UTM Appointed as the National EPI Research Consultant

Johor Bahru, 31st January:  Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has been appointed as a national consultant to work with the Columbia University and Yale University to conduct research on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) of this country.

UTM Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dato’ Ir. Dr. Zaini Ujang said Malaysia ranked 54 out of 163 countriesaround the world for the year 2010 to determine a benchmark on world environmental policy.

“To strengthen the framework of EPI, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in collaboration with the UTM has organised a one day seminar on Development of Environmental Performance Index Malaysia at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) on January 27, 2011,” he said.

The conference was attended by 50 participants from government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“Among the speakers invited to attend the conference was UTM Visiting Professor, Assoc. Alex deSherbinin of the Centre of International Earth Information Network (CIESIN), Columbia University. His presence was part of collaboration between UTM and Columbia University regarding EPI issue,” said Zaini.

EPI was developed by Yale University and Columbia University in collaboration with the European Commission and the World Economic Forum to assess the country’s sustainability where two major objectives which are environmental benefits and effects of pollution to human wellbeing. EPI seeks to provide awareness among planners and policy makers of the countries in the world of theimportance to make the determination based on 25 indicators of environmental performance. Among the aspects valuated include climate change, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, water pollution and air pollution that may have an impact on life on earth.

“Climate change and carbon emission controls of greenhouse gases that cause climate change, while in the field of agricultural, the aspect of the water utilization, subsidies and controls on the useof pesticides,” he said.

EPI is a very important method which gives an overview of the success in managing the country’senvironment and natural resources.“It also affects the perception of investors and tourists who willcome to the country which provides significant economic impact on the lives and welfare of its people as a whole,” he said.

The New Economic Model (NEM), introduced by the government recently also emphasis on environmental preservation and conservation of the natural resourses as vital to the physical and economic development.

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