UNITED NATIONS, New York: Singapore on Sunday (Sep 27) announced at a United Nations (UN) summit that it will launch a new programme where it will work with partners on sustainable development.
Speaking at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said the programme supports the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - a global framework which outlines 17 goals to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.
“As a responsible global citizen, Singapore will continue to give back to the international community,” Dr Balakrishnan said.
Under the new Sustainable Development Programme, Singapore will work with partners to provide technical assistance and capacity building to developing countries in the areas of leadership and governance, sustainable cities, and water and sanitation solutions.
While collaboration on the ground in Singapore brought the country far, Dr Balakrishnan said strong global partnerships will lead Singapore into the future.
"Two factors are key for Singapore's development,” he said. “First, pragmatism in our governance and our implementation. Second, partnerships which have helped build capacity and develop our own human resources as well as those of other developing countries that have worked with us."
Dr Balakrishnan said Singapore is willing to invest in new technology and new partnerships for the sake of sustainability, but said the best investment his country can make is in its people.
He also said that some of Singapore's sustainability successes speak for themselves. "We have 200 smart sensors in our drains and these automatically tweet if the water levels or the flood probabilities go up. These are perhaps the world’s first automatically tweeting drains."
At the UN, Dr Balakrishnan touted Singapore's water preservation system as just one success born from the integration of technology into the country’s sustainable development plans. "We use membrane technology extensively to turn even waste water into high grade water,” he said.
In his speech, Dr Balakrishnan also raised the problem of transboundary haze as an example of an “issue of sustainable development which cannot be addressed unilaterally”.
“Countries are individually tackling this problem of transboundary haze. But we need closer regional and international cooperation to apply legal and commercial pressure on errant companies to prevent them from profiting from unsustainable land and forest clearing,” he said.