Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah AO, Sunway Group founder and chairman, and Jeffrey Cheah Foundation founding trustee, addressed the Leadership Council of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network meeting in New York, USA, to share his viewpoints on the importance of sustainable development, Sunway Group's initiatives, and to underscore that all sectors of society, the private sector, academia, civil society and every single individual have an obligation to come together towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.
The Leadership Council comprises eminent experts on sustainable development from academia, business, civil society, and the public sector from across the globe and oversees the work of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, including advancing the 17 sustainable development goals on a global scale.
"It is particularly relevant in this time of budget restraints and economic uncertainty that we recognise that realising the SDGs is not the sole responsibility of Governments alone. It requires the commitment of all sectors of society - the private sector, academia, civil society, and, of course, every single individual.”
“My views on sustainability were shaped by my formative years growing up in a small town called Pusing in the northern state of Perak in peninsular Malaysia. I witnessed first-hand the impact of poverty on families and how it closed off avenues for advancement, particularly in education, for the children. And Pusing, back then, was largely a tin-mining town. You could not fail to notice the ugly scars on the landscape left by disused mining pools," he said.
Cheah was appointed as Council Member of United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) in 2013. Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, the largest education-focused social enterprise in Malaysia, also gifted 10 million US dollars to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which was used to establish the Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development at Sunway University.
The Centre was officially launched on December 9, 2016, by the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
"Poverty and environmental degradation were, thus, not abstract concepts for me, but part of my personal experience. They helped form my convictions that education provided the optimum route out of poverty, and that we needed to help heal a bleeding Mother Earth," he said.
"More than 25,000 trees have been transplanted in Sunway City, and a complete eco-system restored. Today, you can find more than 150 species of flora and fauna within Sunway City. We also have our own public transport system, with buses that run on electricity on specially designed elevated bus lanes. Almost 50 percent of the City is open space and 24% of the city is green space. Both of these figures are well above the regulated minimum.”
“And we are not done yet. We plan to integrate technology even more deeply to establish Sunway City as a model "smart, sustainable city" of the 21st century," he said.