S'pore to support sustainable development, conservation efforts in Arctic: Sim Ann

Singapore, as a low-lying coastal state, is vulnerable to rising sea levels.
Singapore, as a low-lying coastal state, is vulnerable to rising sea levels.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - The Republic is ready to continue working with the Arctic States on sustainable development and environmental issues like marine litter and green shipping, said Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and National Development Sim Ann at the 12th Arctic Council's ministerial meeting on Thursday (May 20).

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesman noted that Singapore, as a low-lying coastal state, is vulnerable to rising sea levels and that the Arctic is a barometer of climate change.

Officials like Mr Sam Tan, Singapore's special envoy for Arctic affairs, and Ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh have previously pointed out that melting ice caps could also open up new trade routes with an impact on the Republic's shipping hub status.

Singapore joined the Arctic Council in 2013 as the only small island observer state. It has since played an active role by participating in meetings, hosting workshops and sharing its experience on issues such as tackling oil spills and conserving biodiversity.

On Thursday, Ms Sim added that in the area of Arctic research, Singapore has contributed to discourse on Arctic shipping governance, carbon cycling of permafrost soils and sea-level change in the Arctic.

She was delivering a statement virtually as Singapore attended the council's ministerial meeting for the fourth time. Mr Tan and MFA officials were also in the audience.

Ms Sim stressed that sustainable development was an important area requiring collaboration from all stakeholders, and pointed to Singapore's emphasis on this in its recently launched Singapore Green Plan 2030.

The plan, unveiled in February, aims to chart a more sustainable path forward for Singapore, and sets out targets like having more energy-efficient buildings and improving resilience to the impact of climate change, such as by boosting local food production.

"Over the past two decades, the council has successfully performed its role as the leading intergovernmental forum in promoting cooperation in the Arctic," said Ms Sim.

"Singapore stands ready to work with the council and all stakeholders to strengthen international collaboration and address current and emerging issues to find a common way towards a sustainably prosperous Arctic."