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PM: S'pore can learn from other cities to cope with new environmental challenges

Published on Jun 1, 2014 10:30 PM
 
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivers a speech during the 20th International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo on May 22, 2014. Improving Singapore is a "journey without end", and the island-state can learn from other cities as new challenges emerge, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday evening. -- PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Improving Singapore is a "journey without end", and the island-state can learn from other cities as new challenges emerge, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday evening.

He was speaking at the opening of the World Cities Summit, Singapore International Water Week and CleanEnviro Summit at Marina Bay Sands.

"People's expectations are rising," he said. "Other cities continue to move ahead, developing innovative solutions and setting new standards."

In the past two years alone, PM Lee pointed out, more than 100 million people - or 20 times the population of Singapore - have moved to cities, and 70 per cent of the world's population is expected to live in cities by 2050.

And new challenges such as climate change have surfaced, producing floods in London this year and Cairo's first snowfall in a century in 2013.

Singapore has tried to manage water, energy, and nature carefully and transformed Marina Bay from a "dirty river dotted with pollutive industries and slums", but it can still learn from other cities' experiences, such as Manhattan with its central hotline for municipal services, Copenhagen with its "pocket parks" downtown, and the Spanish metropolis of Bilbao with its arts and culture spaces, he added.

It is also engaging citizens and residents by preserving Pulau Ubin's nature through the Ubin Project, which asks for public ideas to protect the rustic island, and carrying out public consultations to review its sustainable-development blueprint, PM Lee said.

At the three major biennial events this week, which run from Sunday to Wednesday, some 20,000 government leaders, experts and other delegates are expected to meet and discuss solutions to the world's urban issues.

On Sunday, some 130 mayors and city leaders from around the world discussed governance and community engagement at the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum, while delegates discussed sustainable urbanisation and water management at the 10th Asia Pacific Infrastructure Ministers' Meeting and water convention workshops respectively.

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