UN Calls on Malaysia to Champion Sustainable Development Goals

Oct 24, 2017

PACOS Trust, Zero Waste Malaysia and Datuk Dr. Denison take home Malaysia UN Award 2017

Kuala Lumpur, 24 October 2017 – On the 72nd anniversary of the United Nations, PACOS Trust, Zero Waste Malaysia and Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria received the UN Award 2017 in recognition of their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals. The event was officiated by Datuk Seri Rahman Dahlan, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

The award honours the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations that put into practice three underlying principles of Agenda 2030, namely ‘leaving no one behind’, sustainability and participation.

“Malaysia as a nation has made encouraging progress in fulfilling the Sustainable Development. While Government is primarily responsible for achieving the SDGs, they will only be achieved if also private sector and NGOs make key contributions” said Mr. Stefan Priesner, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Malaysia.

He added, “Behind every progress, we need to remember there are people – men and women - who dedicate energy and efforts every day to make Malaysia a better place by 2030 for all. They are the goals keepers, makers and builders who exemplify and embody key principles – sustainability, participation and leaving no one behind. This award is an acknowledgment of their achievement and hopes to rally the nation to follow their lead.

The 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, a transformative and integrated global plan was adopted by 193 countries two years ago. The Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Minister’s Department is leading the initiatives to meet the targets for Malaysia in alignment with the Eleventh Malaysia Plan. The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) is supporting EPU’s efforts to develop a National SDG Roadmap to chart its course.

The National SDG Roadmap is the country’s strategic plan to ensure that the 17 goals, 169 targets and 244 indicators, are achieved to improve the quality of life for all, with no one left behind, and to ensure a country that is sustainable and protected for present and future generations. Together with EPU and the Global Compact Network Malaysia, the UN will unveil in January 2018 a National SDG Portal to enable private sector, civil society, youth, government agencies and others to commit and track their contributions to the SDGs.

Stefan said, “UN agencies, funds and programmes, have specific and complementary mandates, as they deliver together on the 2030 Agenda. The priorities are leaving no one behind, sustainability and a human rights approach to development”.

In a video message in conjunction with the anniversary, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted global challenges to overcome; widening conflicts and inequality, extreme weather and deadly intolerance as well as security threats that include nuclear weapons.

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General said, “We have the tools and wealth to overcome these challenges. All we need is the will. The world’s problems transcend borders. We have to transcend our differences to transform our future. When we achieve human rights and human dignity for all people – they will build a peaceful, sustainable and just world.”

The UN Day, held to commemorate the founding of the UN, was attended by Ambassadors, High Commissioners and representatives of 60 diplomatic missions in Malaysia as well as Senior Malaysian Government Officials and civil society representatives. They joined the United Nations in reaffirming a societal commitment to security, development, and human rights which are the three main pillars of the UN.      

The three winners of the UN Award 2017 were announced as following:

·       PACOS Trust is a community-based organization dedicated towards engaging and empowering indigenous peoples in areas that matter such as protecting their identity, land, culture and tradition. PACOS Trust received the award for promoting the Leaving No One Behind principle and reaching those furthest behind, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.

·       Claire Sancelot is the founder of Zero Waste Malaysia, an organization dedicated to advocating a zero-waste lifestyle in Malaysia. Zero Waste received the UN Award for being a community organisation, which has taken significant measures to reduce their environmental footprint and incorporate sustainable practices in their business operations and practices.

·       Datuk Dr. Denison is the Co-Chair of the Malaysia CSO-SDG Alliance, the former Secretary General of the Society for the Promotion of Human Rights Malaysia or PROHAM and Chair of the Asian Social Economy Council (ASEC) /RIPESS Asia, through which he tirelessly advocates and pushes forward the 2030 Agenda. Datuk Dr. Denison received the UN Award for contributing to the mobilisation of different stakeholders, particularly representatives of vulnerable groups, toward ensuring inclusion and participation in line with the 2030 Agenda.

Recipients of the UN Malaysia Person / Organisation of the Year Award





Tan Sri Razali Ismail

Outstanding and dedicated service to the ideals and aspirations of the United Nations


Dato Jaafar Kamin

Meritorious service to the development of Radio and Television broadcasting in Malaysia


SCAN (Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect)

The organizations role in protecting the lives of children in Malaysia


FFPAM (Federation of Family Planning Association Malaysia)

Pioneering work in family planning and work in parallel with the Government as the leading NGO in sexual and reproductive health


The Malaysian Armed Forces and the Royal Malaysian Police

Their valiant and courageous peacekeeping services to the ideals and inspirations of the United Nations


Malaysian Federation of the Deaf

In recognition of achievements in bridging the digital divide amongst deaf people through e-pek@k for enhanced human development and poverty eradication


Ward 54 hospital Sungai Buloh

For outstanding work in the area of care and treatment of people living with HIV / AIDs in Malaysia


Chris Ng

Outstanding and creative work in empowering young Malaysians to make informed decisions in HIV / AIDs prevention through youth to youth theatre


Y. Bhg Tan Sri Khir Johari

For his lifetime contribution in supporting Malaysia’s progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals


Datuk Dr. Raj Abdul Karim

Outstanding contribution to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in Malaysia


Economic Planning Unit

Outstanding contribution to Malaysia’s development over the past 50 years


Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir

Achievements in gender and women’s empowerment and in HIV / AIDs work both in Malaysia and internationally.



Centre for Orang

Asli Concerns (COAC)

Longstanding commitment to Advocating the Rights and Advancing the cause of the Orang Asli


Khoo Khay Jin


Lifetime contribution to eradicate poverty, improve employment and equity restructuring in Sabah and Sarawak, and Lead Author of the Millennium Development Goals at 2010


Malaysian Bar

Guardian of the Rule of Law, Defender of Human Rights and Public Interest in Malaysia over the past six decades


MDG 1: Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister’s Department

MDG 2:  Ministry Of Education

MDG 3: Joint-Action Group on Gender Equality

MDG 4: Dr Anwar Fazal, World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action

MDG 5: Ministry of Health

MDG 6: Ministry of Health

MDG 7: Mr Gurmit Singh

MDG 8: 1) Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP); 2) Companies Commission of Malaysia

Contribution to attainment of each MDG




Suka Society (Persatuan Kebajikan Suara Kanak-kanak Malaysia)

For protecting and preserving the best interests of some of the most marginalized and vulnerable people in Malaysia e.g. refugees, asylum-seeking minors, undocumented and stateless children etc.  


R.AGE (the youth reporting division of The Star Media Group)

For working tirelessly to give voice to the most vulnerable and for creating positive social change in the spirit of the rights-based Sustainable Development Goals.

·       *No awards were given in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2014.

About United Nations Day:

24 October has been celebrated annually, since 1948, to mark the founding of the UN in 1945 on the principles of justice, peace, equality and human rights as enshrined in its Charter.

In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco, USA, at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up and agree the United Nations Charter. The Organization officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of others present.

The purposes of the United Nations, as set forth in its Charter, are to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems; to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these ends.


For further information, please contact:

Ahmad Hafiz Osman, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Mobile:          +6012 302 1234               

Email:           ahmad.hafiz@undp.org


Rachel Choong, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Mobile:          +6012 416 2872

Email:           rchoong@unicef.org


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