Sustainable Penang Initiative: Creating state-society partnerships for sustainable development, The
This working paper describes the Sustainable Penang Initiative (SPI), the first project in Malaysia - and perhaps the region - to address the challenge of sustainable development by organising popular consultations, creating community indicators, and channelling the inputs into the state’s strategic development planning. Central to this effort was a series of roundtables, organised around such themes as Social Justice, Economic Productivity, Cultural Vibrancy, and Popular Participation. This working paper not only documents the SPI, but also explores its successes and its limitations. It describes how the participatory dialogues caught on and spawned numerous follow-up activities, but also how the initial roundtables came to exclude certain segments of the population. Similarly, it describes how the SPI managed to bring previously neglected issues to the attention of the government, but also how certain issues came to be ignored by the SPI itself.