PETALING JAYA: Sunway’s Jeffrey Cheah Foundation’s gift of US$10mil for sustainable development education is the largest financial commitment towards the cause since the launch of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in 2015.
The Jeffrey Sachs Centre on Sustainable Development at Sunway University is a result of the foundation’s pledge early this year and was launched yesterday by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Najib said the new centre reinforces the government’s commitment to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, which was adopted by 193 members of the UN in Sept 2015.
“The pioneering centre we open today will be a hub for research and policy practice, creating world-class programmes to train a new generation of students, practitioners and policy leaders, develop linkages with universities, industries, government bodies, NGOs and social enterprises around the world in sustainable development.
“I am informed that the contribution of US$10mil from the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation to establish the centre is the largest financial commitment focused on SDG education and implementation, since the adoption of the 17 SDGs,” said Najib in his speech at the centre’s launch here yesterday.
The prime minister affirmed that Malaysia is heading in the right direction in achieving its sustainable development agenda, as shown in the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP).
The 11MP reinforces the Government’s commitment to enrich the lives of our people and to create an inclusive and environmentally-sustainable nation with an advanced economy, he said.
The fourth thrust of the 11MP emphasises green growth development strategy.
It recognises the importance of conserving Malaysia’s natural resources for future generations and the threat posed by the increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events.
It represents Malaysia’s commitment to a healthy environment and long-term sustainability, he said.
Najib said for Malaysia to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it will require a government-wide approach that optimises limited resources and funding with integrated collaborative programmes that serve multiple ends.
Malaysia has successfully applied this approach through the National Blue Ocean Strategy and we will continue to do so in the case of the SDGs, he said.
Also present at the launch was Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah and Professor Jeffrey Sachs, whom the centre is named after.
Prof Sachs, who is now chairman of the centre, is Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Development director as well as the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network director.
Cheah said the new centre is the first such centre in Asia and is a demonstration of his foundation’s commitment in making the world a better place for future generations.
It is the vision of this centre to change the mindset of people towards sustainable development in their daily lives. Professor Sachs is a world-renowned authority on sustainable development and tireless campaigner in the effort to end poverty.