and could not make the best use of it. We are thinking of organizing a climate march but I am not sure when. I really think we need to share the analysis of the paris agreement among the world youth!! and we need to come up with the solutions how the youth can contribute to the IMPLEMENTATION”
– Kristina Yasuda from Japan
“I’m a fresh graduate, my purpose of attending COP21 is to be the UNICEF Climate Youth Ambassador representing Malaysia. In my opinion, we can increase the Malaysian youth participation in UNFCCC by encouraging and ensure the active participation locally – e.g. participation in activities at their particular region, by going on the ground and organizing activities for youths at their particular area/region.
After cop, we plan to expand our work and maybe organize some activities at other different area/region in Malaysia so that more youths can participate and aware of the climate change issue.”
– Belle Bellinda from Malaysia
“I graduated from Keele University majored in International relations. Now I am looking for a job in the PC company. Typhoons, flooding, drought, mudslide, sea level rising and dengue fever are the major climate change induced disaster in Taiwan.
One of the strategy that Taiwan government took to address the issues is by passing the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act in June.
I believe the youth should have the right to participate in the high-level negotiation meetings and be able to intervene directly (in UNFCCC process).
We completed the Youth Delegation Interview Program and participated in the discussion of Asian Youth Climate Netwok Declaration during COP21.
I have also joined the Climate Global March, Health Central to Climate Change Action (Monaco & Health and Environment Alliance – HEAL) when I was in Paris “
– Yu Cheng, Chang from Taiwan
“I am now studying in Master in International Relations and European Studies, I went COY because I wanted to get some incite/ information about climate change related policy/ ongoing works before the start of COP21, it is valuable for me as I planned to work on climate change in the future.
In Hong Kong there is more higher average temperature, causing longer and hotter summer with heavier rainfall and more unexpected extreme weather like heat waves and fluctuation in temperature, typhoon and rainstorm which affects a lot in traffic and daily life in Hong Kong. Climate change also threatened the deep-sea species due to alternation of circulation pattern of regional ocean.
Youth participation and motivation are not strong, nor the coherence of climate change related youth group. Young people will discuss among us, but there is no concrete platform for us to join some campaign or take actions against the climate change issues. “
– Yau Hing Yu
Interviews done by Elaine