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Global summits to feature leaders of tomorrow

Published on Jun 1, 2014 2:27 PM

TWO major biennial global summits held by Singapore in June to tackle the problems growing cities face will for the first time host not only today's leaders but also the leaders of tomorrow.

The World Cities Summit (WCS) and the Singapore International Water Week

- from June 1 to 5 - will welcome a hand-picked group of about 150 policymakers, academics and industry representatives under the age of 45.

They will discuss ways to "catalyse change" towards more sustainable, resilient cities of the future, combating climate change and resource shortage.

Those attending include architect-engineer Carlo Ratti, director of the Singapore-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology Senseable City Lab, and managing director of the World Future Foundation Lu Bo.

The United Nations estimates that more than five billion people will live in cities by 2030. This would be 60 per cent of the world's population.

Mr Khoo Teng Chye, executive director of the Centre for Liveable Cities, co-organiser of WCS together with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, said: "We do want to see a new group of people with fresh ideas and solutions.

"We think that they will form the core of a group of young, dynamic city leaders who will have many ideas... to share with (older) leaders."

National water agency PUB chief executive Chew Men Leong said "involving the next generation" was a natural next step for the summits.

In 2012, the two events together with the CleanEnviro Summit held at Marina Bay Sands drew some 19,000 government leaders and urban experts from 100 countries. Their focus was on issues such as city planning, the environment, wealth gaps, social stability, and solutions to energy, water and waste issues.

This year, about 20,000 delegates are expected, including OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria and World Resources Institute chairman Andrew Steer.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will open the summits on June 1. In 2012, he noted the challenge of meeting Singaporeans' rising expectations as the Government strives to turn the dense city-state into "one of the jewels in the tropics".