Masagos tells UN of S'pore's pragmatic way of governance

WASHINGTON • Singapore takes a pragmatic approach to policy making and governance, focusing on outcomes, not ideology, to foster a harmonious, inclusive and prosperous society, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, told a UN gathering in New York.

"Our economic transformation is a story about uplifting our people's lives, by providing good education, health, housing, employment and a clean environment," Mr Masagos said in Singapore's national statement to the UN's 2018 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development on Tuesday.

The forum aims to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which include no poverty, zero hunger, good health and affordable clean energy.

At the forum, 47 countries including Singapore are presenting voluntary national reviews from July 16 to 18. The minister outlined three key elements of Singapore's strategy - balancing economic development with environmental protection and social inclusion; long-term integrated policy planning and implementation; and collaborative partnerships.

"Governments alone cannot tackle climate change and sustainability," Mr Masagos said.

"Singapore has designated 2018 as the Year of Climate Action, to increase awareness and spur nationwide action. In six months, close to a quarter of a million Singaporeans, business corporations and civil society organisations have pledged to take climate action and reduce their carbon footprint."

Singapore had avoided compromising its environment, and will implement an economy-wide carbon tax without exemption from 2019, he said.

"This will accelerate innovation and energy efficiency, shifting our economy and society towards a sustainable, low-carbon future," the minister said.

Nirmal Ghosh

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2018, with the headline Masagos tells UN of S'pore's pragmatic way of governance. Subscribe