The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) was a very meaningful showcase. It was set by the United Nations (UN) that promotes ways to achieve sustainable developments in all parts of the world to have a greener environment to live in and a healthier Mother Earth. The UN came up with the idea due to pollution around the world caused by human activities getting out of hand. We were honoured to be given the chance to showcase our ideas for the sustainable development goals (SDG). The opportunity came while undertaking the course University Life during the 2018-05 Semester. By forming groups, each group were given a specific topic to research on and find creative ways to showcase it. Our group was given the SDG 7 topic which is the affordable and clean energy. The targets of our given topics are:
- By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
- By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
- By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
- By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology
- By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support
Malaysia is definitely not new to the sustainable development goals (SDG) movement. In fact, Malaysia has started this movement since the 1970’s. Many economic models have been persued since then and these models mirrors the main elements of the sustainable development goals (SDG). All the subsequent 5-year Malaysia development plans have always supported the elements of sustainable development goals (SDG) working to achieve sustainable economic growth, growth with equitable distribution to the society without discrimination, access to basic infrastructure and utilities, access to education and healthcare services and mainstreamed environmental conservation. The current ongoing 5-year Malaysia plan is the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) premising on the three pillars of New Economic Model (NEM). The theme of 11th Malaysia plan is “Anchoring Growth on People” where people will be the main concentration of all development efforts and that no section of society is left behind in participating and benefiting from the nation’s development. (Voluntary National Review, 2017)
Therefore, this is definitely not a new journey for Malaysia. Below are some of the achievements made throughout the year in conjunction with the sustainable development goal:
a. SDG 1&2: Absolute poverty reduced from 49.3% (1970) to 0.6% (2014) with no reported cases of hunger;
b. SDG 3: Child and maternal mortality rates are almost at the level of developed countries; eradicated endemic small pox and polio and reversed the spread of HIV/AIDS. Drastic reductions in water-borne diseases, deaths from treatable childhood diseases and malaria;
c. SDG 4&5: More than 90% enrolment rates for primary and secondary school levels for both boys and girls and 33% for higher education with gender ratio slightly in favour of girls;
d. SDG 6: Over 95% coverage for water and sanitation, and electricity supply at national level;
e. SDG 7,12 & 16: Laws, regulations, policies and plans in place to better protect and ensure sustainable use of natural assets;
f. SDG 8: Full employment since 1992;
g. SDG 10: Income inequalities reduced, as indicated by lower Gini Coefficient from 0.513 (1970) to 0.401 (2014); and
h. SDG 13, 14, 15, &17: As of 2015, maintained more than 50% forest cover, 10.76% as terrestrial protected areas and 1.06% as marine protected areas. Carbon intensity reduced by 33% since 2009, increasing renewable energy capacity. Malaysia also participates in international trans-boundary conservation efforts like the Coral Triangle and the Heart of Borneo initiatives.
During our showcase of the Sustainable development goals (SDG), our group had to find numerous ways to make this topic easier for the others to understand. We started off by preparing documents and paperwork for our given topic which was the easier part of it, we then had to start preparing tools and needs for our booth to showcase the ideas we came up with. We had to do a lot of research for the activities to be a success. We prepared a dynamo bicycle activity and a lemon electric generation activity. These activities are to show the people a little about how to have a clean and safer environment. The preparation of the booth could only be done a day before the 2-days showcase. We stayed till the late night preparing our booth for the SDG showcase. Time was really limited as we had so much to do in just that few hours. With the cooperation from all our team members, we managed to get everything set up within the given time.
On the first day of the SDG showcase, we went early to do last minute preparation so that our booth could be ready for the showcase. As we were having classes on both days of the showcase, we took turns to be at the booth in between the time of our classes which was a great idea than having to miss important classes. Students and lecturers were visiting booths to have a better understanding of the ways that each of the group came up with. We were told that there would be hidden judges judging the way we showcased our booth. We took turns to explain the targets of our given topic to everyone who passed by. After 2 exhausting days of duties at the showcase, it all came down to the announcement of the results on the end of the 2-days showcase. It was a surprise to us when we won the Most Creative Award out of the 3 awards given, we were so proud of the result and all the hard work of each respective member was paid off. The SDG showcase was a really great experience for all of us and I hope that UCSI University will continue to organize these kinds of activities. Through this showcase, we got to learn a lot about the sustainable development goals (SDG) and I personally feel that this is a good way to expose students to it.
UCSI University always strives to enable its students to gain valuable experiences during their study duration. Not only enforcing classroom learnings, the university also gives their students a chance to carry out activities outside. This SDG showcase program is only one of the many activities that UCSI University has organized on daily basis.
Malaysia can and should be ambitious with the goals and targets for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals are for the future of our country and nation. We have demonstrated that we can set and achieve “higher targets” through sustained movements and systematic effort. Malaysia has in place the implementing mechanism for the sustainable development goals (SDGs) with sustainable development initiative aligned with the 11MP, the implementation will be a relatively smooth process. (Voluntary National Review, 2017) Therefore, we as citizens of Malaysia should also play our part in participating in any sustainable development goals (SDG) events to be able to achieve the targets set in the future.