Mainstreaming geoscience for sustainable development - the Malaysian experience

Category Other
Group GSI.IR
Location International Geological Congress,oslo 2008
Author Yunus, Razak۱; Pereira, Joy۲
Holding Date 11 October 2008

Geoscience provides the expertise and tools to identify and manage resources for conservation and provision of life support systems as well as protect society from geological and geo-environmental hazards. The three dimensional spatial and temporal approach of geoscience allows for an appreciation of the "big picture" where the environment is concerned. In contrast, environmental policy instruments tend to be sectoral and issue specific. This results in gaps and overlaps, which undermines their overall effectiveness. Geoscience information, communicated in the right form, at the right time to the proper channels for a specific purpose, can play a critical role in increasing the effectiveness of environmental policy instruments. In doing so, various stakeholders in geoscience can also benefit from the substantial resources devoted to the implementation of such policy instruments. Examples of such benefits include the creation of a vibrant economy for geoscientists in the private sector and an increase in research funds for geoscientists in academia.
The experience of Malaysia in promoting sustainable development and strengthening the position of geoscience in mainstream decision-making will be discussed. The lesson learnt is that geoscience institutions require a combination of leadership, international, national and local linkages, and ability to adapt to knowledge, to network and form alliances and partnerships extending into non-geoscience domains, whether environmental, economic, social or political. An initial important step is the creation of an enabling environment to improve understanding of policies, legislative framework and financing structures. There is also a need for clarification of institutional roles to improve its forms and functions as well as capacity building for enhanced institutional effectiveness. The ultimate aim is the integration of geoscience knowledge into existing management instruments and creation of new geoscience-based management instruments for ensuring sustainable development.