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  • Writer's pictureJia Yaw Kiu

Are SDGs becoming mainstream?

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

I saw this news article on Malaysiakini this morning. TNB, our electricity utility company justifies its hydroelectric dam project in Ulu Nenggiri using the Sustainable Development Goals.

I'd just like to make an observation on the possibilities for future engagement between the third sector (CSOs, citizens, etc.) and the private sector (purveyors of economic development projects).

This is perhaps one of the first times the SDGs are used as a point of reference to discuss the merits of a project in Malaysia.

It is a big deal because this opens up new opportunities for different groups in society to engage with each other, laying out their different interests and concerns, using the universal framework of the SDGs.

As we make progress towards achieving the SDGs, there should be lesser and lesser friction for civic engagements and higher and higher resolution in the discourse of what 'sustainable development' means for all of us.

Are the SDGs the panacea for all our misery? Of course not. But it sets out what is decent. And that's a beam of light in any country where the public sector has been co-opted by self-serving politicians. A beam to guide leaders and change makers putting in the work from wherever they are.

How mainstream would you say the SDGs are in Malaysia today?

  • 0%100% (Civic discourse using SDGs are commonplace everywhere)

  • 0%80% (Frontline civil servants carry out work using SDGs)

  • 0%60% (MPs debate issues using SDGs)

  • 0%40% (School children learning about SDGs)

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