Kuching, 27 January 2015 — Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), YB Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin today, officiated the Smart Village Initiative and the workshop on energy for off-grid villages in South East Asia at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS).
The Smart Village Initiative was initiated last year by the Cambridge Malaysian Education and Development Trust (CMEDT) and the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC). The initiative aims to look at technical, entrepreneurial and policy solutions to provide sustainable energy for development in off-grid rural communities. This endeavour was created for rural communities to enable them to effort technological developments. A series of workshop is being organised in six regions through-out the world to gather inputs from stakeholders who are involved in rural electrification projects.
The workshop is hosted by Malaysia for Southeast Asia countries and it is organised by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM), an agency under Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS).
The workshop which took place in UNIMAS, brings together leading scientists, thinkers and doers from across the region, providing new insights to policy makers and funding bodies at national, regional and global levels on rural energy access for development. The Smart Village Initiative intends to collaborate with other organisations that care about rural energy access and its related issues, including education, community health and SME enterprises.
Over the next two years the multidisciplinary Smart Villages team will work with key stakeholders in developing countries to ensure that the initiative is firmly rooted in addressing real-world issues, and achieve effective uptake and impact. International and local experts in natural and social science, engineering, including the humanities, will be brought together with local and regional stakeholders (entrepreneurs, villagers, NGO’s, financiers and policy makers) to develop insightful, bottom-up views, in addressing challenges of the village energy provision in becoming a smart village. The team will also meet the local villagers and taking into account their needs and aspirations.
“Sustainable development isn’t an indulgence, but can be a precursor for success. Smart cities and smart communities that link culture with sustainable development are not impossible,” said Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin during his speech. “I am therefore delighted to learn that the Academy of Science Malaysia has already taken an initiative to take a comprehensive look at the construction of smart communities beyond 2050. Indeed, we need to change our lifestyle if we are to develop towards a sustainable path”, he added.
The next Smart Village workshop will be held in India and Bolivia in late 2015 followed by West Africa and Central America in 2016