The Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Prime Minister’s Department of Malaysia, with support from the Asian Development Bank, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and IMT-GT Joint Business Council (JBC), is developing 14 Green City Action Plans (GCAPs) as outlined under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP). This exercise will enable Malaysia to have access to ICLEI’s global network of 2500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. This also signifies the maturing role of Malaysia in leading and contributing to the goals of the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) and Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
Regional cooperation is essential to realise the nationwide vision. Hence the 12MP (2021- 2025) integrates the IMT-GT and BIMP-EAGA goals as part of the national development agenda. The fourteen initial Malaysia cities that are proposed for the development of GCAPs are Kangar, Langkawi, Kulim, Taiping, Kuala Kangsar, Ipoh, Manjung, Teluk Intan, Kota Bharu, Seremban, Penang Island and Seberang Perai in Peninsular Malaysia, and Labuan and Kuching in East Malaysia.
A programme of successive GCAP is intended to facilitate an orderly and coherent methodology to secure both private and public investments at the subnational level, particularly for the post-pandemic recovery. GCAP focus on project implementation, outlining the importance of capacity building, upskilling, and reskilling training and awareness in bridging the infrastructure gap and leading the economic recovery post-COVID-19.
GCAP supports Education for Sustainable Development through the Eco-Schools Programme and works closely with the financial institution to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable and affordable housing, holistic waste management, development of carbon-neutral resorts, electric mobility, and biodiversity conservation.
Datuk Dr. Zunika Mohamed, Deputy Director General (Policy) of EPU said, “The main objective of the IMTGT and BIMP EAGA GCAPs Kick-Off is to share with the world about our systematic approach to addressing the climate change issue through GCAPs and request the maximum support and cooperation of all the stakeholders to realise this effort.
Datuk Dr. Zunika added, “With GCAP, local governments are stepping away from traditional methods of economic growth in order to create a clear, succinct vision for the future of the city based on elements like thorough study and agreement among significant stakeholders. Each plan outlines “green and sustainable projects” that have tangible climate resilient benefits, and urban infrastructure development. It also details out investment opportunities for achieving sustainable balanced growth in a community”.
She also highlighted that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development identifies the private sector as the primary partner in sustainable development. In this regard, she urged the IMTGT Joint Business Council Malaysia to mobilise private investment in climate action, promote green production practices, and harness the skills and knowledge of private actors to accelerate the implementation of the GCAP.
With Malaysia’s urbanisation rate expected to reach 85% by 2040, demand for services will rise, and cities need vast resources, which, in turn, has a significant impact on the urban environment. GCAP’s role is to provide a solid blueprint to build a better and more sustainable future for cities and their residents by identifying and prioritising environmental challenges connected with sustainable infrastructure investments and policy measures.