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Completion of the Study on Strengthening Environmental Governance in Malaysia

Sunday, 1 August 2021

After months of intense work, the Academy of Sciences Malaysia has submitted its report to the Ministry of Environment & Water (KASA)

We are proud to have been on the Task Force established by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) which was appointed as the strategic partner by the Ministry of Environment & Water (KASA). The job was to undertake an ambitious study on the most feasible pathways towards strengthening environmental governance in Malaysia.

We are honoured to work alongside an eminent team of senior civil servants, heads of government agencies and departments, leading academics, experts and practitioners from multiple disciplines. This wouldn't have been possible without Professor Dato' Ir. Dr. A. Bakar Jaafar FASc, who chaired the Task Force, opening the door for us to serve on the Task Force.

Our work focussed on the legal chapter, led by Professor Dato' Aishah Bidin FASc. It was wonderful to be able to contribute on the environmental rights themes we champion: enhancing public participation (access to information and participation in decision-making) and upholding environmental justice (especially by improving access to justice through the civil courts).

We were especially delighted when our work in the Task Force crossed with our work in the All-Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia on the SDGs (APPGM-SDG) when the APPGM-SDG was consulted as an important stakeholder for inputs for our study. The session benefited from the inputs of several MPs, two of whom were portfolio-relevant ministers under the previous government, as well as subject matter experts from the APPGM-SDG team.

The study was an invaluable opportunity to map the obstacles and challenges (across the economic, fiscal, institutional, legal, operational, scientific and political spectra), particularly the federal-state fragmentation in Malaysia. It is against this complex landscape that several options were analysed.

It is clear that the road towards strengthening environmental governance is long and winding. However, throughout the diverse and inclusive process of our study, we see opportunities and glimmers of hope. That's enough to keep us going, chipping away from where ever we are, with what ever we have, and having faith that others too are doing the same.

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