Including Youth at the Table for Climate Action

March 1, 2023

Youth Environment Living Labs (YELL) conducted a dialogue with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC) on 28th February at Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Berhad (BPMB).

The dialogue highlighted centering young people at the forefront of addressing climate change and environmental hazards and risks. This is realized through a youth-environment engagement framework, while emphasizing local and indigenous knowledge.

The Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC), YB Nik Nazmi bin Nik Ahmad was in attendance, as well as delegates from UNDP Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei Darussalam, UNICEF Malaysia, Amanah Lestari Alam (ALAM), and youth representatives from the YELL network. The dialogue was moderated by youth delegates from UNDP Malaysia and UNICEF Malaysia.

The signing of financial agreement between ALAM and UNDP Malaysia, observed by the NRECC Minister and UNICEF Malaysia Representative.

UNICEF Malaysia

Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Nik Nazmi bin Nik Ahmad said, “The Ministry welcomes YELL as a joint programme by UNDP and UNICEF, supported by ALAM in providing a platform for the youth of Malaysia to take part in climate action and be a game changer in protecting the environment. YELL can amplify the existing sustainability efforts among Malaysia’s youth. Moving forward, it is important to act on the key findings of the Change for Climate Report, for the conversation to include youth from indigenous, rural and lower-income families.”

The dialogue aimed to understand NRECC’s vision and aspirations for engaging young people to take climate action and inform Malaysia’s environmental and climate policies, as well as explore avenues for strengthened and inclusive youth participation.

Resident Representative to UNDP Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam, Niloy Banerjee, speaking at the event.

UNICEF Malaysia

“YELL will provide a platform for youth voices and aspirations to be heard. Most importantly, we aim to build a strong network of youth leaders and amplify the voices of youth in shaping the environment and climate change agenda in Malaysia.”

– Niloy Banerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. 

Youth climate advocate and co-Founder of Kolektif Iklim, Aidil Iman, speaking at the event.

UNICEF Malaysia

“The youth are not significantly responsible for climate change yet their lives will be disproportionately affected by this environmental crisis. It is vital that their voices are heard and transformed into decision-making and that more opportunities that support environmental advocacy become accessible, inclusive and representative of the unique extra vulnerabilities faced by young people especially those from marginalised communities."

– Youth climate advocate, Aidil Iman, Co-Founder of Kolektif Iklim and Member of the YELL Network 

The YELL team at the event.

UNDP Malaysia / UNICEF Malaysia

The Youth Environment Living Labs (YELL) is a joint programme of UNDP Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei Darussalam and UNICEF Malaysia, supported by ALAM. YELL was piloted in 2021, driven by key findings from the Change for Climate report. The report found that Malaysian youth are eager to act on climate and environmental issues, but there was a lack of local narratives and local entry points for young people to get involved in climate action.

An array of action-oriented projects kicked off through the launch of YELL in August 2022, via provision of seed-funding to 20 youth-led projects directly involving 69 youth. Projects include documentation of traditional knowledge, biodiversity survey to fill data gaps in a forest reserve, and repurposing agri-waste into paper products. These projects were supported in partnership programmes with the Ministry of Youth and Sports such as Akademi Impact and SERY.

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