Global collective action, people on the ground needed to fight climate change: Grace Fu

A screenshot of Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu speaking at a virtual youth forum on sustainability organised by non-profit Global Compact Network Singapore.
A screenshot of Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu speaking at a virtual youth forum on sustainability organised by non-profit Global Compact Network Singapore.PHOTO: GLOBAL COMPACT NETWORK SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Collective and committed global action is needed to overcome climate change.

And, in South-east Asia, countries must work together to realise sustainability goals as the region goes about recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu on Saturday (May 22).

She also urged participants at an annual youth forum, by non-profit organisation Global Compact Network Singapore, to start engaging in sustainability activism as individuals on the ground.

They can then move on to influencing social norms in the community, before joining national and international initiatives.

In opening remarks delivered virtually, Ms Fu noted several ways Singapore is contributing to regional efforts, such as by convening the first special Asean ministerial meeting on climate action in 2018.

Singapore has also committed $5 million over five years through the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre - based in the Republic - to aid weather forecasting and haze monitoring.

Ms Fu pointed to an Asean Power Grid being explored in the long run, which would enable electricity to be traded freely between member states - and help the region reach its aspiration of making 23 per cent of its primary energy renewable by 2025.

Singapore's national water agency PUB is also working on guidelines for urban water demand management for Asean countries.

'No effort is too small'

At a fireside chat later, Ms Fu was asked how youth in Asean could play a role in advancing the sustainability agenda.

She said: "Start from yourself - what do you see that's not right, what do you see that you can do to improve the environment around you? What do you see that you can do to contribute to sustainability?

"Then you go on to the community around you... and find a way to get people to come along with you as you establish a norm in your own area."

Individuals can then move on to contribute ideas at national platforms and dialogues for policy co-creation.

She said she has seen many youth step up to lead ground-up initiatives or co-create solutions in their communities.

She added: "No effort is too small and your collective actions will make a positive difference to the environment.

"When everyone works together with a common goal, we are creating a movement."

Forum participant Rachel Lee, 20, agreed, saying: "I think it is important for youth from diverse backgrounds to come together to learn from one another and collaborate."

The event's organising committee chairman, Mr Tan Shi Zhou, 24, said: "Youth are powerful changemakers. Never doubt your ability to create impact, especially on the communities around you. Be a trailblazer and lead change with those who share the same vision as you."