The just-released third iteration of the Blue Plan builds on the impetus provided by the first one in 2001 and the second in 2009. The objective remains the same: To preserve Singapore's marine landscape, which ranges from mangroves and seagrass meadows to coastal forests and coral reefs. The third iteration builds on the success of the previous two initiatives to argue that more can be done in these areas. Responding to the latest plan - which is a ground-up initiative by conservationists - the Government signalled its willingness to see how it can work with the marine community to realise common goals. Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, who is also Minister for Social and Family Development, captured the essence of the national approach to biodiversity in his remarks that "you cannot protect what you don't love, and you can't love what you don't know".
Knowledge, love and protection are the key variables that will determine the success of the latest Blue Plan. It is no secret that every year, more than 80,000 ships pass through the Strait of Malacca and Singapore's waters, carrying a third of the world's traded goods and a sixth of its oil supply. These economic indicators attest to the critical importance of the waters around Singapore to the world's material well-being, on which Singapore's survival and success also rest ultimately. But that is from an economic standpoint.