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Guidebook: How to develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP) in Southeast Asia - Malaysia - A practical guide for Malaysian local governments

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Eleonora Lo Vullo, Chin Siong Ho, Loon Wai Chau, Fabio Monforti-Ferrario, Valentina Palermo, Silvia Rivas and Paolo Bertoldi.


The Global Covenant of Mayors in Southeast Asia (GCoM SEA) supports Malaysian local authorities in the climate challenge and in their efforts in building more sustainable and resilient communities. It is the "regional covenant" of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM). Under the GCoM SEA, local authorities are invited to take a voluntarily political commitment to implement climate and energy actions in their communities and to agree on a long-term vision to tackle the three pillars of the initiative: access to energy (not developed in the current guidebook), climate mitigation and climate adaptation. In order to translate the political commitment into practical measures, GCoM SEA signatories have also to commit to elaborating and implementing a Climate Action Plan (CAP).

This guidebook has been prepared to assist Malaysian local governments in preparing coherent and effective Climate Action Plans by means of step-by-step guidance and examples of measures especially relevant for the local authorities working in the Malaysian context. The Guidebook is coherent with the Global Covenant of Mayors Common Reporting Framework (CRF) even if the specific choice and sequence of actions can vary according to the policies and measures already in place. This flexibility allows Malaysian local governments to develop a CAP that is consistent with their local circumstances and objectives.

It should be noted that this document stems from the previous experience of the Joint Research Centre’s (JRC) in Europe and other regions of the world (see for example the JRC report: JRC113786 ""How to develop a Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (CAP) in Sub-Saharan Africa and the JRC112986 "Guidebook - How to develop a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan" released in 2018).

It is worth mentioning that the present guidebook also contains an initial overview of the current state of resources of local governments in Malaysia in climate action planning, covering two main aspects: 1) statutory, policy and institutional framework for local climate action planning; and 2) finance, human resources and infrastructures capacity of local governments in climate action planning. This initial overview serves as a basis and should assist the Malaysian local governments in developing a climate action plans (CAPs) according to the general principles set out in the GCoM Common Reporting Framework (CRF).

Thanks to this exercise in resources mapping it has also been possible to reconstruct the chronological development of low carbon and climate change issues and consideration in Malaysia. Although concerns about climate change have been incorporated in Malaysia since 1980s, local authorities and State government still have to face many challenges to implement effective climate action plan. In particular, there is a gap between the higher level policies and local development planning, pointing to the urgency for local authorities in relying on clear guidance for localising and mainstreaming higher level climate actions into concrete local level development policies.

Funding, human capital, infrastructure and information technology have been widely recognised as the nontechnical barriers to climate change mitigation and adaptation planning, which is particularly apparent at the local government level. In this context, the CAPs developed at the local level could play the role of “critical links” between the local, national and global climate change responses and initiatives.