Renowned S'porean conservation scientist, Koh Lian Pin, added to Emerging Stronger Taskforce

Sustainability is one of the key growth areas of Singapore's future economy.

Sumita Thiagarajan | Zhangxin Zheng | November 21, 2020, 12:57 AM

Singapore’s Emerging Stronger Taskforce (EST) has added six new members to contribute towards helping the country navigate through economic recovery post-Covid-19, Ministry of Trade and Industry announced on Nov. 19.

The move to add more members comes after a call from various individuals about the diversity of the members on the taskforce.

One of the new members, Koh Lian Pin, is a renowned professor in policy, conservation science, and technology.

Prominent scientist in environmental science and sustainability fields

Koh returned to Singapore under the National Research Foundation Singapore’s Returning Singaporean Scientists Scheme in recent years.

Prior to this, Koh had worked in various institutions in Switzerland, Australia and the United States for the past 16 years.

He is now leading the Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions at the National University of Singapore.

Koh is added to the EST which has identified Sustainability as one of the six key focuses.

According to The Straits Times, Koh said:

"What we hope to achieve is to identify new economic opportunities that could help to build Singapore's climate resilience and resource resilience, as well as to protect and preserve our natural ecosystems.”

Transforming Singapore to a "Little Green Dot"

EST recognises that sustainability will be an area that can create significant economic opportunities in the near future.

An industry-led coalition called the Alliances for Action (AfA) will help to come up with ideas and prototypes on this front in partnership with governmental agencies.

Specifically, the AfA that aims to establish Singapore as a "Little Green Dot" will focus on the creation of the followings:

  1. A technology-enabled verification system for high-quality nature-based solutions (carbon verification)
  2. A marketplace and exchange for high-quality carbon credits (carbon market)
  3. A green standard and one-stop solution for companies to measure, mitigate, and offset their carbon footprint (carbon-conscious society).

In total, there are eight AfAs to develop and prototype ideas in a "start up" approach to ensure Singapore can seize any growth opportunities that EST has identified.

Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Future Economy Council (FEC), Heng Swee Keat, said:

“The Alliances for Action (AfAs) is a new approach to bring interested parties together to collaborate on new growth opportunities. The emphasis is on taking quick action to prototype solutions and to concurrently explore ways to scale viable solutions across our economy and beyond."

Experts from various sectors

Other new members added to EST include:

  • Jessie Yeo, Executive Secretary, Singapore Port Workers Union and Human Resource Director, NTUC
  • Amos Leong, President and Chief Executive Officer of Univac Group
  • Andrew Kwan, Founder and Group Managing Director of Commonwealth Capital
  • Azlinda Anwar, Director of Grants and Intellectual Property Administration and Coordinating Director of Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory
  • Fidah Alsagoff, Joint Head of Enterprise Development Group and Head of life sciences at Temasek International

Move comes after call for diversity

Earlier this year, an open letter by over 45 individuals including Nominated MPs, called for the EST to improve its representation in terms of gender, minority and vulnerable groups as well as those who can contribute to a green recovery, reported CNA.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee and co-chair of the EST said that new members that were added after new areas of growth were identified in earlier discussions, according to Straits Times:

"The growth of the EST is a result of the opportunities that we have identified and want to seize. For example, we've brought in new members who will be able to help us drive medtech, to be able to push on our AfA on sustainability, in particular on nature-based solutions.

So while we hoist on board people's suggestions that the EST needs to be more diverse, I think we grow our diversity in order to achieve the outcomes that we seek to achieve."

Top image via Wikipedia and Desmond Lee/Instagram