Towards a Community-based Green Economy in Sabah
Sabah is a natural resource-rich state in Malaysia faced with many environmental, socioeconomic, and political challenges. It is home to a large indigenous population with a self-sustaining economy long depending on the extractive industry, timber, and palm oil, with the base-level dependence on natural resources growing at a steady pace. The hallmarks of a green economy are low carbon, efficient, and clean production, and inclusivity in consumption and outcomes. The green economy has shifted beyond mere awareness and social expression and taken an important place in policy discussions given the growing evidence that the current system of economic development is detrimental to the environment and humanity at large.
Making an inclusive green economy work for local communities in Sabah requires a major shift in approaches to policymaking, together with the commitment of low and middle-income groups. Federal and state governments will need to capture higher economic returns that investments in sustainable use of ecosystems and low-carbon and climate-resilient development can generate and ensure that these contribute to poverty reduction and inclusive growth. Acting as partners to the government, the role of local communities is equally as important in rural planning and the development and management of resources, and developing their livelihood. Through good governance and sustainable economic options, Sabah can continue on the path to a green economy for all and uphold its natural heritage.