Young and Future Generations Day (YoFuGe Day) is a BIG thing for the YOUNGO youth constituency at the Conference of Parties, UNFCCC. It is a day dedicated specifically for the youth and we celebrate it throughout the whole day with activities organised by different organisations. For the first time ever, the Malaysian Youth Delegation organised an official UNFCCC event at the YoFuGe Day at COP23!
The event took place at the Malaysia Pavilion at 10am, right after the Opening Ceremony of the YoFuGe Day that was launched by UNFCCC and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The Opening Ceremony launched the YoFuGe Day by introducing a series of youth-related events, followed by a sharing session of climate stories from YOUNGO members on stage.
MYD’s Youth and Climate Change forum was the first event of the day, after the Opening Ceremony. The objective of the forum is to provide a common platform for youth to exchange ideas and have an intellectual dialogues in the lines of role of youth in climate change, incorporating discussion regarding perspectives on youth from Global North and Global South. The forum engaged a range of esteemed speakers from youth globally.
The lineup of speakers were:
- Lhavanya Dharmalingam from the Malaysian Youth Delegation
- Sara Nyberg from PUSH Sweden
- Lagi Seru from Project Survival Fiji
- Mona Hosseini from CLImates Germany
- Saffran Mihnar from EarthLanka Sri Lanka
- Syaqil Suhaimi from MYD as Moderator
The forum was set up in a relax setting, allowing speakers and participants to engage freely with one another. It was eye opening and mind widening to be able to hear the different scenarios faced by different countries and different regions in regards to climate change. Mona from Germany pointed out that Germany have managed to ban nuclear power, however there is still little progress on coal. She also mentioned about the veganism culture in Germany, and how it is not quite as receptive as many would think. “Youth should step up and take the lead,” she said.
Lagi Seru from Fiji echoed her sentiments on leadership. He stated, “Youth are not leaders of the future. Leadership begins now.”
When it came to a question on equity, or more commonly known as the Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), that is one of the primary principle being discussed in the negotiations and significantly highlighted in the Paris Agreement, captured in Article 2.2, whereby it states that “This Agreement will be implemented to reflect equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances,” Lhavanya from Malaysia passionately voiced out her opinion on the subject matter.
“Malaysia’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) states 35% GHG emission intensity reduction of GDP by 2030 with a 2005 baseline, and a further conditional 10% with support of climate finance, capacity building and technology transfer from the developed countries. Malaysia have already achieved 33% of their 35% unconditional target, but I believe that we can do more. CBDR is an important principle but should not be a crutch,” said Lhavanya.
The panel discussion was followed by a Q&A session. It was great to see the participants being so engaged with the session, and asking many questions. Another Fijian youth even left a powerful message:
“As youth, we need to push the climate change agenda forward. Even if we don’t have space, make one and keep pushing.”
Indeed, youth play an important role in pushing the climate change agenda forward. United, our voices are loud – and we need to be succinct on what we want. We must move forward together collectively for a climate-just future.
At the end of the session, the Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Dato’ Dr. Azimuddin, thanked and greeted the youth at the Malaysia Pavilion, and handed out token of appreciation to the panel of speakers. He congratulated MYD on the successful event and encouraged us to hold more invigorating discourse like this in the future.
To know more on the detailed discussion of the forum, view live video here.
Written by Jasmin
Edited by Varun