Leadership Development Fellow Adrian Yeo, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, gives us his take on how civil society is influencing the region's climate commitments.
The UNFCCC has decided that each country must produce an ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contribution’ (INDC), which will form the foundation for climate action post-2020. They should include specific measures or projects countries will expect to do in order to keep average global temperature rise below 2˚C – the internationally-agreed limit aimed at preventing irreversible climate change.
South East Asia, the region I live in, has been making headway on this process.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to help organise and attend “A-FAB/CAN Workshop for Fair and Ambitious INDCs in Southeast Asia” in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was a collaboration between A-FAB (ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious & Binding Global Climate Deal) a regional policy lobby group network and CAN. The workshop aimed to identify each ASEAN country’s position on their INDC and strategise on how to make them more ambitious.
The workshop was always going to be challenging – are the participants ready to strategise just after Lima? Are the technical aspects of the INDC formalised? Do we have the right experts on the subject to lead the discussion?
However the conference opened promisingly. We watched various speakers share their country’s position on climate change and their current thinking on their INDC. It was interesting to hear about the different approaches from a developing country viewpoint and also recognise the risks.
The following day, we delved deeper into strategising strong INDCs in ASEAN’s context. The workshop invited Mr Apichai Sunchindah, former ASEAN Secretariat and Mr Jerald Joseph from ASEAN People Forum (APF) to share great insights on how ASEAN works and our advantages in lobbying INDC in this regional block.
A statement put out by ASEAN last November however does provide us with some hope. This statement contains strong commitments and should be used to remind ASEAN policy makers that it stands as a basis for future INDC’s commitments.
On the final day, I moderated a sharing session, where I tried to supply participants with practical tools and action items from the previous days of discussion so the ideas could be implemented in their home country. There was also a press briefing conducted for the media on the INDCs and their importance in the run up to Paris COP21.
The experience of working with regional networks and fellow colleagues enriched my understanding of Southeast Asia. It is a small region which shares many similarities but also has very diverse climate and environmental issues. Like the local Malaysian saying “same-same but different”.