Assoc. Prof. Dr. Helena Varkkey


Transboundary haze regionalisation, agribusiness, environmental politics



Associate Professor Dr. Helena Varkkey is an Associate Professor at the Department of International and Strategic Studies, University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her research focuses on the governance of transboundary pollution or ‘haze’ in Southeast Asia. More broadly, she seeks to understand how economic development can be reconciled with environmental sustainability in this resource-rich region. The findings from her PhD at the University of Sydney has been published as a book in 2016 as part of the Routledge Malaysian Studies Series, entitled “The Haze Problem in Southeast Asia: Palm Oil and Patronage”. She has consulted for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Academy of Sciences, Malaysia and the ASEAN Secretariat on these topics, and continues to undertake research in this field.


Department of International and Strategic Studies, University of Malaya

“With current worldwide attention now on sustainable palm oil, Malaysia has the opportunity to further differentiate itself from other producer states by focusing on areas of environmental and social sustainability, like reducing chemicals and fertiliser use and improving labour conditions. Transferability of sustainable practices from larger plantations to smallholders should be further encouraged, to ensure sustainability and traceability across the supply chain.”