Need to balance competing national priorities when it comes to sustainability: Grace Fu

We need to have a keen awareness of Singapore's strengths and constraints, she said.

Joshua Lee | February 01, 2021, 06:53 PM

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Singapore has to "balance competing national priorities" when it comes to sustainability, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) Grace Fu in Parliament today (February 1).

She was responding to the parliamentary motion filed by the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Sustainability and the Environment, which called for the government to step up efforts to fight climate change.

Highlighting how "sustainability has always been a part of Singapore’s DNA" even before the term became a part of the mainstream lexicon — she cited the 1971 Clean Air Act,  the cleaning up of Singapore's rivers, and the ABC Waters programme as examples — Fu stressed the importance of continuing down the path of sustainable development.

With regard to climate change in particular, Fu gave examples — such as the Zero Waste Masterplan and Our Energy Story — of how the government has announced specific strategies to support sustainability across different sectors.

These have all been possible, she said, because Singapore has been able to balance sustainability goals with economic growth and social inclusion, and having a keen awareness of the country's constraints, such as limited land, limited options for alternative energy, and dependence on the global economy.

"To remain competitive, we have to take into account these realities and balance our competing national priorities."

Fu gave the example of the Energy & Chemicals sector which contributed around 3 per cent of Singapore’s GDP and employed over 25,000 people in 2019.

The sector also contributes to the green movement by providing materials for electric vehicle batteries and generating bio-fuels.

"Singapore will benefit from anchoring industry players here," said Fu.

Top photo by Brice Li