SINGAPORE: Singapore's progress in areas of sustainable development is testament to the "strong collaborative partnerships" between the Government, industries and its people, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said on Thursday (Jul 19).
Mr Masagos presented Singapore's voluntary national review at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York on Thursday.
"Singapore pursued sustainable development even before the term became fashionable," he said.
"Since independence, we have tried balancing environmental considerations with economic development, believing that the two are complementary, not contradictory."
In a Facebook post about his speech, the minister said he spoke on the progress Singapore had made in its "unwavering pursuit" of sustainable development.
Said Mr Masagos: "Our path of sustainable development was not without challenges, and these achievements are testament to the strong collaborative partnerships built between our Government, industries and people, as well as Singapore’s firm belief in building a clean and green city that we can call home.
"But we will continue to work hard to improve the well-being of our people."
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.
Presenting Singapore's review, Mr Masagos highlighted the importance of "collaborative multi-stakeholder partnerships", saying that in the first half of 2018 - Singapore's Year of Climate Action - close to a quarter of a million Singaporeans, corporations and civil society organisations have pledged to save energy and water, practise recycling and fight climate change.
"Partnerships are key to sustainability," said the minister. "For a decade, Singapore has been hosting the World Cities Summit, Singapore International Water Week and Clean-Enviro Summit Singapore to share and co-create solutions for urban sustainability."
As Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Singapore also convened the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action last week, said Mr Masagos. Together with key partners, it reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris Agreement and regional action to tackle climate change.
The minister also gave an overview of Singapore's progress in implementing the sustainable development goals.
Firstly he spoke about the issue of water resilience.
Pointing out that the World Resources Institute ranks Singapore as the country most at risk of water stress by 2040, Mr Masagos highlighted features such as Singapore's national water recycling system that transforms wastewater into reclaimed NEWater, as well as the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System that collects and transports wastewater.
This will be extended by 100km by 2025 to transport and turn more wastewater into NEWater for industrial use and domestic consumption, said Mr Masagos.
He also spoke about Singapore's implementation of the Carbon Tax, which he said would "incentivise emissions reduction and encourage companies to transit to a low-carbon future".
Pointing out that 95 per cent of Singapore's electricity is generated from natural gas, Mr Masagos said that the country was also "aggressively developing solar energy", installing solar panels on the roofs of public housing blocks and launching the world's largest floating solar photovoltaic test-bed.
Mr Masagos also spoke about other initiatives including the Tuas Nexus wastewater treatment and solid waste management site and sustainable urban environment planning including Punggol New Town.