The Sabah Cabinet launched on April 12, 2017 its “Sabah State Policy on the Environment” written by a team of Chemsain inhouse and external specialists. The policy was originally finalised in 2013 but has awaited the formulation of action plans and a monitoring master plan before being launched. Chemsain is currently finalising the action plans and monitoring masterplan under a contract with the Environment Protection Department, Sabah.

The Sabah State Policy on the Environment describes a number of principles concerning environmental governance, green economy and and other overarching topics before describing detailed policies and strategies for the five environmental core values: Land, air, water, biodiversity and the human aspect.

The policy was created through a highly consultatory process where Chemsain’s team held almost one hundred consultations with government agencies, civil society organisations and representatives from the education and private sectors. It was from the Government’s side clearly expressed that the policy should be of a standard comparably with international policies. Chemsain therefore worked with the Australian consulting company Alluvial Ltd. And included in the team’s work studies of similar policies in Europe, Australia, the Pacific and in ASEAN.

For each of the five core values, a number of sub-headings were defined and strategy options listed. The policy stresses the role of the citizens and the partnerships between the Government and the civil society. This attitude has been continued in the action plans currently being finalised. These focus on the need for behavioural change and a non-punitive approach. This approach calls for rewards or incentives to be given to those that act responsibly rather than dealing out punishment to those that do not.

The final policy, which is accompanied by a technical report detailing all background considerations, has been published in a bilingual document with the English and Malay versions printed side-by-side.