A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Before the initiative was introduced, poor qualities of EIA reports were quite common in Malaysia and causing delay in report approval. The delays in report approvals have also affected projects implementation and delivery. Any delay in project approval, implementation and delivery may affect the economic growth in Malaysia as interests of investors either from local or from the foreign countries. Time and resources have also been wasted unnecessarily due to poor focus in the EIA studies. The poor focus in EIA studies were contributed by several factors such as the lack of control on the competency of consultants involved and the lack of mechanisms to monitor the performance of the EIA consultants involved. EIA reports produced sometimes were not helpful to assist decision makers making an informed decision. With increasing public concern over negative impact on the environment from industries and other prescribed development activities, Department of Environment have introduced a third party audit to improve environmental inspection and compliance due to the increased number of pollution sources. Thus, self monitoring through environmental audit has to be used to increase compliance as well as enforcement and at the same time increase environmental awareness among stakeholders. Qualities of environmental audit report were quite poor before the initiative was introduced. This is due to lack of control on the competency of environmental auditor and the lack of mechanism to monitor the performance of the environmental auditor.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The solution was proposed by DOE management and the team developing the EIA Consultant Registration Scheme and the Environmental Auditor Registration Scheme. The initiative began with meetings and brain storming sessions with the affected parties such as the EIA consultants, environmental auditors, project developers, NGOs and government agencies. The initiative managed to tackle the issues on the poor quality of EIA reports and environmental audit reports by: (i) Ensuring that all consultants and environmental auditors involved fulfill the minimum requirements set by the EIA Consultant Registration Scheme and Environmental Auditor Registration Scheme. (ii) Ensuring that all consultants and auditors are given the basic training and related information through the compulsory EIA Induction course and Environmental Auditor Induction course. All consultants and auditors are required to sit for the course and pass the assessment. (iii) Ensuring that the consultants are registered and allowed to work on subjects/ issues that they are competent. For environmental audit, only auditors registered with DOE are allowed to conduct environmental audit and submit the audit report to DOE. (iv) Introducing mechanisms to monitor the performance of the consultants and auditors by introducing the EIA Consultants Continuous Performance Evaluation and Environmental Auditors Continuous Performance Evaluation, where a special evaluation form has been created and the information on the consultants’ and auditors’ performance will be recorded and channeled to the EIA Consultants Registration Scheme Secretariat for further verification and further action to be taken. The evaluation forms from DOE states will be compiled and evaluated by the EIA Consultants and Environmental Auditors Registration Scheme Secretariat so that a thorough and fair evaluation can be performed on the overall performance of the consultants/auditors. This approach is very effective because the evaluators are DOE officers who have direct access and reviewed the EIA reports/Environmental Audit reports. (v) Introducing the Code of Conduct and Deregistration, to ensure that all parties involved are performing well, and those who failed to perform can be taken out from the list. (vi) Introducing the requirement for Continuous Professional Development for consultants/auditors to ensure that their knowledge is current. The EIA system managers also keep updating the consulting community on the availability of courses, talk and seminars. (vii) A database has been created to assist stakeholders particularly developers to assist them to find the right consultants/auditors. Among the consulting community, the database also assists them in building the consulting team needed for the EIA studies. (viii) A group e-mail has also been created for all consultants/auditors and the EIA system managers to ensure smooth communication and information sharing. This simple initiative has managed to save time and resources as regular mails are no longer needed, and all parties involved are free to share or raise any issues, concerns or proposals.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The initiative has an element to monitor the performance of the EIA consultants and environmental auditors through the EIA Consultants Continuous Performance Evaluation and the Environmental Auditors Continuous Performance Evaluation. The evaluation for EIA consultants is done by the DOE officers’ who directly involved in the review process of an EIA report whereas the auditors are evaluate by DOE officers who is involved in the enforcement of the EQA 1974. This mechanism is to monitor the performance of the consultants and auditors by introducing the EIA Consultants Continuous Performance Evaluation and Environmental Auditors Continuous Performance Evaluation. The initiatives also continue to sustain the performance of the registered EIA Consultant /Environmental Auditor lists without affecting the overall processing of EIA and Environmental Audit report.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Key developments and main activities for the development of EIA Consultant Registration Scheme are as following: i) Development of criteria for registration. ii) Development of training module for environmental consultants. iii) Develop Guidance Document for EIA Consultants Registration Scheme. iv) Develop Guidance Document on Continuous Professional Development. v) Development of guidance for continuous performance evaluation. vi) Stakeholder consultation. vii) Annual Forum for EIA Consultants. viii) Conducting training and seminar related to EIA Consultants Registration Scheme. ix) Implementation of EIA Consultant Registration Scheme. For Environmental Auditor Registration Scheme: i. Drafting the Environmental Quality Regulations for Environmental Auditors. ii. Drafting the Environmental Audit Guidance Manual. iii. Development of criteria for registration. iv. Development of Guidance Document for Environmental Auditor Registration Scheme. v. Development of Guidance Document on Continuous Professional Development. vi. Development of guidance on continuous performance evaluation. vii. Stakeholder consultation. x) Annual Forum for Environmental Auditors. xi) Conducting training and seminar related to Environmental Auditor Registration Scheme. xii) Implementation of Environmental Auditor Registration Scheme.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The stakeholders involved were as follows: i. Assessment Division, DOE Headquarter whom is responsible for EIA and Environmental audit. ii. DOE officers who evaluate the EIA report and Environmental Audit report. iii. Relevant government agencies. iv. Consultant association e.g. ENSEARCH. v. EIA Consultants. vi. Environmental Auditors. vii. Non-Governmental Organizations such as Malaysian Nature Society, WWF, Consumer Association etc viii. Developers
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Initially, Environmental Auditor Registration Scheme, it was developed with the assistance from DANIDA. It was further developed under 9th Malaysian Plan (RMK-9) Development Project for Environmental Auditor Registration Scheme and improvement on EIA Consultant Registration Scheme was also carried out during this period of RMK-9. The project cost was RM1.2 million.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
(i) Commitment from the top management to improve the implementation of EIA and environmental audit in Malaysia (ii) Financial support to run necessary activities (iii) Competent and committed staff to carry out the tasks (iv) Support from NGOs and developers for a better delivery system (v) Facilities to conduct proper training (vi) DOE initiatives to continuously improve public service delivery system.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
During the development of the EIA Consultant Registration Scheme/Environmental Audit Registration Scheme, progress was monitored through monthly reporting to the Committee Development. In addition, online reporting to Economic Planning Unit was also updated monthly.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Some consultants are reluctant to support the EIA Consultant Registration Scheme at first because they see it as another obstacle to be involved in EIA. Majority of them were not competent enough and some did not fulfill the minimum criteria set by DOE. However, DOE managed to get the necessary support from the competent consultants as well as other parties such as NGOs as they wish to see the improvement in the system. As the initiative was handled internally by the Assessment Division of DOE, lack of manpower to review about 1000 applications received in the first three months were encountered. The management showed their support by allowing the personnels involved to focus just on processing the applications for that period. In addition, some parties are not aware of the new requirements. Therefore, the DOE has taken initiative to advertise the requirements in newspapers. Furthermore, massive effort was required to entertain calls, letters and e mails from applicants/ consultants. A group e-mail was later established to simplify communication matters among registered consultant/environmental auditor. All information has been uploaded to DOE Website, and later, a dedicated portal has been established for EIA.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
a) The introduction of EIA Consultants Registration Scheme enabled better management and monitoring of EIA Consultants. Only competent consultants are registered and allowed to work as a full EIA Consultants. Those who have no prior experience in EIA, but have the relevant qualification and experience in specific field are allowed to register as Subject Consultant, and they work on specific issues. Those who do not have any related working experience but have the relevant basic qualification will be registered as Assistant Consultant. They are at trainee level and being supervised by the senior /EIA consultants. Having the three different categories allowed people from various levels to be involved and trained. This will also ensure that Malaysia will continue to have a pool of competent consultants. Having competent consultants will also that there reports produced are of good quality and reliable. b) DOE has managed to shorten the processing time for Detailed EIA from 5 months to 3 months, and for Preliminary EIA from 3 months to 5 weeks. Later, DOE has also introduced self assessment process for some projects (simple activities without much critical issues) from 5 weeks to 3 weeks processing time. The reduction in processing time enabled faster and smooth implementation of projects in Malaysia, hence promoting better economic growth through local and foreign investment. c) The implementation EIA Consultant Registration Scheme also promote the growth in sectors related to EIA, such as enhancing the training sectors, introduction of new guidelines etc. d) Since the implementation of the EIA Consultant Registration Scheme, DOE has conducted regular activities with the consultants and developers, resulting in better communication and understanding.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The initiative is sustained by embedding it in our current system. The EIA Consultants Registration Scheme and Environmental Auditor Registration Scheme are currently managed fully by DOE, under the Assessment Division of Department of Environment. The implementation is monitored through regular reporting to the Director General of Environment. Financially, basically there is no additional administrative cost to manage the scheme, as it is run and maintained by the DOE staff. Related trainings such as the EIA Induction Course and Environmental Auditor Induction Course, is being managed by the Environmental Institute of Malaysia (EiMAS) which is the training arm of DOE. However, the cost of training is fully sustained through collection of training fees, and no external/ government fund is required. The initiative of EIA Consultants Registration Scheme has been disseminated to Nepal through Malaysia-Nepal Twinning Programme which was funded by the AECEN (Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network) and the World Bank. DOE has also been approached by other countries indicating their interests to learn more about what has been done in Malaysia. It has also been used as reference and replicated in other countries.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
To implement any system, we need to look at our specific problems and try to look for suitable solutions. There are various options available, but the option selected must take into consideration our own strengths and the weaknesses. The support and the commitment from the top management are very crucial. As the job in designing and implementing the registration scheme is tedious, it is important for the organization to have a capable team to anchor it. Communication with various parties such as the consultants, developers, industries, NGOs and the public are important in establishing and ensuring the sustainability of the registration scheme.

Contact Information

Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   NORLIN JAAFAR
Title:   MS.  
Telephone/ Fax:   +603-8871 2100 / +603-8889 1036
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   norlin@doe.gov.my  
Postal Code:   64574
City:   Putrajaya
State/Province:   PUTRAJAYA

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