NEWS

Singapore relies on Fiji to speed up COP23 work

Fiji’s Presidency of COP23 is not only important to our Pacific neighbours, but also to Singapore. Singapore may be far from Fiji but it shares similar challenges with their disappearing
18 Oct 2017 11:00
Singapore relies on Fiji to speed up COP23 work
The Singapore Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli (front, middle) at the Pre-COP23 conference at Denarau Island on October 17, 2017. Photo: DEPTFO

Fiji’s Presidency of COP23 is not only important to our Pacific neighbours, but also to Singapore.

Singapore may be far from Fiji but it shares similar challenges with their disappearing shorelines.

Singapore’s Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli told the Fiji Sun how they had turned their country around, despite having no natural resources of their own.

He also discussed how they too were reliant on Fiji to accelerate discussions and implementation from the Paris Agreement as we lead into COP23 in Bonn, Germany.

Mr Zulkifli said Singapore was not very different from Fiji in terms of the challenges they faced regarding climate change.

“It is also a low lying island state and we are as vulnerable as any small island state.”

Talking about how they put environment first when they turned their country around, Mr Zulkifli said: “Firstly, Singapore is a very pragmatic country. We have no natural resources that we can rely on. In fact whatever we have is years and years of hard work and saving the surpluses we make from the economy. Therefore we can only rely on these surpluses for our future.

“In developing our economy, we always believe that we do not have to sacrifice the environment and we have done well in that sense. If you look at the photos of Singapore in 1965 when we started, there was a place where very few people wanted to live in and work in. “The smell, pollution was enormous and even sewerage wasn’t available to more than 50 per cent of the population.

“I remember growing up, having to go to a public toilet where we had a bucket system and this was in 1960s. Today we have 100 per cent sanitation and water for everybody, clean water from the tap, a river we have cleaned up which was totally polluted with the most toxic things you can think of, because we believe as we grow and develop the economy that would support the population, you must not forget the impact we make on the environment and how you need to get everybody on board so they too will love the environment.”

He warned that Fiji too was reliant on its environment and that if care was not taken, the impacts would affect tourism.

“They know how important the economy is where the environment is concerned because without that environment, nobody will come to Fiji.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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