9 out of 10 youth in Malaysia are already taking individual action to address climate change

Change for Climate: National Youth Climate Change Survey reveals knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of youth towards climate change

19 November 2020
Heart and leaf

PUTRAJAYA, 19 November 2020 – Nine in 10 youth in Malaysia have experienced environment and climate-related effects in the last three years. 92 per cent of young people think that climate change is a crisis. These are some of the results of the National Youth Climate Change Survey (NYCC) released in the report Change for Climate by UNDP and UNICEF, supported by EcoKnights. The report is released to mark the occasion of World Children’s Day.

"Instead of watching sea levels rise, youth should rise up, lead the movement, and stir the waves of change for a better tomorrow. Humans are the root of the problem, but we can also be the solution for change” said Toh Zhee Qi, 22, member of the Malaysian Youth Delegation and Law student at the University of Malaya.

The NYCC survey polled 1,393 respondents from youth and young people in Malaysia. The survey results formed the basis of recommendations highlighted in the Change for Climate report:

  • Facilitate youth-led climate policies through regular consultations and meaningful participation in climate policy-making processes.
  • Make climate action more accessible and inclusive by moving the conversation beyond urban centers to encourage youth from rural and lower-income families to participate. ​
  • Offer platform, support, and recognise indigenous youth activists, community groups, and civil society organisations who are leading climate action initiatives. ​

“The way we engage young people today on critical issues like the climate will determine the prospects for our planet and for sustainable development” said Niloy Banerjee, UNDP Resident Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. “Youth bring with them incredible drive and commitment to change things for the better. We must utilize young people’s potential as powerful agents of change, involve and empower them in the development of policies, and support their participation in climate action at all levels.”

Youth-led initiatives play an important role in addressing the climate crisis, and there is a need to better support capacities and enabling environments for youth empowerment. ​

“Young people have been telling us that they are concerned about the environment. This World Children’s Day, we must commit to listen, and to include them in the decisions that shape our shared future. This conversation must go beyond the urban centres and platform youth from rural and lower-income areas who are already leading on climate action initiatives” said Dr Rashed Mustafa Sarwar, UNICEF Representative in Malaysia. “This is our opportunity to reimagine a greener and more sustainable future, for every child.”

The survey also brings to light some barriers to acting decisively on climate change. Young people say that a climate-friendly lifestyle is expensive, and that they need more information and knowledge on what they can do to tackle climate change. Furthermore, some do not think their individual actions can make a difference, which could lead to discouragement and indifference.

“Youth are the voices of the future, and the stakes are higher for them as they are the ones who will be facing the consequences of the climate crisis - if nothing is actively being done committedly to reverse this matter” said Fadly Bakhtiar, Programme Director of EcoKnights. “No one in this world deserves to be ignored. If young people are courageous enough to take on the challenges thrown to them and take control of their own lives, it is our obligation to guide and support these groups to achieve their goals.”

To launch the Change for Climate report with the UNDP-UNICEF National Youth Climate Change Survey, a Youth Dialogue on Climate Change will take place on World Children’s Day, 20 November at 8pm online. “Youth Talks! Climate Change” is a dialogue that will highlight findings from the survey and continue the climate conversation among Malaysian youth, led by young people.


Notes to the Editor

For more information on the Change for Climate campaign, and to download the report: https://www.unicef.org/malaysia/change-climate-campaign

“Youth Talks! Climate Change” is a dialogue led by young people to highlight findings from the National Youth Climate Change Survey and to launch the Change for Climate report. The youth-led dialogue on climate action and environmental justice aims to provide a platform for youth to share their experiences in addressing climate change, and to launch a call to action to mobilise youth to participate in the climate action agenda.

Panel discussion

  • Joe Baxter Bernard (Assistant Manager, TONIBUNG)
  • Aidil Iman (Campaigner, MyHutan)
  • Celine Ng (Project VOCAL of EcoKnights)
  • Muhammad Ridzwan bin Ali (Senior Assistant Secretary, Climate Change Policy and Negotiation Unit, Climate Change Division, Ministry of Environment and Water)


  • Toh Zhee Qi (Malaysian Youth Delegation)

To attend the Youth Dialogue on Climate Change happening on 20th November at 8pm, register here: https://tinyurl.com/youthtalksclimatechange


Media contacts

Rachel Choong
Communications Officer (Media)
UNICEF Malaysia
Tel: +60122932690
Chin Su Ci
Communications Associate
Tel: +60122808908


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

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About UNDP

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.

For more information about UNDP and its work, visit: www.my.undp.org

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About EcoKnights®️

EcoKnights®️ is a not-for-profit environmental organisation that provides and delivers development and environmental interventions to communities, government agencies, learning institutions, and companies to mobilise and catalyse the stakeholders towards sustainable development across trans- and interdisciplinary fields to build bridges towards achieving sustainable communities and companies across five main pillars.