Singapore takes pragmatic approach to sustainable development: Masagos

Singapore takes pragmatic approach to sustainable development: Masagos

Masagos speaks at UN forum on sustainable development
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli delivering Singapore’s national statement at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York City on Jul 18, 2018. (Photo: MEWR)

SINGAPORE: Singapore takes a pragmatic approach to policymaking, focussing on outcomes and not ideology, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said on Wednesday (Jul 18).

Speaking in New York at the United Nations' High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), Mr Masagos said Singapore has "always put its people at the centre" of development policies.

"Singapore has always put its people at the centre of all its development policies," he said. "Our economic transformation is a story about uplifting our people’s lives, by providing good education, health, housing, employment and a clean environment."

"We take a pragmatic approach to policymaking and governance, focusing on outcomes, not ideology, to foster a harmonious, inclusive and prosperous society."

The HLPF is a global forum for providing political leadership, guidance and recommendations on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - a commitment to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030 worldwide - and its 17 sustainable development goals.

At the forum, 47 countries including Singapore presented their voluntary national reviews over three days of ministerial meetings from Jul 16 to 18.

Delivering Singapore's national statement, Mr Masagos highlighted three elements that he said were key to Singapore's development approach.

These include the balancing of economic development with environmental protection and social inclusion, said the minister, citing the example of the carbon tax.

"This year, we decided to implement an economy-wide carbon tax without exemption from 2019," he said. "This will accelerate innovation and energy efficiency, shifting our economy and society towards a sustainable, low-carbon future."

READ: 5 things you need to know about how the carbon tax works

Secondly, Singapore pursues a "long-term, integrated approach to policy planning and implementation", he said.

He gave the example of Singapore's water needs, and said that the country has "worked hard and made heavy investments" to ensure water resilience and sustainability.

In addition, Singapore's policy formulation and implementation are underpinned by "collaborative multi-stakeholder partnerships", said Mr Masagos, adding that governments alone cannot tackle climate change and sustainability.

Touching on the 2018 Year of Climate Action in Singapore, Mr Masagos said that in six months, close to a quarter of a million Singaporeans, corporations and civil society organisations have pledged to take climate action and reduce their carbon footprint.

The minister also stressed Singapore's commitment to partner with and help other countries.

"The goals of the 2030 Agenda represent the collective aspirations of our global community," he said. "Their unprecedented ambition and scale require our unwavering commitment."

"Singapore will continue to work with our friends and partners to help uplift the lives of people around the world in this noble enterprise."

Source: CNA/nc(hm)