MYD spoke at Youth Day in Nordic Pavilion

Today marks the 1st day (7th of November 2017) of the 23rd session of the Conference of Parties #COP23.

The Nordic countries had a joint pavilion under the auspices of Nordic Council of Ministers and they had set the thematic for the very 1st day of COP23, to be YOUTH DAY.

I was fortunate to be invited as a panelist for one of the session named “Youth and Climate Change”. The session served as a platform for us, the youth, to share our experience of climate change impacts, what paved our way to get empowered, and what we have done to combat climate change. The session had a well-balanced global south and global north representatives.

From left, Adam Leckius (PUSH SWEDEN), Fredrick Ouma, Matilde Solberg Clemesten (The Norwegian Youth Delegation), Thomas Lai (Malaysian Youth Delegation MYD)

After the sharing session, there was a breakout group discussion on four different topics. I moderated one of the discussion, which was based on the role of youth organisations at a national level to accelerate climate action.

The rendezvous was constructive and we managed to compile all ideas into four main roles that youth were able to contribute to speed up climate action:

  • Education
  • Collaboration
  • Green Vote
  • Gender Empowerment.

Education

Policy languages tend to be tough to digest as jargon can be widely found. Due to these predicaments, public easily get lost in translation and eventually lost interest in studying about it. Thus, it is really important to translate and convey the message into laymen terms – This is where youth can show its fortitude. It become easier to get the message across in a more meaningful and efficient way as the generation gap is minimal. When comes to creating awareness, nothing can beat the creativity of the youth.

Collaboration

Asides rendering criticism, youth can provide recommendation to the government in combating climate change. In order to provide constructive feedback, it is also vital for the youth to understand the governance of the country (i.e how Federal and State governments function). To enact this, we could encourage the government of the day to educate the public on the governance.

Green Voting

Climate change has become a mainstream issue. Given the fact that most of the people are already aware of this, the politicians may use this a platform to gain extra vote from the public. In order to hold their accountability, we the youth, have a role to play. Before the general election, the youth can gauge the politicians’ knowledge on climate change and/or environment issue (i.e renewable energy, mitigation, adaptation plan). After their manifesto are published, we can then analyse them and constantly follow up with the politicians on the promised they had made.

Gender Empowerment

Climate change is not gender biased as it affects everyone with women, who are the most vulnerable. Educating and empowering the female population can be one of the agenda for youth. During the discussion, William Horsu from Institute For Sustainable Energy & Environmental Solutions, points out a very important statement, which I completely agreed upon.

“When you educate a man, you educate a person. When you educate a woman, you educate the community.”

Enhancing the capacity building of women (not limited to guys as well) is a catalyst for development, which help boost countries with economy growth, socioeconomic development, and also keep environmental problem in check. Last but not the least, increasing the potential of adaptation would be required.

Written by Thomas

Edited by Varun

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