An integrated approach will deliver SDGs
Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
Opinion - New Straits Times
September 15, 2022
MALAYSIA took a big step when it launched the kick-off of the National Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Roadmap 2022-2025 before the National Day.
Supported by the United Nations Development Programme and hosted by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), the launch saw an impressive number of lead agencies and organisations attending roundtable discussions with the International Islamic University Malaysia taking the lead.
This is in tandem with the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) where SDGs are featured, and will end in 2030 as part of Agenda 2030 on SDGs globally.
Malaysia has a huge stake in this when reconstructing its own future given that the Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV) will be aligned with the implementation of the 12MP and the 13MP.
Unless this is properly conceptualised and executed, the risk can be enormous.
It is at once multidimensional, putting the three Ps of People, Planet and Prosperity — representing the social, ecological and eco-nomic (note the hyphen) dimensions — as the platform for sustainability.
It also takes into consideration Peace and Partnership — another two Ps — as the ultimate goal towards this end.
A world that is more equitable, just and sejahtera for all Malaysians if not humanity.
The word sejahtera is vital in emphasising the need for localisation of not just the concept, but also norms, values and cultural aspects.
This is a fundamental principle of SDGs that is often missed for a one-size-fits-all solution globally.
This is especially so when dominant cultures have been shown to be unsustainable as a way of life.
Thus, dominant countries are living on the resources of one planet, depriving others of their share.
This is demonstrated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not only is it untenable, it could also be another form (virtual) of colonisation.
Needless to say, pembangunan lestari means sustainable development in another language that lacks the deeper understanding of the centuries-old way of living embraced by sejahtera.
That said, the kick-off that took place a couple of days before the National Day reminded us of the need to be decolonised, while at the same time, be interdependent, as mentioned by this column last week (NST, Sept 6).
It is crucial to understand that SPV, or even SDGs, is not a standalone programme.
Rather, it delivers all the five P targets that are linked to one another in a balanced manner.
In framing this as a Keluarga Malaysia concept with Teguh Bersama as the theme, it brings forth the whole-of-nation approach in line with the National Sustainable Development Goals Roadmap strategy.
Meaning, every family must be a sustainable or sejahtera entity before Malaysia can be sustainable and sejahtera.
It calls for a bottom-up strategy that empowers each member of the family to articulate, translate and implement sejahtera accordingly.
Only then will it be possible to envisage a community and a nation that are sustainable.
Moreover, the word makmur (in WKB) is linked to sejahtera and is not confined to only material prosperity, but also to nurturing the "whole (sejahtera) person".
In the same way, it could be argued that the Economic Planning Unit should have morphed into SPU — Sustainability or better still Sejahtera Planning Unit — to convey the message that it took an integrated approach to deliver sustainable development goals and Warisan Kemakmuran Bersama.
This assurance will go a long way in convincing Malaysians as to how the future is collectively achieved.
The writer, an NST columnist for more than 20 years, is International Islamic University Malaysia rector