SINGAPORE: The European Union (EU) and Singapore on Thursday (Jul 8) reaffirmed their joint commitment and "strong" partnership in global climate action ahead of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).
"Singapore and the EU are committed to achieving our mutual goals in climate action leading up to COP26 and beyond," said a joint media release by the EU, Singapore's Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, and the National Climate Change Secretariat in the Prime Minister's Office.
In the run-up to COP26, European Commission executive vice-president Frans Timmermans was visiting Singapore to discuss issues related to climate change and biodiversity.
He was hosted by Sustainability and Environment Minister Grace Fu, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the chairman of the inter-ministerial committee on climate change.
Their meetings focused on opportunities for collaboration in areas such as circular economy; research, development and deployment for low-carbon solutions (hydrogen, for example); green finance; and urban greening.
"Singapore and the EU jointly underscored the importance of taking urgent action to combat climate change, and in preserving biodiversity for future generations, even as we respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic," said the media release.
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It also mentioned the EU-Singapore free trade agreement, calling it a "high-standard and comprehensive" agreement for advancing the two parties' sustainability and development agenda.
Both parties will cooperate closely in areas ranging from low-carbon energy technologies to carbon services and solutions, said the Singapore authorities and EU.
"WE OWE IT TO OUR CHILDREN"
Mr Timmermans said "the EU and Singapore are similarly committed to investing in and speeding up the urgent global green transition".
He said authorities have demanded a "high degree of solidarity" from the young generation during the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of restrictions and loan financing needed to stimulate the economy.
"This should remind us that, likewise, we owe it (to) our children and grandchildren to leave them decent living conditions on our planet. We must take decisive climate action and preserve biodiversity – and the environment more generally," added Mr Timmermans.
He said he hopes that the conversations with the Singaporean ministers will allow them to explore opportunities for advancing the green transition.
"I believe that we now all have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to use the singular fiscal efforts to recover from the pandemic to 'build back better'. We stand ready to work with Singapore to this end,” he added.
On Singapore's part, Mr Teo said that the EU is a "close and strong" partner in the fight against climate change,
"The discussions today reaffirm our common vision to achieve a low-carbon future together, and to find new engines of growth in sustainable development," he added.
Ms Fu said she had a "good discussion" with Mr Timmermans on ways they can advance global climate action and strengthen bilateral cooperation.
"Singapore is a strong supporter of global climate action and is committed to working with all parties, including the EU, for a successful outcome at COP26,” she added.
Announced in February, the Singapore Green Plan 2030 sets out "concrete sectoral plans and targets over the next ten years that will position Singapore to achieve net zero emissions as soon as viable", the authorities said.
Under the European Green Deal presented in December 2019, the EU is aiming for net zero emissions by 2050 and -55 per cent by 2030.