"The resilience of socio-economic and environmental systems is now being tested against the demands of a rapidly growing global population and sustainable economic growth. Malaysia is no exception: we are also actively trying to strike a balance between environmental conservation and development."
"This has not been an easy path for a developing nation," he said. "After all, if we look around the world, many high-income countries achieved prosperity at the expense of the environment, not in concert with it. Nevertheless we take lessons from the experience of others, and striking that delicate balance between development and environmental conservation we must."
Over the past three decades, Malaysia's economy has increased more than a hundredfold, with Gross Domestic Product growth averaging nearly 7% per year. Poverty rates have fallen from 49% to less than 4%. Per-capita GDP has risen from US$370 to more than US$10,000.
At the same time, the country made lower carbon emissions and environment-friendly technologies central planks in Malaysia's sustainable development strategies, foremost among them the New Economic Model.
With help from developed countries in technology transfer and funding, Malaysia is committed to a 40 per cent reduction in the intensity of emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 2020, using 2005 levels as a baseline.
"I am also happy to note that during the Earth Summit in Rio 20 years ago, we pledged to the world to keep at least 50% of our country under forest and tree covers in perpetuity. Today, our green cover is at 74% and 56.4% of our landmass is forested."
"For us, this is the crux of sustainable development: to achieve such goals as relieving poverty by availing ourselves of our natural resources without compromising the ability of future generations to do likewise
|Contact: Terry Collins