The climate negotiation is a collaborative process, and it is a marathon, not a sprint. With the experience of the policy makers thus far, they have really been helpful in explaining the context and the different strategies used by different bodies or stakeholders. I think it would be great if more children and youth representatives can be included in the negotiation process.
The biggest takeaway was getting a bigger picture of the political dynamics in an international conference. COP is a place of diplomacy and politics where you can see the division between world powers. It’s important to understand the global narrative and the durable picture on how some countries are intertwined with their faith, and countries which have opposite interests. I have also experienced a discussion with policymakers.
I had the privilege to sit next to a Pakistani Diplomat while taking a bus to COP. He was the chairperson of the Climate Leader Summit, but his humility and him being humble has given a different perspective to me. He is just like a normal person at COP. No matter how important you are, it’s important to remember your roots. You have to remember that COP is an environmental and climate platform. So, this is the best platform for you to implement climate related initiatives – it can be individual actions, like taking the bus. It might seem awkward for a high-level Diplomat, but this is the place where you can change those perspectives.
I’m here as a representative from an international organisation and have managed to talk to people from the nutrition sector, rural farmers and indigenous peoples.
I’m here as a young representative and youth representative, there was a bit of frustration where we felt like we were still being very much “talked at” and not “talked with”. Even though we were here to share our perspectives, sometimes you will find that there is still a lack of understanding of how to engage with us in these discussions. Other times, people were still interested to hear your perspectives and were also very willing to share their frustrations. It is great to be able to share that frustration with someone.
One important takeaway when I am talking to the other youth is we will think about how we’re going to constructively work together to improve, and not be stuck in frustrations. That’s where you can count on ideas and also make some partnerships and networks.
Words to the other youths
For Malaysian youths, it is to start from where you are and don’t feel compelled to follow any specific path or anyone else in this journey. Engage with your community and constituency to understand what they want and what they need. And when you move forward, please bring along your community with you and work with other stakeholders and organisations. You can go fast if you go alone, but you can go further if you go together.
I think another advice that I can give is to work hard, be brave, and persevere. Sometimes you won’t get much of a response time when you start, and climate action in Malaysia isn’t as vibrant as you might like, but you will have to bring a localised message and try to get people on board. Persevere, be brave, be outspoken, speak the truth, and speak honestly towards people in power and the public alike. Always remember that the message of climate isn’t conditional upon one person, there’s no single climate champion. Instead, see it as a collective. We are all working on this together – have that sense of cooperation and please fight the good fight together.
Do it! If you have an interest, just do it. It is important to find that connection and network, so you can bounce off each other’s energies. There is actually a huge network out there and you just have to seek it. We really need to start building capacities for ourselves to become the next leaders of our country. Try to connect with people from Borneo, colleagues and fellows in related organisations, create a network to learn from each other and guide each other. Also to be able to understand our local perspectives, make local realities and stories heard in the international spaces. There is a low representation of people from Southeast Asia, we really need to step up our game and do our homework, fight for our country and fight for our future. Also, we are better and stronger together, don’t complain, just do what we have to do.
Missed Part 1? Read it here.