SHARM-EL-SHEIK, Egypt - Singapore launched its first pavilion at the United Nations COP27 climate conference on Sunday to showcase the Republic’s commitment to its climate ambitions, as well as its innovations in areas such as renewable energy and green finance.
In a welcome address, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said the pavilion represents the nation’s aspiration to catalyse sustainable solutions and strengthen existing partnerships, as well as forge new ones to advance global climate action.
The pavilion, themed “Building a Future of Green Possibilities”, is the result of a collaboration of over 100 partners from corporate, media, academia and international organisations, as well as non-governmental organisations. The Straits Times is a media partner of the pavilion.
Pavilions at the COP conferences are small rooms or spaces for countries and organisations to demonstrate their strategies for fighting climate change and showcase the causes they fight for. The spaces are also where delegates, young people and experts network.
There are more than 100 pavilions vying for attention at COP27, which is being held till Nov 18 at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The annual meeting brings together leaders from almost 200 nations to discuss how to boost actions to tackle worsening climate change. Issues being discussed include ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and funding for poorer countries to help them better adapt to climate change and invest in clean energy and transport.
In October, Singapore raised its climate ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and enhanced its 2030 nationally determined contribution (NDC) to cut emissions from 65 million tonnes to 60 million tonnes by 2030.
NDCs are submitted by countries to outline how they will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to reach net-zero goals.
Ms Cindy Khoo, deputy secretary of the Strategy Group in the Prime Minister’s Office, told The Straits Times it is too early to say when emissions will peak for Singapore and go on a downward trend thereafter. Bringing down emissions would require international cooperation, be it with technology owners or other countries, she added. Negotiations on these fronts are still ongoing.
The pavilion will host multiple international panel discussions, forums and events to facilitate the sharing of ideas and provide platforms for governments, businesses and community players to collaborate on innovative solutions.
Speaking at the pavilion’s launch on Sunday evening, Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon said Singapore can play a key role in mobilising capital to help Asia achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
“We must give investors confidence to invest in the transition, especially given concerns around greenwashing... Singapore has been contributing to international efforts towards sustainability disclosures and sound climate data and metrics,” he noted.
Developing carbon markets can play a complementary role to channel funds to emissions reductions and renewable projects that would otherwise not receive funding. Here, Singapore could play a useful role as a facilitator in Asia, said Mr Menon.
Asked why Singapore decided to have its own pavilion this year, the pavilion steering committee said it saw increased interest from non-governmental stakeholders such as businesses and interest groups at 2021’s COP26 in Glasgow. Therefore, the inaugural pavilion this year seeks to bring local companies, organisations, media partners and interest groups to the global platform.
Ms Khoo hopes the pavilion will be a “seed of change”, and those who visit the space will be inspired to derive new ideas that they can implement in their countries years down the road.
The pavilion has interactive panels which highlight features of the Singapore Green Plan and thematic days such as a youth day, decarbonisation day and energy day.
A central feature is a networking space where visitors can relax over coffee or attend one of the series of panel discussions at the pavilion.
One display takes visitors through Singapore’s Green Plan. Another display features ST’s award-winning climate and environment content, from interactive graphics to cartoons, which tells viewers why reducing the impacts of climate change is so important to lives and livelihoods.
There is also a 3D virtual-reality experience in which visitors can view the impacts of climate change on countries and places such as the Arctic Circle.
Those who cannot visit the pavilion in person can see it virtually at www.cop-pavilion.gov.sg