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Catching up with Ivy Wong Abdullah: 2016 LEDS GP Fellow for Asia

Ivy Wong Abdullah, Senior Vice President of Environment at Yayasan Hasanah and 2016 LEDS GP Fellow for the Asia region, spent one week at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Boston, USA, taking part in its ‘Climate Change and Energy: Policymaking for the Long Term’ program. In this blog, we look at some of the learning from her Fellowship, and what she’s been working on since then.

Ivy’s home institution is Yayasan Hasanah, which is a new grant making facility in Malaysia with a clear focus on supporting environmental conservation, particularly programs that are relevant to climate change mitigation and adaption, such as conserving ecosystems (rainforests, rivers, and marine habitats) and green growth.

The Climate Change and Energy: Policymaking for the Long Term program engages public policymakers around the world on conceptual frameworks and analytical tools to better understand the science of climate change, the impacts of climate change and approaches to adaptation, the sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and potential policies to address these issues.

Throughout the Fellowship, Ivy took part in lectures, discussions, case studies, and group work with the goal of interpreting the science, economics, and politics of the climate-energy nexus and identifying ways to adapt this learning and these tools to the Malaysian context. Ivy also set out to learn more about the language of climate change economics, emissions, and growth in terms of engaging the private sector and policymakers.

The program considered the following key questions:

  • What are the economics that underlie effective policy measures to address climate change, and what are the impacts of these measures on the private and public sectors?
  • What are the options for policymakers in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world, including developing countries?
  • How can developing countries best address climate change while pursuing economic development goals?
  • What progress has there been to slow climate change through international negotiations, and what are the options going forward?
  • What approaches to adaptation and resilience, in the face of climate change are most likely to be most effective, and what impediments to progress exist?

The program also provided avenues for participants to engage with leading US Climate and Energy Scholars serving as Advisors to the US Government on the approaches, rationale, and actions taken by different administrations.

Participants used the program to set up an independent forum for exchange and peer learning, according to Ivy:

Ivy with fellow course participants on the bridge across the Charles River, Boston.

“The training provided a global networking among participants via WhatsApp, which participants created to keep each other posted on what is happening in our respective countries, in our private sectors and organizational development related to climate change. This has run the gamut of achievements, celebrations and catastrophes. We also share updates on climate change and energy via LinkedIn, where most of us are connected.”

Since returning to the Yayasan Hasanah, Ivy has shared the content of the training program with her colleagues – particularly on issues related to the causes and effects of climate change, and greenhouse gas emission reduction plans.

“The result of the internal sharing has been that the Yayasan Hasanah is more open to engaging and advocating for climate change mitigation plans with the government and private sector, and is currently exploring how the Green Climate Fund could potentially transform public and private sector engagement in climate action in Malaysia” said Ivy.

Looking forward, Yayasan Hasanah and Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Hasanah’s parent company) have engaged the Third World Network and South Centre to understand and explore the options for the Malaysian private sector to work with the Green Climate Fund. Khazanah and Yayasan Hasanah have commissioned a research paper from the Third World Network and South Centre to explore these possibilities, due to be published in late 2017.

Ivy continues to engage with the Asia LEDS Partnership, having stayed in contact with LEDS partners in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Morocco from the 2015 LEDS Global Partnership Global Event held in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

“We use social media like LinkedIn and Facebook to keep each other posted on LEDS initiatives from each other’s countries and are part of a vibrant and growing community of LEDS GP members”, Ivy explained.

It is free and easy to become a member of the LEDS Global Partnership – find out more here.

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