Empowering young people to fight climate change

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It is the responsibility of every Malaysian to elect leaders who are committed not only to economic growth and the welfare of the people, but also to environmental sustainability when they vote in the 15th general election.

Indeed, the economic growth of the country must be mutually based on the protection of the environment in accordance with Agenda 21 of the Rio Convention of 1992 on sustainable development.

Indeed, the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly noticeable and worrisome, as evidenced by the extreme flooding and erratic weather patterns that Malaysia has been experiencing in recent times.

One of the ways to tackle climate change is to develop a national economic transformation strategy for more sustainable growth by focusing on green energy and actively promoting green jobs among Malaysians, especially the youth.

Young people are the smallest contributors to climate change, but they are also the most vulnerable to its effects. The government should therefore seriously consider stepping up the involvement of young people in public policy advocacy on environmental and climate issues. Young people must have access to environment-related information to enable them to contribute meaningfully to climate action at local, national and international levels.

Youth groups should also be recognized as strategic partners in the government’s policy and decision-making process.

This issue was highlighted at the Youth4Climate 2022 summit held in conjunction with the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last month, which I attended as the sole representative of Malaysian youth. .

The summit, titled ‘Powering action’, focused on four main pillars, namely youth ambition, sustainable recovery, engagement of non-state actors and a climate-smart society.

The summit also provided a space for young activists from around the world to exchange opinions, share experiences and knowledge on the issues and initiatives they are leading to fight climate change and explore opportunities to collaborate in the creation of a global community of young people on environmental issues.

I also believe that efforts to address climate change should involve working with marginalized groups such as the Orang Asli so that more inclusive and holistic decisions can be made.

I therefore call on the Malaysian government to commit to prioritizing climate change and mainstreaming it into the country’s development plans.

MOGESH SABABATHY

Youth climate advocate, PhD student,

University Putra Malaysia

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