Press Release

Malaysia Adopts the United Nations’ International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021

20 October 2020

  • The United Nations welcomes Malaysia’s adoption of the UN International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development: 2021, which was announced by Minister of Communications and Multimedia, YB Dato Saifuddin Abdullah at the Forum on Malaysia's Adoption of the United Nations’ International Year on Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021, held virtually via Zoom today.

The forum was organised by the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia (KKMM), the United Nations Malaysia, and MyCreative Ventures. It presented a follow-up dialogue from MyCreative Ventures’ two Creative Economy 2021 Forums on The Creative, Arts & Cultural Industries Reimagined and Focus of Arts and Culture, which took place on 6th and 20th October respectively, in conjunction with Budget 2021.

The forum featured a panel discussion on global trends in supporting the creative economy with panelists Marisa Henderson, Chief of Creative Economy Programme (UNCTAD), Moe Chiba, Head of Unit Culture (UNESCO), and Keiko Hagihara Bang, esteemed producer and CEO of Bang Singapore, followed by a ‘Lightning Talks’ session by speakers Niloy Banerjee, UNDP Resident Representative for Malaysia, Eddin Khoo, Director and founder of PUSAKA, Nizam Razak, the CEO of Animonsta Studios, and Jo Kukathas, Director of The Instant Cafe Theatre.

The Creative Economy is the most rapidly growing sector in the world economy and also deserves merit for creating people-centred value and fostering sustainable urban development. It has been given recognition by the United Nations in line with the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Stefan Priesner, United Nation’s Resident Coordinator for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam said, “The creative economy is key, because creativity stimulates innovation. And innovation is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals. Malaysia, as a hot pot of culture and creativity has the potential to further develop the creative economy as a high growth sector – with a clear and concise national strategy that will boost positioning, employment, productivity, and sustainable growth.”

Minister of Communications and Multimedia, YB Dato Saifuddin Abdullah explained: “Malaysia will adopt the United Nations’ International Year on Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021, and find the United Nations’ appeal to be very much in line with Malaysia’s vision of fostering a thriving and sustainable Creative Economy. By taking this step, we are sending the message to the world, that Malaysia welcomes the global effort of acknowledging the significance of the creative economy in promoting sustained and inclusive economic growth, fostering innovation and providing opportunities, benefits and empowerment for all as well as respect for all human rights.”

KKMM will be working closely with the United Nations, its agencies such as UNDP, UNCTAD and UNESCO and all relevant stakeholders to promote the global effort. The Ministry also welcome private organisations to collaborate with us towards achieving the objectives of our adoption of the international year. To this end, MyCreative and other agencies, with the support of the ministry, will be planning and hosting a series of special events throughout the year, details of which will be announced soon.

In his closing remarks, Mr Niloy Banerjee, the Resident Representative for UNDP, emphasized the need to value the creative and cultural industry at its correct economic valuation - both as hard and intangible contributions to economy and society. He underscored the power of art and culture, which can be harnessed for transformative gains such as fostering social cohesion and engendering environmental friendly behaviour. He offered that UNDP and the UN system would continue to support the lead of the Malaysian government in providing a nurturing ecosystem for the creative economy - in the forthcoming UN International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development."

At the 74th session of the UN General Assembly held in November 2019, 2021 was declared as the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development. Indonesia was the main sponsor of the proposal, which was presented by a global grouping of countries, including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines and Thailand. The proposal recognises the need to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, foster innovation and provide opportunities, benefits and empowerment for all and respect for all human rights.

It encourages all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, private sector, non-governmental organizations, academics and individuals, to observe the International Year in an appropriate manner and in accordance with national priorities, in order to raise awareness, promote cooperation and networking, encourage sharing best practices and experiences, enhance human resource capacity, promote an enabling environment at all levels as well as tackle the challenges of creative economy.

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
United Nations Development Programme

Goals we are supporting through this initiative