Youth Environment Living Labs welcome new partnership with the EU

EU supports a joint programme by UNDP and UNICEF Malaysia in advancing youth-led climate and environmental action

KUALA LUMPUR, 8 April 2024 UNDP Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei Darussalam and UNICEF Malaysia announced a new partnership today with the European Union funding the Youth Environment Living Labs (YELL) to expand the reach and impact of YELL’s activities.

As a joint programme by UNDP Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei Darussalam and UNICEF Malaysia, in collaboration with Amanah Lestari Alam (ALAM) and the European Union (EU), YELL is a platform to create opportunities for young people in Malaysia to play an effective role in actions on climate-related and environmental issues.

YELL’s first collaboration with EU in Malaysia at the COP28 Youth Aspirations Dialogue, held in October 2023. Photo credit: YELL/2023/Anusha

YELL aims to localise climate narratives and emphasise local and indigenous perspectives on nature and environment so that they are more relevant and compelling to young people in Malaysia, and to strengthen the ecosystem of actors to support and hold the space for young people to engage as agents of change in environmental policy and action.

H.E. Mr Michalis Rokas, Ambassador of the European Union to Malaysia said “Young people’s role in climate action is core to the EU’s external action. They are the driving force for a sustainable future and their action is key for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The EU is proud to support the YELL project and partner with UNDP, UNICEF and ALAM. Through the collective efforts in this unique youth-led initiative, the EU and its Member States are committed to providing opportunities and necessary skills for young people. It will enable them to concretely act as agents of change, entrepreneurs and innovators to accelerate climate action in their local communities and ensuring that no-one is left behind. 

The EU’s support will provide crucial resources for YELL’s upcoming programmes, including the ‘Conservocation Programme’. This work experience initiative will connect 20 young Malaysians in 2024, with local environmental organisations for 6 months, offering valuable learning opportunities through mentorship, and work-shadowing experiences.

Datuk Ali Tan Sri Abdul Kadir, Chairman of ALAM, expressed his optimism about the positive impact of this partnership, “ALAM takes pride in championing youth empowerment to address climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental challenges through its ongoing collaboration on YELL with UNDP and UNICEF since 2022. ALAM is excited about its new partnership with the EU, which highlights the importance of YELL in inspiring local climate actions among youth throughout Malaysia. We anticipate that this collaboration will extend the programme’s reach to the grassroots, including remote and indigenous communities.

YELL will launch its flagship Seed Grant programme later this year. The seed grant, which provides funding of up to RM 100,000 per project, is expected to support innovative ideas and pilot projects to engage even more young people in climate action.

This expanded partnership represents a significant step forward in our collective efforts to combat climate change and protect our planet for future generations. In leveraging the support of the EU, we aim to inspire, educate, and empower young Malaysians via YELL to become active agents of change in their communities,” said Niloy Banerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam.

Climate change is affecting children everywhere. It is our duty to facilitate active engagement and participation of children and young people in shaping solutions. UNICEF is a proud partner of YELL, where young people contribute to climate action, raise their voices, and cultivate a sense of responsibility for creating a safe and sustainable world, said Robert Gass, UNICEF Representative to Malaysia and Special Representative to Brunei Darussalam.

Since its launch in 2022, YELL has directly empowered young people through the funding of 15 youth-led projects, and reaching almost 850,000 people with awareness-raising communications, while continuously fostering dialogue between young Malaysians and decision-makers. YELL’s pilot work experience programme has further supported 7 young people to gain experiences, skills and exposure in conservation and sustainability sectors.