KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 20): Malaysia must adjust the mechanism of its economic growth trajectory to ensure that it respects the natural limitations that are imposed by planetary boundaries, said Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah.
He said that rather than reducing energy usage per se, Malaysia needs to shift away from unsustainable and damaging fossil fuels, and move towards far greater use of renewable resources.
“If such resources were effectively harnessed, energy consumption will not need to be rationed. Similarly, current methods of food production, whether of crops, livestock or fish, can be adapted, so that they become sustainable and regenerative rather than damaging.
“Technological advances will help us greatly in this quest, such as with the use of drones to make fertiliser delivery more precise, or the increase of battery capacity to facilitate energy storage…economic growth thus can and must continue, but it must be decoupled from its current overuse of limited natural resources and over-reliance on fragile ecosystems,” he said in his address at the Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit here on Tuesday (Sept 20).
However, he said this transition does not require Malaysia to abandon economic growth altogether or a trade-off between growth and sustainability, as such a trade-off would unfairly preclude further development for too many, including those who have yet to attain even the most basic levels of human well-being.
Sultan Nazrin said working towards sustainability requires greatly improved environmental governance, therefore much better regulatory and administrative coordination must be developed between the agencies that manage environmental matters.
“We need to put into place an ecosystem-based approach that includes all stakeholders, and always place broad-based social and economic inclusion at the centre of our sustainability strategies.
“Inclusive development, by definition, must embrace the needs of both the current and future generations. Choices made now will leave an indelible mark on the country’s future,” he said.
He said the transition to a better world must be made real, and cannot just be chatter and lip service, thus policies and incentives must be adapted to ensure that growth continues, but in a way that is sustainable and inclusive.
The five-day Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit, themed “Facilitating a Just Transition”, from Tuesday aims to convene all stakeholders to deliberate on the challenges and urgent action plans required to shape a more sustainable future.
This year’s theme reflects on the accelerating global action on climate following the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, while making climate solutions and social development blueprints more inclusive, equitable and just.-BERNAMA