“This is just the beginning”, that’s how Prof. Dr. Nik Meriam ended her closing remark in the seminar entitled “Climate Change and Sustainable Governance: Cooling KL City” which is held last Thursday (12 April 2018) at the Institute of Research Management & Services (IPPP), University of Malaya. The Grand Challenge project on Urban Heat Island (UHI) led by Dr. Nasrin Aghamohammadi from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, while actively carrying out various research activities, doesn’t overlook the importance of community engagement activities to bring the findings of the project to the lay community of various backgrounds. It is always a challenging task to effectively disseminate the findings of research work and to obtain feedbacks from stakeholders. Realizing this, the Grand Challenge Research Group in collaboration with Sustainability Science Research Cluster and Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, organized a half-day seminar for the stakeholders representing various governmental, non-governmental organizations, local city councils, researchers, academicians and the general public as a platform for sharing the project’s research findings to raise awareness on climate change, UHI and associated issues.
The main objective of the seminar was to raise awareness on climate change, UHI and associated issues at the management level of various governmental, non-governmental institutions and NGOs to promote environmental governance related to climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies through bottom-up participation by local stakeholders. A very distinguished speakers engaged in this domain were invited to render their speech during the seminar.
The seminar was officiated by Associate Prof. Dr. Sumiani Yusoff, the dean of Sustainability Science (SuSci) research cluster whom is also the Director of Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences (IOES). She mainly addresses the need for having such academic seminars as a mean to reach the community to create awareness about local environmental issues. Prof. Dr. Nik Meriam, who is the coordinator of UM’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network and also former dean of SuSci, delivered her first talk on “Is UHI relevant to Sustainable Development Goals?”. The seminar went on with talks from Dr. Nasrin Aghamohammadi on “Climate Change and Heat Islands – Challenges and Solutions”, Prof. Dr. Wong Li Ping on “Climate Change and Human Health – Risks and Responses”, Associate Prof. Dr. Rafidah Md Noor on “Modelling and Governing Traffic Congestion: Air Quality, Emission and Traffic Use” and Associate Prof. Dr. Sr Wan Nor Azriyati Wan Abd Aziz on “Implication of UHI Towards House Price”. The invited speakers primarily shared their important research findings, insights for the future direction of their research work as well as how their findings can be implemented at various management level to create climate-friendly governance. A short open session is held after the talk for participants to express their point of view in UHI related matters. The seminar ended with a closing remark by Prof. Dr. Nik Meriam.
“This is not the closing or ending of the project at this stage, this project is still progressing, it has merely started and there is much more to be achieved in the long run involving strong partnerships among various stake holders. This is just the beginning” – Prof. Dr. Nik Meriam.
Written by Fong Chng Saun for Center of Occupational and Environmental Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya.