The Conference does not just fit into a regional concern for how to move forward on the SDGs. It also fits directly into Penang’s own local concerns and ambitions, partly framed in a wider national context. For example, there is synergy and alignment between the SDGs and the commitments made in such policy guidelines as Malaysia's New Economic Model and the 11th Malaysia Plan. The tagline of the 11th Malaysia Plan is “Anchoring growth of people”, while both the Plan and Malaysia's New Economic Model highlight the desirability of inclusivity, sustainability and shared prosperity. These are core values for the SDGs.
The Penang State Government meanwhile has set out its own vision for the future, committing to creating an intelligent, international city based on a series of principles which include
"'a capable, clean and efficient civil service', with a commitment to the development of human capital, emphasising excellence, creativity and innovation."
"'a people oriented government' which will enrich everyone by an equitable share in the economic cake, empower the people with rights, opportunities and freedom, and enable the people with skills and knowledge."
" 'social cohesion and inclusion which results in a shared society that allows democratic participation, respect for diversity and individual dignity, equal opportunity and prohibition of discrimination'"
‘an overriding commitment to economic growth’, which is sustainable and leads to a balanced development, and
the building of 'reciprocity, reputation and trust through civic education and communication for a strong civil society'.
(YAB Chief Minister of Penang Speech 2010)
These clearly and strongly relate to the ethos and practicalities of the SDGs.
In putting their commitments into practice, the Penang state government have been active in devising and supporting innovative programmes, as well as implementing a ‘competent, accountable and transparent’ governance. Specific projects which have resonance to the SDGs include the on-going Gender Responsive and Participatory Budgeting (GRPB) programme; the target appointment of at least 30% women in decision-making positions in, for example, Village Development and Security Committees (JKKK); and the state-level campaign to Stop Violence against Women as implemented, for example, by the Penang Goes Orange (PGO) event. Like other localised areas in the region, Penang is therefore already engaged in the search for success for SDGs, and ready both to contribute and to learn from the experience and discussions of others. The Conference will provide an excellent showcase and stepping stone for this. Further, one key output will be the Conference Proceedings, which will include a list of recommendations based on best practices for implementing SDGs at the sub-national and local government level. These recommendations will then be synthesised to chart the roadmap for action at the local levels and we will also establish a Taskforce on SDGs to formulate the Penang Blueprint on Localising SDGs in Penang. We hope you will join us on all these initiatives.