17 January 2022 | Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy Southeast Asia (GCoM SEA) Secretariat conducted a series of webinars to kick-off the GCoM Asia Project funded by the European Union (EU) in four Southeast Asian countries, namely Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand. The first session of the webinar was the GCoM National Webinar in Malaysia, which brought a topic: “Collaborative Climate Action in Malaysia for Implementation of GCoM Asia Phase 2.”
The webinar was specifically held to discuss how Malaysian cities, through collaborative actions, could build climate resilience and pave their ways to net-zero carbon emission. Around 70 participants were from both ASEAN and non-ASEAN countries. Prof. Dr. Ho Chin Siong of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) moderated the session and invited Mr. Fransesco Floris of the EU Delegation to Malaysia, who was excited to know the experiences and outcomes from the GCoM Phase I pilot cities, to deliver opening remarks.
In the same hopeful tone, Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, the Secretary-General of UCLG ASPAC/GCoM SEA Secretariat, said, “This event hopes to cultivate knowledge, ambition, and disseminate lessons that could inspire other cities to combat climate change.” Following the opening remarks, Ms. Asih Budiati, Team Leader of the GCoM Asia Project, briefly introduced the project, particularly the requirements and benefits of joining the GCoM network.
Prof. Ho then invited representatives from GCoM Phase I pilot cities (Hang Tuah Jaya, Tawau, and Muar) to share their experiences of being part of the GCoM project. Representing Hang Tuah Jaya Municipal Council was Mr. Rozaidi bin Mahat who delivered a presentation on Sustainable Public Transportation. In line with the city’s vision statement of a net-zero carbon city, Hang Tuah Jaya has several public transportation services, including a bus system (Melaka Free Bus Ride), e-hailing companies, and Melaka airport.
Mr. Muhammad Ikhsan Wahap, the representative from Tawau Municipal Council, introduced his city’s concept to the participants: A Pedestrian and Cyclist-Friendly City. This concept will help the promotion of public transportation in Tawau, where the usage of private vehicles is currently very high. Altogether, these efforts can be useful to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.
The presentation on the Renewable Energy Park initiative came from Mr. Muhammad Ali Tukiman, who represented Muar Municipal Council. This initiative aims to integrate two entirely different types of energy: solar and biogas. In a greater depth, this also brings forth clean energy and deflates methane, which could bring positive outcomes to society and the environment at large.
The Malaysian Association of Local Authorities (MALA) also shared the view. Ms. Noraini Roslan, representing MALA, said that the organisation has been actively promoting cooperation between local and national governments as well as sending out representatives to elevate cities’ climate efforts. Ms. Noraini also emphasised the importance of translating plans into actions.
From technical perspectives in battling climate change, the participants got to hear the presentation from CDP delivered by Ms. Sandy Morris. CDP specialises in assessing mitigation and adaptation efforts for cities by providing technical support in reporting their climate data, providing validation and feedback, conducting webinars and training, and supporting cities to cultivate their climate vulnerability assessment. As a lesson learned from the GCoM Phase I, it is hoped that GCoM Phase II would be able to overcome challenges regarding the capacity of human resources of cities, data collection, and monitoring, and combined forces to strengthen the process.
Wrapping up the session, Prof. Ho mentioned that mitigation and adaptation of climate change would continue to be the most pressing issue. Thus, urgent actions are needed to delimit the rate of current climate change. On top of that, cooperation amongst actors remains key in combating this issue.