`Spatial-environmental governance’ is a new sub-field of study proposed by Jamilah Mohamad in 2009 to reflect the increasing importance of governance in bringing about sustainable development. The term `environmental governance’ is already in popular use. However, taking into account the importance of spatial scales when dealing with environmental problems as often espoused by physical planners in the Netherlands, as well as the increasing availability of spatial analysis tools such as GIS, remote sensing, etc., it is thought that a term such as `spatial-environmental governance’ has to be introduced and the sub-field developed, taking into account progress made in other areas of corporate governance, etc.

Thus, the proposed Head of this Centre decided that the UM Spatial-Environmental Governance for Sustainability Research Centre (UMSERGE) be formed in 2009 and was registered under the Sustainability Science Cluster as a cluster centre with the support of a number of researchers mainly from the Geography Department in University of Malaya. However, researchers from other disciplines such as Anthropology and Sociology, Economics, Engineering and Business disciplines have either formally registered as members or have expressed their interest to be part of the research centre. The multi-disciplinary approach is an important part of this form of governance since we are dealing with complex systems such as environmental systems, ecosystems, urban systems, etc. A Google Search undertaken in 2009 showed that this research centre is the first such-named in the world.

The term `governance’ has been traced back to ancient Greek times with the meaning `to steer’. However, the term increasingly has broadened to take on board non-state actors such as civil society, the private sector and non-government organizations (NGOs) rather than simply government. There are, needless to say, various definitions of the term, but the majority seems to focus on three core concepts listed below (Lautze 2011): (1)Governance is consistently viewed as the processes involved in decision-making; (2)The processes of decision-making take place through institutions (including mechanisms, systems and traditions); and, (3)The processes and institutions of decision-making involve multiple actors.

Sustainable development interweaves the natural science principle of `sustainability’ – which can be described as the `capacity for continuance’ – and the social science concept of `development’ – which should be understood as the `progress of human systems’, and not simply associated as economic growth (Zeiji-Rozema, 2007). Research work to be undertaken under this centre will revolve around four main thrusts (a) Philosophy which sets the parameters of governance and conceptual framework (b) levels of governance- global,regional or local (c) areas of governance – watershed, protected area, urban, etc, (d) mechanisms of governance emerging from case studies undertaken. Many areas of governance can be explored depending on the nature of researchers’ interests and expertise of available members.
Stakeholder Workshop on “Social Wellbeing and Community Development in Pulau Pangkor”
One research project has been developed under the “Spatial Environmental Governance for Sustainability Research, UMSERGE University of Malaya” The main title of the research is Social Wellbeing and Community Development on Pangkor Island. Additionally, the project is being completed in two years starting from January 2014 until December 2015. The Stakeholder workshop was held to give the big idea and the view of the whole issue and the problem on Pangkor Island. The Stakeholder workshop was attended by researchers from the university, relevant government agencies and representative from JKKK Pangkor Island.More Info
Workshop On "Governance Of Land-Use Conflicts In Selangor River Watershed"
University Of Malaya’s UMSERGE through its Governance of Land-Use Conflicts in The Sungai Selangor Watershed project had organized “Bengkel Hala Tuju Projek Penyelidikan Tadbir Urus dan Konflik Guna Tanah Kawasan Tadahan Sungai Selangor” on the 26th October 2013 to 27th October 2013 at Pebble Beach 1, Holiday Inn, Kuala Lumpur GlenmarieMore Info
Integrated Watershed Management Stakeholders Roundtable Discussion
On June 6, 2013, a Roundtable Discussion was convened to discuss the issues, challenges and strategies to enhance a good watershed governance. The 45 participants included four stakeholder’s representatives from government agencies related to the watershed governance issues. They areMajlis Daerah Kuala Selangor (MDKS), Majlis Daerah Hulu Selangor (MDHS), MajlisPerbandaranSelayang (MPS) and LembagaUrus Air Selangor (LUAS).More Info
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Spatial-Environmental Governance for Sustainability Research Centre (UMSERGE)
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University of Malaya
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