Malaysian-Danish Country Programme for Cooperation in Environment and Development (2002-2006)

1. Introduction

1.1 Global Cooperation in Environment and Sustainable Development
1.2 Malaysian Objectives for the Malaysian-Danish Cooperation
1.3 Danish Objectives for the Malaysian-Danish Cooperation
1.4 Joint Objectives for the Cooperation

This document is a comprehensive Malaysian-Danish Country Programme for 2002-2006, which reflects a joint perspective on the priority areas for cooperation on environment and sustainable development. Building on the experiences of the previous two cooperation programmes and learning from the various evaluations, a process was designed where the Malaysian priorities for environmental cooperation were documented in a series of background and sectors reports and then matched with Danced priorities. Subsequent discussions between both parties led to the formulation of this Country Programme.

The document sets out the overall goal and objectives of the Malaysian-Danish Country Programme, 2002-2006. It identifies the main focus areas, the objectives and the approaches that will be used. By so doing it will provide a common basis for expectations and reduce misunderstandings by the different stakeholders of what the cooperation is meant to achieve. In turn an improved understanding of the principles and agreed areas of cooperation should reduce time wasted in preparing unsuitable proposals. This document is intended to assist EPU and Danced to monitor and guide the future cooperation as well as provide a detailed guide to project designers and implementers.

The document also provides a longer-term perspective that allows participating institutions to take account of Danced cooperation in their environmental development plans and budgets. The overall Danish contribution for the cooperation programme is expected to be DKK 80 million per year for the five-year period.

1.1 Global Cooperation in Environment and Sustainable Development

Principle Seven of the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development declares that: "States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem." This spirit of international cooperation and partnership is further defined by the Rio Declaration in its principle of "shared but differentiated responsibility", which allocates a differential share of responsibility for the world's environmental problems between the developed and the developing countries. Through these statements the developed countries acknowledge the heavier responsibility they bear in the pursuit of global sustainable development, in view of the pressures that their societies place on the global environment and their greater access to the technologies and financial resources for addressing environmental degradation. Agenda 21 states: "Given the major costs involved, it is essential that developed countries provide new and additional financial resources".

Some of the action programmes arising from the Rio conference are being implemented through a number of international conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), and the international policy process on sustainable forest management (now reflected in the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests, IFF). These mechanisms reflect the collective concerns and priorities facing many countries throughout the world.

In response to these challenges, Denmark followed up on the UN objective agreed at the Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro by establishing in 1993 a financial facility for Danish environmental assistance, now known as the Environment, Peace and Stability Fund. It was decided that the total budget should gradually increase until - by 2005 - it reaches the target of 0.5% of the Danish GNI. These resources are to be distributed equally between environmental efforts and peace and stability initiatives. Denmark provides environmental assistance to a broad range of countries and project types throughout the world (Eastern and Central Europe, the Arctic and developing countries in South East Asia and Southern Africa), each with its own needs, considerations and priorities.

On the basis of this decision, Denmark developed a strategy for regional cooperation in South East Asia and also Southern Africa. Danish cooperation on the environment in Malaysia and Thailand is administered by the Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development (Danced) whilst the Danish International Development Assistance (Danida) administers the cooperation in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The Malaysian–Danish cooperation is coordinated by the Government of Malaysia, through the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Minister's Department.

The cooperation on environment and sustainable development between Denmark and Malaysia started in 1994 with the first Country Programme that lasted until 1998. A second Country Programme for cooperation covers the years 1999-2001. Both Malaysia and Denmark have expressed an interest in continuing and consolidating the programme of cooperation within environment. This document outlines the third Country Programme, which covers the period 2002-2006. The third Country Programme coincides closely with the 8th Malaysia Plan (2001-2005) and the process to prepare for and follow-up from the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.

1.2 Malaysian Objectives for the Malaysian-Danish Cooperation

Vision 2020 describes the long-term development aspirations of Malaysia and states that, in the pursuit of economic development, Malaysia will also

"ensure that her invaluable natural resources are not wasted. The land must remain productive and fertile, the atmosphere clear and clean, the water unpolluted, the forest resources capable of regeneration, able to yield the needs of the national development. The beauty of the land must not be desecrated for its own sake or for economic advancement."

One of the seven critical thrusts in the National Vision Policy introduced in the Third Outline Perspective Plan (2001-2010) is: "Pursuing environmentally sustainable development to reinforce long term growth". Other critical thrusts include raising quality of life, eradicating poverty and strengthening human resources.

More specific environmental priorities are contained in the five-year Malaysian Plans. The 8th Malaysia Plan (2001-2005) retains the emphasis on a balanced development with environmental considerations. One of the nine key strategies to implement the plan is ‘adopting an integrated and holistic approach in addressing environmental and resource issues to attain sustainable development". In order to advance this strategy - the government will adopt early preventive measures and apply the precautionary principle to address environment and natural resource issues. It will also put in place the enabling conditions for effective policy change. Two of the new proposed policies are the proposed national water policy and a comprehensive waste management policy. Land use planning will be strengthened and regulations introduced to control access to biological resources and address biosafety issues. The government will also remain active in the negotiation and implementation of environmental conventions and agreements.

Malaysian objectives related to improved environmental management are included in the Draft National Environment Policy (1999):
Ensure a safe and healthy environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
Conserve the country’s unique natural resources and diverse cultural heritage.
Promote lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production consistent with the principles of sustainable development.

Several specific objectives related to Environment and Natural Resource Management have been included in the 8th Malaysia Plan including for:

Urban and industrial environment
Development and implementation of a waste management policy to address waste reduction, re-use and recycling
Encouraging the use of cleaner production technologies especially among SMIs

Developing renewable energy as a fifth fuel, particularly from biomass and biogas.
Promoting energy efficiency in the industrial, and commercial sectors

Natural resource management
Develop and implement a national water policy to provide the framework for water conservation and management
Give more emphasis to demand side management of water and sustainable use of groundwater resources
Implement the national Biodiversity Action Plan in the various states
Encourage sustainable forest management and multiple-use of forests

Intensify ongoing efforts and introduce new approaches to strengthen land use planning
Enhance the level of environmental awareness and civic consciousness among the people
Fulfil obligations under environmental conventions
Improve management and interpretation of environmental information
Promoting the use of appropriate market-based instruments and self-regulatory measures among industries.

1.3 Danish Objectives for the Malaysian-Danish Cooperation

The overall objective of Danish environmental assistance as defined in "Strategy for Danish Environmental Assistance, 1996" is to promote increased efforts to combat global environmental problems. Initiatives are focused in two regions: South East Asia and Southern Africa, in order to:
Prevent and limit air, water and soil pollution.
Promote sustainable use of energy.
Promote the environmentally sustainable utilisation of natural resources and the conservation of nature.

Emphasis is put on projects that:
Develop capacity in environmental administration.
Improve awareness of environmental problems and solutions.
Establish demonstration or pilot projects.
Facilitate environmental investments and private sector involvement.

A strategy for Danish Regional Environmental assistance in South East Asia was prepared in 1997 and provides a framework for development of regional cooperation as well as country level activities.

The Danish parliament has in recent debates and resolutions in 1996, 1999 and 2000 given mandates to the international cooperation within environment and sustainable development in the following areas:
Enhance the ability of the cooperation countries to fulfil their obligations to international environmental conventions and agreements.
Strengthen the recipient country’s environmental efforts through participation of civil society.
Make use of the Danish resource base (i.e. NGOs, private sector and universities) when preparing and implementing environmental assistance programmes.
Increase information activities and the public debate in general.
Prioritise the use of sustainable energy.
Regional projects should be given higher priority..

1.4 Joint Objectives for the Cooperation

The joint overall objective for cooperation between Malaysia and Denmark is:

"Assist Malaysia in achieving sustainable development, through the implementation of environment and natural resource management projects, in line with international environment conventions and agreements".

More detailed objectives within the focus areas are given in chapter 4.

The third Country Programme is intended to consolidate what has been achieved in the two earlier cooperation programmes. There is a consensus that the third Country Programme should focus on core support to fewer areas of cooperation but still be flexible to take advantage of significant new opportunities that may arise for improving the environment. Supporting a fewer number of areas will improve the quality of support and enable a close dialogue to be built up with key partners.

Therefore, a core programme of support that is embedded in Malaysian priorities, plans and budgets should be complimented with flexible support that will be able to test new approaches and directions that probably would not otherwise have been initiated.

Generally there is a desire to see the cooperation move away from a donor–recipient relationship and towards a more cooperative partnership where commitments and obligations (including financial obligations) are equal and mutual. Thus within the core programme of support one of the important factors in future cooperation will be the adequacy of the financial and human resources of the lead Malaysian institutions involved in the main focus areas of cooperation.

There is an expectation that cooperation with Danced will strengthen the arguments and leverage of those who support greater emphasis on environment and sustainable development both within and outside the public sector – not only nationally but also regionally and globally. This rationalisation of priorities within the political and economic agenda is shared goal of Danced, EPU and the wider international community.

It is intended that the third Country Programme will support a process of consolidation of current partnerships, together with the evolution of the nature of Danced support to one which will have more focus on cooperation on regional environmental issues, together with longer term self-sustaining partnerships between government, non-government, private sector and university partners.