Building Back Better: ICLEI to Support Malaysia in Developing  Green City Action Plans

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability South Asia, in partnership with ICLEI-Southeast Asia, is supporting the Government of Malaysia in the development of Green City Action Plans (GCAPs) for Malaysian cities as a lead technical partner to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and with support from the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand-Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Joint Business Council (JBC) Malaysia. The Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister’s Department, Government of Malaysia, being a nodal entity at the national level, is taking a leading role to prepare and implement 14 GCAPs in the IMT-GT and Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). This GCAP program is designed considering the requirements of the ‘Environmental Sustainability’ pillar of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) 2021-2025 to promote the development of green and sustainable cities under its vision of ‘A Prosperous, Inclusive, Sustainable Malaysia’. This program is also expected to contribute to the Government of Malaysia’s commitment to be a carbon-neutral nation as early as 2050 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda). The GCAP program will engage and mobilize local governments, sub-national and national government agencies, government-linked companies (GLCs), the private sector, development partners, international agencies, and other stakeholders to promote low-carbon and climate-resilient interventions in Malaysian cities.

To this end, the EPU, ADB, ICLEI, and JBC, with support from other agencies, organised the official kick-off of the IMT-GT and BIMP- EAGA GCAP programme on the theme of ‘Building Back Better” on the 7th and 8th of July 2022 in Langkawi, Malaysia. The official kick-off event witnessed the participation of over 200 delegates including national and state level ministers, ambassadors, CEOs, councillors, policy planners, development professionals, and civil society representatives.

In his thematic address at the event, Mr. Emani Kumar, Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia, said, “I congratulate EPU, Government of Malaysia, and ADB for their leadership role in the IMT-GT and BIMP-EAGA region to promote -much needed – green and sustainable cities. This program will not only promote environmental sustainability but also bring investment from the private sector and international agencies for the economic prosperity of the Malaysian cities’’. Further, representatives of ICLEI have also spoken in several technical sessions to provide practical guidance and insights on GCAP preparation and implementation highlighting the importance of building resilient infrastructure, greener recovery, and the role of financial institutions in supporting sustainable cities.  ICLEI was also felicitated by Dato’ Sri Mustapa bin Mohamed, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) for its work on preparing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories and climate action plans for Malaysian cities over the past few years.

The GCAPs will follow ICLEI’s proven and systematic process based on the Green Climate Cities framework and Climate Resilient Cities methodology to identify gaps and opportunities for low carbon and climate resilient development in Malaysian cities. The CRC methodology was successfully tested by ICLEI for the preparation of economy-wide GHG Emissions Inventory and GCAP in Melaka and Kota Kinabalu respectively between the years 2015 to 2019. Based on the Melaka and Kota Kinabalu models, these new GCAPs will include baseline assessments on key urban sectors, growth areas and competitiveness, economy-wide GHG emissions baseline with both sources and sink profiles based on the internationally accepted global protocol for community-scale greenhouse gas emission inventories, climate risk, and vulnerability assessment, climate-resilient actions, and implementation plans. The program will build the technical capacities of municipal officials and local stakeholders to effectively plan and respond to complex challenges of rapid urbanisation and climate change. The technical knowledge of municipal officials on preparing and designing investable sustainable infrastructure projects and mobilising investment from new and innovative financing sources will also be built during the GCAP program in the next five years.

One of the core elements of the program is to identify a pipeline of priority quality infrastructure investments that will increase resilience and respond to intensified challenges caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The program has also identified several low-cost high-impact low hanging projects including Electric mobility, Eco-Community Housing, Solar Photovoltaic, Energy Efficient Street Lighting, Waste to Energy, Plastic Waste management, nature-based solutions, and Eco-School including several others which will be implemented in the Malaysian cities over the next five years. The private sector has been identified as a key player in the implementation of infrastructure pipelines in Malaysian cities by incorporating new ideas, sustainable solutions, and cutting-edge technologies into the GCAPs.


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