Second Intervention by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, at the G20 Environment Ministerial Meeting on 22 July 2021
1 Thank you, Chair. It has been a pleasure to participate in these robust discussions on resource sustainability. In an increasingly resource-constrained world, we must identify new approaches that can accelerate the transition to sustainability.
2 The circular economy is one such approach. Circularity can bring about wide-ranging opportunities in resource sustainability and turn waste into treasure.
3 In Singapore, to ensure that our scarce and limited resources can be used over and over again, we have developed NEWater, which is our form of high-grade recycled water, and are exploring how to turn incinerated bottom ash into NEWSand, to be used as construction material, and also turning plastic into NEWoil for reuse. The circular economy approach has therefore been helpful in supporting Singapore's efforts to tackle resource challenges.
4 Tackling environmental sustainability also requires us to adopt an integrated planning approach. Issues such as water, climate, the ocean, and ecosystems are cross-cutting and inter-connected in nature, and must be tackled in tandem to allow for comprehensive and optimized solutions to be developed. For example, water management must be addressed alongside the long-term impacts of climate change, including on weather patterns, sea level rise, and ecosystems, to ensure long-term sustainability. Similarly, principles such as the One Health approach enable synergy and collaboration across multiple sectors to enable effective action in tackling public health issues such as antimicrobial resistance.
5 Finally, sustainability must be underpinned by strong science and global cooperation. Ocean science is an area on which the global community must work together, to gain better understanding of how changes in our oceans can affect marine biodiversity, habitats, ecosystems, and climate change. In this regard, Singapore is taking steps to strengthen our understanding of sea level and climate science, and are committed to working with all countries to advance international understanding of these issues. In the same vein, we are also committed to multilateral negotiations on an international legally binding instrument under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). These discussions will strengthen global cooperation on cross-cutting and complex issues on the oceans and seas.
6 The sustainability transition will take time. As countries have unique circumstances and needs, the approaches needed to accelerate sustainability may also differ.
7 However, the adoption of an ambitious G20 Environment Ministerial Communique can send a strong signal to the global community that sustainability must be prioritized, even as countries continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
8 We look forward to the adoption of the Ministerial Communique here in Naples, and remain committed to supporting the G20 and the Italian Presidency in its efforts.
9 Thank you.