IN the largest celebration ever to commemorate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), 8,165 Malaysians held hands all around Sunway City marking the Third UNSDG anniversary, since its launch on Sept 25, 2015.
The number 8,165 represents the nautical miles from Sunway University to the UN’s headquarters in New York.
With Sunway University being the centrestage for the event, all around Sunway City, people formed groups in the city’s key locations, including Monash University Malaysia, Sunway Medical Centre, Sunway Lagoon, Sunway Hotel and Sunway Pyramid, to hold hands in support of the SDG goals.
At the centrestage, the event began with 17 speakers each taking the stage for a one-minute address regarding one Sustainable Development Goal.
Raja Muda of Selangor Tengku Amir Shah Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah spoke for Goal 1 – No Poverty, saying that “Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood.”
“Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion and the lack of participation in decision making.
“Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality. Social protection systems need to be implemented to help alleviate the suffering of disaster-prone countries and provide support in the face of great economic risks. These systems will help to end extreme poverty in the most impoverished areas,” he added.
Malaysian singer songwriter Reshmonu spoke for Goal 2- Zero Hunger; SOS managing director International and British Malaysia Chamber of Commerce deputy chairman David Ng spoke for Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-being; Sunway Education Group and Sunway University senior executive director Elizabeth Lee spoke for Goal 4 – Quality Education; CIMB Foundation CEO Datuk Hamidah Naziadin spoke for Goal 5 – Gender Equality; Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng spoke for Goal 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation; Netherlands Ambassador to Malaysia Karin Mossenlechner spoke for Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy; BDO regional senior partner Datuk Gan Ah Tee spoke for Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth; PwC partner Hilda Low spoke for Goal 9 – Industry Innovation and Infrastructure; and Deloitte Country managing partner Yee Wing Peng spoke for Goal 10 - Reduced Inequalities.
HSBC CEO Stuart Milne spoke for Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities; comedian Harith Iskandar spoke for Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production; National Geographic Explorer filmmaker Rachel Quek Siew Yean spoke for Goal 13 – Climate Action; national bowler Sin Li Jane spoke for Goal 14 - Life Below Water; Sunway Group executive director Sarena Cheah spoke for Goal 15 – Life on Land; JCI president Prof Datuk Woo Wing Thye spoke for Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and Jeffrey Cheah Foundation trustee Tunku Abidin Muhriz spoke for Goal 17 – Partnerships for the Goals.
A countdown then ensued, ending with the Sustainable Development Goals anthem being played in the field with SEA Games athletes and Sunway University’s scholars waving giant colourful 17 SDG flags.
Simultaneously, the celebrities, ambassadors, government leaders, representatives from corporations and people from all walks of life joined in.
They moved in tune to the music, symbolising their pledge to support the UNSDGs, and their commitment toward creating a better world for the current and future generations to come within the key areas for progress.
“It is our hope that this significant public display of support, sheer magnitude of the event and the thousands taking part willl ensure that our message will echo across the nation – that we are all in this together, and we must act now for our future.
“We hope this will encourage other nations and communities to make their own pledges for the UNSDGs. We are joining hands in Sunway City, to reach out to the world,” said Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah.
Lee said that three years ago, leaders around the world gathered at a special UN summit in New York to officially adopt the 17 UNSDGs.
“It is now our turn to carry on their mission; and to be the difference we want to create for the world,” said Lee.
Opera singer Solomon Chong wowed the crowd with his vocal range, which was followed by a dance troupe of 40 young performers that showcased two songs. The Military Band delivered a special performance for the crowd.
Illusionist and seven-time Merlin award winner Mahdi Moudini, also performed.
All 8,165 participants were presented with a certificate of participation and SDG badges, as a memento of the unique event.
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