Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Singapore reveals new sustainable development programme at UN summit

TODAY, 28 Sep 2015

Many issues of sustainable development cannot be addressed unilaterally, and renewed commitment and enhanced partnerships from all stakeholders — including states, international financial institutions and civil society — will be needed for the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to work, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan.

To that end, Singapore will be launching a new Sustainable Development Programme under the Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP), a long-running initiative that conducts 300 courses for 7,000 officials from developing countries each year. The new programme will offer leadership training and work with UN bodies on development plans and solutions for the developing world.

Dr Balakrishnan announced this as he delivered Singapore’s national statement at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York City yesterday (Sept 27).

The 2030 Agenda is a new long-term global development framework that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals.

Citing the transboundary haze currently plaguing Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore as an example of an issue that cannot be dealt with unilaterally, Dr Balakrishnan noted it has affected the health of millions in the region, damaged the economy and the large quantities of carbon dioxide released are setting back efforts to mitigate climate change.

“Countries are individually tackling the problem of transboundary haze. But we need closer regional and international cooperation to apply legal and commercial pressure in order to prevent errant companies from profiting from unsustainable land and forest clearing,” said Dr Balakrishnan.

He also outlined Singapore’s approach to sustainable development, which he said is underpinned by two factors: Pragmatism in governance and implementation, and partnerships to build capacity.

The Republic’s water policy is an example that reflects the Government’s pragmatic focus on outcomes rather than ideology. To diversify water supply, Singapore expanded water catchments and turned to membrane technology to turn waste water into high-grade water. The Republic is also now turning to smart technology — for example, 200 smart sensors in drains around Singapore automatically tweet data on water levels and flood probability.

Singapore has also developed human capital by investing heavily in education and is helping the workforce acquire skills for the future.

The new Sustainable Development Programme will offer leadership programmes on good governance and public sector institutions in partnership with the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence.

It will also cooperate with UN-Habitat to roll out a multi-year programme on sustainable cities and urbanisation for 100 cities from the developing world. And it will work with partners such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UN-Water to provide training and consultancy on water and sanitation solutions for countries in need.

“National pride of ownership and innate motivation are the biggest drivers of sustainable development. We applaud the 2030 Agenda for providing peoples and governments around the world with the necessary tools to take ownership of their own futures,” added Dr Balakrishnan.

Delivered Singapore’s national statement at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 in New York City...
Posted by Vivian Balakrishnan on Sunday, September 27, 2015

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