With United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s second and final term drawing to a close, historians will soon begin assessing his accomplishments in that high office, a position once dubbed “the most impossible job on earth” by Trygve Lie, the first secretary-general.
They will, for example, dissect his reforms of the institution, notably in peacekeeping operations, and, more importantly, assess the impact of his diplomatic work. In that category, three of the most profound achievements on Ban’s watch were cemented in the past year.
Under his leadership, more than 190 world figures representing virtually all of humanity agreed to 17 “Sustainable Development Goals”, setting priorities within the development agenda through 2030 with a defining pledge that no one will be left behind.
The ambitious aims of SDGs include ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, achieving agriculture and food security, improving access to energy, clean water and sanitation, ensuring healthy lives and “wellbeing for all at all ages”.
SDGs also take aim at addressing climate change, an issue Ban began to champion early in his administration.
In a speech on March 1, 2007, two months to the day after assuming office, Ban told the General Assembly that “for my generation, coming of age at the height of the Cold War, fear of nuclear winter seemed the leading existential threat on the horizon. But the danger posed by war to all humanity, and to our planet, is at least matched by climate change”.
Two years later, he warned that humanity’s “foot is stuck on the accelerator and we are heading for an abyss”. Driven by deeply-rooted concern about the global havoc potentially embedded in the climate change problem, Ban pursued the issue with a determined effort that culminated in a landmark agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, hosted by Paris last December.
The third major event overseen by Ban last year was the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction resulting in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
In all of these three achievements, what was inspiring for the scientific community was Ban’s appreciation for the pivotal role that science could play in helping solve these global challenges. He led by example in putting science at the heart of policy making.
For years, scientists had sought for a place alongside economists at the centre of policy-making, arguing that science and technology are critically important to development and for improving conditions in low resource countries.
In a knowledge-based economy, the effective use of biotech, nanotech and other emerging technologies is critical. Indeed, science, technology and innovation (STI) have helped Malaysia and many other Southeast Asian and the Asia-Pacific countries to largely eliminate poverty and hunger and driven remarkable economic growth.
Science advisers, the argument went, are necessary in every presidential and executive office, including the office of the UN secretary-general. As can be said also of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Ban embraced this perspective as well, and it was manifested in many ways.
The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the UN secretary-general is a good example. It is a trailblazing initiative convening 26 experts in the natural, social and human sciences, their advice applied at a multilateral level to advance sustainable development.
Announced in September 2013, Ban explained the need for SAB as follows: “We must strengthen the interface between science and policy so that the latest scientific findings are reflected in our high-level policy discussions.” One of his enduring legacies must be the recent establishment of the UN Technology Bank (TB) for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). This has been a long-standing priority of LDCs.
Structural handicaps to growth and sustainable development are a defining feature of LDCs. The technology gap faced by LDCs is a key determinant of their structural deficiencies. The state of STI in LDCs remains poor and there is no mechanism to address these deficiencies.
TB is envisaged as a facilitating mechanism to help LDCs build robust a STI base by improving LDCs’ technology access, acquisition and utilisation.
In doing so, it will promote national actions by LDCs, mobilise international support and build on existing mechanisms. I have had the honour to serve the SG as a member of the SAB and on the TB Governing Council. Ma-laysia’s experience in placing STI as a key element in its national economic development can be shared with other countries.
Whatever historians say about Ban’s tenure, it is my hope that they will recognise his having elevated science to a central position in the conduct of UN affairs, and that a lasting legacy will be his successors following this example, inspiring additional more leaders to do likewise. Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid is science adviser to the prime minister
Kuala Lumpur: His talk on how genetics change the way cancer is diagnosed and treated in the age of precision medicine has brought honour to Dr Abhimanyu Veerakumarasivam when he won the ‘Best Science Communicator award at Famelab International 2016.
Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (Might) in a statement said the scientist from Universiti Putra Malaysia sailed past over 2,000 scientists from 27 countries in the world’s biggest science communication competitions organised by The Times Cheltenham Science Festival in the United Kingdom on June 9.
Sharing his success, Dr Abhimanyu said there was a need to communicate effectively, especially to the non-scientific audience, on the matter.
“Science communication is essential to ensure that the advancements in science translate into actual improvement of lives,” he said in the statement.
This year marked the second time Malaysia participated in the competition that is designed to engage and entertain by breaking down science technology and engineering concepts within three minutes of presentation.
Famelab Malaysia was jointly organised by MIGHT and British Council Malaysia.
MIGHT president and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman said Dr Abhimanyu’s win was a huge achievement for the country.
“Dr Abhi’s victory is indeed special and timely as the nation urgently needs to rally everyone to embrace and leverage on science and societal wellbeing through simple, fun yet effective communication,” he said.
British Council Malaysia director, Sarah Deverall said making science accessible and attractive to a non-scientific audience through good communication was an ever-growing priority for researchers worldwide.
“While the result is truly rewarding for him (Dr Abhimanyu) personally, it is also an excellent achievement for Malaysia,” she said.
Source: Astro Awani
LONDON, May 17 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that Malaysia has achieved a reduction of 35 per cent in its national carbon emissions as at end-2015 from a target of 40 per cent reduction by 2020.
“We take these targets seriously and this shows the work that goes into meeting them,” he said in his address on Global Competitiveness: Malaysia’s Aspirations during the GSIAC-Khazanah Distinguished Lecture Series here today.
The Prime Minister, who is on a working visit to the UK from May 15 to 18, said sustainability not only makes environmental sense but also economic sense as it is a driver of new technology and innovation, and is a sector that is becoming increasingly important worldwide.
Najib said the Green Technology Financing Scheme has successfully supported 188 projects, which not only have saved the equivalent of 2.31 million tonnes of carbon emissions but also helped in creating nearly 4,000 jobs.
“So this is why we have introduced tax incentives to encourage industries to adopt green technology, set targets for an installed capacity of renewable energy and make green growth an integral part of the 11th Malaysia Plan, which will guide us over the next four years,” he said.
Najib said the government also encourages the financing of socially-beneficial and sustainable ventures such as the Sustainable an Responsible Investment Sukuk framework introduced by the Securities Commission and the Environmental, Social and Governance Index launched by Bursa Malaysia.
The government also continues to develop new financial assets such as carbon credit-based solutions based on the principles of Islamic finance, he noted.
“We want to encourage this further and we will consider providing incentives to companies that offset their carbon footprint with Malaysian rainforest credit,” he added. — Bernama
Kuala Lumpur, 30 November 2015 – The Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Professor Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid today launched the report on the “State of Science at Universities of the Muslim World” to an audience of key stakeholders of Malaysia educational sector earlier today.
KUALA LUMPUR, 23 November — Prasarana Malaysia Berhad (Prasarana), which recently formalised collaboration with MRT Jakarta, will be sharing its expertise with its rail counterparts in Thailand as well by providing technical support for Bangkok MRT Purple Line.
A team of six drivers and five controllers from Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd – a subsidiary of Prasarana and operator of Rapid KL rail services, will be attached to the Thai MRT operator for four months under a collaboration exercise between the two establishments.
“The request came from Marubeni-Toshiba JV (MTJV), which is the company responsible in delivering the systems for Bangkok Purple Line. Their request was for manpower support for its Site Integration Test. Four of our train drivers left for Bangkok yesterday for the purpose.
“We are proud and honoured to offer services to our fellow international partners especially from the Asean member countries. In Asean, we are part of a big family, said Rapid Rail Chief Executive Officer, Encik Ahmad Nizam Mohd Amin.
Ahmad Nizam added that the request by operators in other countries reflects the confidence and recognition of the capability of Rapid Rail engineers and technical staff.
“Rapid Rail recently successfully spearheaded the operations of the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Makkah Metro Southern Line for this year’s haj operations. It was our first international assignment and we are grateful that we managed to successfully carry out the assignment and help pilgrims around the world to perform their haj.
“With that first year experience, we aim to further improve our services in the Holy Land next year. There are still plenty of rooms for improvement; we have identified these areas and will be starting our preparations very early for the 2016 haj season,” added Ahmad Nizam.
On the collaboration with MRT Jakarta, Ahmad Nizam said Rapid Rail and Prasarana will share its experience in the planning and operations of urban rail lines with MRT Jakarta and both parties will explore the possibility of exchanges in technical and operational information, expertise, and know-how to further enhance and develop their mutual capabilities.
The Purple Line is a rapid transit line of the Bangkok MRT under construction for the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region and Nonthaburi Province, Thailand. When opens, it will be second line to be operated by MRT and the city’s fifth rapid transit line for the city. The Purple Line is scheduled for commencement of operations at the end of 2016.
KUALA LUMPUR, 20 Nov (Bernama) — Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak berkata beliau kagum dengan penglibatan begitu ramai jurutera muda Malaysia terdiri daripada pelbagai kaum dan latar belakang dalam projek Transit Aliran Massa (MRT).
Beliau berkata pengetahuan dan pengalaman yang ditimba dalam bidang itu sangat berharga dan amat diperlukan di masa hadapan bukan sahaja untuk negara malah pembangunan kerjaya mereka sendiri.
“Setiap kali saya melawat tapak pembinaan MRT, saya sentiasa kagum melihat begitu ramai jurutera muda Malaysia yang terdiri daripada pelbagai kaum dan latar belakang terlibat dalam projek berprofil tinggi ini.
“Saya bangga melihat anak-anak muda Malaysia dalam projek MRT ini kerana bukan sahaja mereka dapat belajar daripada para jurutera yang lebih berpengalaman bahkan diberi peluang untuk menjadi pengurus-pengurus projek walaupun umur mereka masih dalam lingkungan 20 ke 30-an,” katanya dalam entri terbaharu di blog NajibRazak.com pada Jumaat.
Najib yang juga Menteri Kewangan berkata projek itu bukan sahaja penambahan kepada infrastruktur pengangkutan awam di negara ini, bahkan telah membawa masuk teknologi kejuruteraan canggih ke Malaysia.
“Begitu juga dengan projek-projek lain yang memerlukan teknologi kejuruteraan canggih seperti projek Pengerang, Jambatan Pulau Pinang Kedua, projek Menara KL118, Keretapi Berkelajuan Tinggi,” katanya.
Katanya projek-projek berteknologi tinggi itu mampu melahirkan bakat-bakat yang mampu memacu pembangunan negara masa kini dan masa hadapan.
Pada 11 Nov lepas, semasa melawat depot tren MRT di Sungai Buloh dekat sini, Najib dilaporkan berkata yakin jajaran pertama projek itu dapat beroperasi menjelang akhir tahun depan seperti yang dijadualkan.
Menurut Najib, MRT kini memiliki 19 buah tren dan akan menerima 35 buah tren lagi menjelang pertengahan tahun depan.