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Malaysia appeals to the United Nations for climate adaptation funds in the face of deadly floods
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Malaysia appeals to the United Nations for climate adaptation funds in the face of deadly floods

Malaysia is seeking $3 million from the U.N. Green Climate Fund (GCF) to develop a national plan to adapt to climate change, the environment ministry said last week, amid deadly floods that have displaced nearly 70,000 people this month.

Although the requested funds are small in comparison to the amount that the country has promised to spend on flood mitigation efforts experts believe it will likely cost more. The torrential rains that have caused severe flooding in eight Malaysian states since Dec. 18 have killed at least 48 people. This has prompted calls for the government’s preparedness for extreme weather events.

Responding to questions from the Environment and Water Ministry Dec. 20, regarding Malaysia’s approach towards climate adaptation, Secretary General Zaini Ujang said that the ministry would request GCF funds to assist in the development of a National Adaptation Plan. This will be completed by the end next year. In a written reply, Zaini stated that the plan will be focused on areas such water, agriculture, food security, and public health.

He stated that the ministry also has long-term goals to request climate funds that could help in implementing programs addressing climate change. Zaini did no give details about the adaptation plan nor how much it would cost to implement.

GCF funds are the first time that the Malaysian government has requested any money for climate adaptation. These are policies that a country puts into place to combat the effects of climate change. These funds are insignificant compared to the 9.8 billion Ringgit ($2.33 Billion) that Zaini stated Malaysia has already set aside for flood mitigation projects like building water barriers, catchment zones, and deepening river banks.

“Adaptation will require more funds than mitigation because we need overhaul our urban planning and all these expensive infrastructure projects,” said Ili Nadih Dzulfakar (co-founder of Klima Action Malaysia), a climate activist group. She stated that a draft plan for adaptation should examine the effects of flooding and droughts on food security and crop yields, and the need to have energy efficient healthcare services with strong communication networks.

Yeo Bee Yi, Malaysia’s former environment minister, proposed a Climate Change Act in 2018. However, a formal plan was never submitted and progress was stalled amid political turmoil in 2020. Malaysia experiences flooding on its eastern coasts, where they are exposed to the northeast Monsoon between October-March.

But authorities were caught off-guard by unusually heavy rainfall and flooding this month in highly-populated urban areas in its western and central regions, which some experts say were worsened by poor drainage and overdevelopment. ($1 = 4.1990 ringgit)

(This story is not edited by Devdiscourse staff.

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