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Singapore youths plan to start Asian Climate Network

December 17, 2009

COPENHAGEN: Having an Asian Climate Network and developing materials for teachers to better educate students about climate change are some of the projects that Singapore youths have come up with at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Fifteen Singaporeans – members of non-profit organisation ECO Singapore – are among the 2,000 young people participating in the conference for the first time, and they are expected to meet with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong when he arrives in Copenhagen this week.

24-year-old Amira Karim, who has addressed one official session, said: “I think we’ve come out strong as young people who not only offer solutions but are also innovative enough to come up with ideas, not just moral sentiments or emotions. So I think we have really made a difference.

“We look at the text and we try to suggest our own ideas as to what the leaders are actually discussing and debating about, so that the youths’ ideas are also reflected. It’s not just about the government, but the young people who’ll inherit the world later on.”

The Singaporeans have also been discussing various ideas with their regional counterparts on what can be done post-Copenhagen.

Zhang Yi Tao, a Singapore student, said: “We’re starting this Asian Climate Network because we find that the Asians are generally under-represented in all these global youth meetings. So what we want is to consolidate all the youths from say Malaysia, East Asia, South Asia and even Central Asia… to achieve a kind of solidarity and also make our voices louder and better heard in this entire international youth movement as well.

“We plan to come up with a package on the environment, which we hope to distribute to the schools. I’m an A level student, so I know that climate change is one of the topics that we do for general paper. We think that by coming up with this educational package, we can help the students with essays about climate change and help them understand it deeper.”

At this climate conference filled with professionals and policy-makers, the young Singaporeans said they have learned much about climate change. In fact, they said the conference has taught them how to look at the issue from a macro perspective.

On the possibility of meeting Mr Lee, Amira said: “I think our team is very excited, we’re very excited about meeting our leaders and our delegation just to learn more about Singapore’s climate change policies and also to begin what we hope to be a consultative process about climate change issues and our role in it.

“I think we’re working to analyse some of Singapore’s policies and we hope that we can learn more and also contribute our own solutions to Singapore’s policies.”


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