CLOSING REMARKS BY SPS BAEY YAM KENG AT THE GREENUS SUMMIT ON 25 AUGUST 2023
Good afternoon. Thank you for having me at the inaugural GreeNUS Summit.
2 You are here today because you are interested in what we can do for climate action. Building on what the panellists have shared earlier, let me elaborate on our considerations in building Singapore’s resilient future.
3 First, the need for collaboration with our foreign counterparts. As Yasser (Stridy) mentioned, most of the litter found on our beaches originate from overseas. Yet, we are on the receiving end of this litter because of currents and monsoons. As a member of the global community, we can demonstrate the actions we are taking to address climate change and encourage our counterparts to do the same.
4 Second, Singapore takes a long-term approach to our sustainable development. Some of these plans may seem insignificant today but are meant to deliver on greater impact later. For instance, the cleaning of the Singapore River was meant to achieve more than just public cleanliness. In fact, it was the foundation for the Marina Reservoir and our water security. Together with our progress in water technologies made over the past few decades, we have closed our water loop and strengthened our water security.
5 Third, the need to balance multi-faceted trade-offs. Han Jing (Little Green Chef) had shared on the benefits of soil regeneration and soil-based farming, as well as the impact on our overall well-being. However, Singapore is a city state with limited land resources. While we aim to grow 30 per cent of our nutritional needs sustainably by 2030, we need to balance our land allocation with other societal needs, such as housing. We also need to make the agriculture industry attractive to talents in the workforce, so that more will join us in strengthening our food security.
6 I agree with the panellists that we need to nurture a culture where each of us do our part for sustainability. Singapore has announced our ambition to reach net zero by 2050, and there is much to be done in the next few decades if we are to achieve this goal. The Government is doing our part through legislation and policies, but we will need the community’s support to ensure a successful transition towards a low-carbon future. Each of us can leverage our sphere of influence to encourage our friends and families in adopting sustainable habits.
7 I commend the organising team behind today’s GreeNUS Summit, for taking the initiative to bring discussions on sustainability to your peers. I also thank NUS for supporting your students to organise this event and for involving them in your month-long Sustainability Connect. To all participants, I hope that you have benefitted from today’s panel discussions. More importantly, I hope you will continue to be inspired to contribute actively towards Singapore’s sustainability journey and bring your friends and family along. On this note, may I invite each of you to take our Green Nation Pledge to commit to doing your part.
8 Thank you.