Singapore will contribute to regional conservation, update national biodiversity strategy

Currently, only about 5 per cent of Singapore’s land is protected, including four of its nature reserves. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Republic will contribute to regional conservation efforts by sharing its expertise and will update its national biodiversity strategy, as part of its commitments to the United Nations’ biodiversity goal, said Senior Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How on Friday.

Mr Tan was responding to a question by Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied GRC) in Parliament on whether Singapore would be funding efforts to support the 30 by 30 global conservation target – conserving at least 30 per cent of land, freshwater and ocean habitats by 2030 – given Singapore’s limited capacity to increase the size of its protected land.

At present, only about 5 per cent of Singapore’s land is protected, including four of its nature reserves.

Globally, about 17 per cent of land and 10 per cent of the ocean have been conserved so far.

At the United Nations COP15 biodiversity conference in Montreal, Canada, in December 2022, which was chaired by China, nearly 200 nations set clear targets to halt and reverse the decline of nature this decade, as well as step up financing to help poorer nations fund conservation efforts.

Under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, countries are expected to contribute towards 23 global targets according to their national circumstances, priorities and capabilities, said Mr Tan.

The landmark 30 by 30 target was among the 23 key global targets set out at the conference.

Mr Tan said that to further contribute to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, the National Parks Board is working with other government agencies and other relevant stakeholders such as nature groups, non-governmental organisations and social enterprises to update its national biodiversity strategy and action plan.

He added that the Government aims to submit its updated plan to the UN COP16 biodiversity conference, which will be held in Turkey in 2024.

Mr Tan said that Singapore’s regional conservation efforts include sharing its technical expertise in areas such as protected area management and conservation.

For instance, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve have been designated as Asean Heritage Parks under the Asean Heritage Parks Programme, which recognises them as protected areas of high conservation importance. 

Mr Perera then asked if the Government would be pledging any financial contributions to developing countries to support their biodiversity.

In response, Mr Tan said that Singapore is seen by many countries as playing a very active role in this space, including a thought leadership role.

One example, he said, would be the Singapore Index on Cities’ Biodiversity, which assists cities worldwide to monitor the progress of their conservation efforts.

The index has 28 indicators, including the proportion of nature areas in the city, connectivity of green areas, residents’ proximity to parks, assessments of plant and animal species and how these change over time, and education and awareness.

At the time of the COP15 biodiversity conference, at least 45 cities around the globe had applied the Singapore Index, including Auckland, Bangkok, Edinburgh, Hyderabad, Kunming, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, Paris and Sao Paulo.

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