International Conference of Low Carbon Asia

Stabilising climate through low carbon actions in Asia :

Road to COP21 and Beyond

11th October 2015


By Dato Mohammed Khaled Bin Nordin



A very good morning to 

His Excellency, Ambassador Christopher Penot, French Ambassador to Malaysia;

His Excellency, Ambassador Masahiko Horie, Ambassador for Global Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan; 

Mr. Masakazu Ichimura, Director, United Nations Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture;

YBhg. Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, Chief Executive IRDA;

YBhg. Datuk Prof Wahid Omar, Vice Chancellor, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia; and

Mr. Nobuhiro Kino, Director of the International Cooperation Office, Ministry of Environment, Japan.


Distinguished Presenters, Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Welcome to Johor and to Iskandar Malaysia!

It is a great honour to see all of you, coming from across the globe to converge in Iskandar Malaysia, the fastest growing economic regions in the world. I say fastest-growing because Iskandar Malaysia is actually only 9 years old, from its launch in 2006 to this very day. As its 10th anniversary approaches, Iskandar Malaysia is still growing at an unprecedented pace with foreign and local investments pouring in at a steady rate and more than 50% of the committed investments being realised as projects on the ground.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Regional Spatial (Land Use) Planning Towards Low Carbon Green Growth


Iskandar Malaysia is a young and very dynamic economic region but we have strong aspirations and commitment  to transform it into a “strong and sustainable metropolis of international standing”.   And we hope of course that you will be significant and pro-active players, researchers and supporters in this major urban development, not only through the Low Carbon Society project, which I’m sure you all know by now, but also through our many interactions and knowledge-sharing that we will have today and tomorrow.  

On behalf of the Johor State Government and the 5 Local Authorities within the Iskandar Malaysia economic region, we are very happy and honoured that you have come all the way here to impart and share with us your vast knowledge and experience on climate change; and urban planning, development and management of your cities and regions.  We want to learn from you, and we hope that we too can show you some of our climate-change related achievements through the Low Carbon Society Blueprint for Iskandar Malaysia and our Smart City Framework.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


A Low Carbon Society for Iskandar Malaysia


Today, many Asian countries experience leap-frogging urbanisation and industrialisation largely due to increased influx of capital and governments’ economic policies.  Asia is set to produce more than half of the global population and Greenhouse Gas emissions in 2050 particularly if the business-as-usual model of development continues.  Most governments in Asia have made commitments towards reducing their emissions in order to avert the worsening climate change scenarios.  One of the means of achieving and translating such commitments is through low carbon society initiatives targeted specifically for cities.  


Let me share with you a number of collaborative research partnerships and dialogues on low carbon society for which Iskandar Malaysia is involved with. They are: 


1. The ‘Low Carbon Society Scenarios for Asian Regions’, which started in 2011, funded by the Japan International Development Agency (JICA) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency.  Its latest project is the preparation of the Low Carbon Society Blueprints for the 5 local authorities within Iskandar Malaysia, which will be launched at COP21 in Paris in December this year;

2. The Economics of Low Carbon Cities, a Mini-Stern Report & the Policy Options for Low Carbon Cities, both funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and

3. There is also the Urban Green Growth in Dynamic Asia Study on Iskandar Malaysia, a joint study by the OECD and Iskandar Malaysia.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Asian wisdom for sustainable development


Iskandar Malaysia’s approach is, and always has been, that our policy-making and implementation must be backed by solid research – scientific backgrounds that can truly substantiate our strategies, policies and programmes.  Without the backup of robust research, we cannot be confident that things will work in the way we envisaged.  


I hope you don’t mind my borrowing some of the wordings in the proposed Iskandar Malaysia declaration. As the declaration clearly pointed out, “Asian wisdom for sustainable development can potentially underpin the success of international and regional climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts”.  


We need to promote harmony and balance; and be self-sufficient in food as well as other ways and thus live more frugally and sustainably. Asia is important and has huge potential in yielding positive results in mitigating and adapting to global climate change.   Thus, I agree with you that it is high time for Asia to act positively and to make a real tangible commitment in addressing concerns about our planet.


Let me give you an example of what and how we are doing this in Iskandar Malaysia where climate resiliency  is concerned.  The ‘Policy Options for Low Carbon Cities’ report, prepared jointly with Leeds University, UTM and Iskandar Malaysia, asks the important question of ‘What is the best way to shift a city to a more energy efficient, lower carbon development path?’  What do we truly need to do in order to tackle climate change and make our cities resilient?  


We see the Policy Options report as a microcosm of what we can do to  Stabilise climate through low carbon actions in Asia, which, is the theme of this conference.  To begin with, this report is the product of several months of intense work by researchers both from the UK and Malaysia, involving policy-makers, Federal and State agencies, local authorities and NGOs.  The implementation of the recommendations of the report will require behavioural change, strong and collaborative commitments between all parties, and innovative means of engaging the industry and the public that can really impact the transition to a low carbon society.  In many ways, I believe this is what Asia needs to do. The spirit of “gotong-royong” and “montanai”, self–sufficiency, inclusive development and growth and the optimisation of our resources are all critical in stabilising our climate. 


Iskandar Malaysia, through its Low Carbon Society Blueprint, which we launched in COP18 Doha in 2012, is making a serious attempt at this.  We started implementing its 281 programmes in 2013 and can now showcase some of the many programmes that have been done or are continuing.


We hope that your knowledge and experiences can further complement our strategies so that we can be truly sure of a positive outcome and success in implementing the Blueprint. 


Final Remarks


Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is truly an honour for me to be involved in this international conference, which paves the way for positive commitment by Asian researchers on helping to stabilise our Planet.  Thank you again for your interest, your support and your on-going commitment in Iskandar Malaysia.  


However, as the saying goes, All Work and No Play, Makes Jack a Dull Boy.  So, please make time to visit some of our unique attractions such as LEGOLAND Malaysia, our beautiful Ramsar sites (we have 3 out of the 6 in the whole of Malaysia by the way), Puteri Harbour and also do go shopping at the Johor Premium Outlets. I hope you will find your Iskandar Malaysia experience a thoroughly pleasant one.  


My special ‘Thank you’ to all of you.  I salute you for choosing Iskandar Malaysia as your venue for this pivotal conference, especially because it is being witnessed by my good friends, His Excellencies Ambassador Christopher Penot of France; and Ambassador Masahito Horie of Japan.  Let this conference  pave the way for the Asian Road to COP21 in Paris this December.


Have a fruitful session today and  I hope that we will all meet again in the near future. 


Thank you!