GLOBE-Net, July 5, 2012 - Last Sunday,
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed an audience of
over 3,000 people on issues revolving around water innovations and
integrated urban solutions for sustainable and liveable cities.
These leaders and experts, mayors and governors, ministers and
government officials were gathered for the Joint Opening Ceremony
and Welcome Reception for the Singapore International Water Week,
World Cities Summit and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore.
Led into the hall by a traditional Chinese dragon dance, the
Guest of Honour, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, took
to the stage to welcome the delegates of all three events and
provoke thoughts and solutions to some of the environmental and
waste challenges faced by Asia's rapidly expanding cities.
"There is one common theme that links these events together: how
to develop liveable and sustainable cities, and to build for
ourselves beautiful and endearing homes," said Mr Lee. The
challenge, he noted, is to do so in the face of an unprecedented
scale of urbanisation, driven largely by emerging economies, and in
Asia in particular.
"It's a tremendous time of change, and a tremendous opportunity
for development and progress, because cities can be a better
habitat for the world's population. They are economically dynamic,
culturally diverse and they can be environmentally friendly," said
To achieve this requires proper planning, efficient
administration and public support, including support for policies
to protect the environment. Each city confronts these issues in its
However, as Mr Lee noted, most share similar objectives - a
vibrant economy that provides good jobs, a safe and secure
environment, good public services, and effective governance. These
shared goals mean there are always insights to be gained from
Given Singapore's small size and high population density,
sustainability and liveability have always been a vital
part of its development. It has protected nature reserves,
built parks and gardens, and cleaned up rivers and waterways.
"We have managed the consumption of scarce resources," said Mr
Lee. "Water, a strategic vulnerability, has been turned into a
strength." This has been achieved by expanding water catchments
with new reservoirs, pricing water fully, and developing NEWater
technology, to maximise the value of the water it has through
Marina Bay is a good
example of Singapore's transformation over the past 40 years.
Formerly a highly polluted river running into the sea, the area was
revitalised through land reclamation, building Marina Barrage, and
the creation of Gardens by the Bay. It has been developed into a
bustling business centre and recreation hub.
"It is now an icon that all Singaporeans can be proud of and
identify with, and think of when we talk of home, of Singapore,"
said Mr Lee.
While Singapore offers some good examples of how cities can make
themselves more sustainable and liveable, it is by no means resting
on its laurels. Mr Lee said there was much to be learned from
others, citing New York City, the winner of the 2012 Lee Kuan Yew
World City Prize, as an example of how strong leadership and
community participation can transform mature cities.
Mr Lee added, "We are determined to continue improving Singapore
so that our people live comfortably and pleasantly. This is how we
will make Singapore the best home for all of us."
The Singapore International
Water Week, World Cities Summit
and CleanEnviro Summit
Singapore ran concurrently from July 1 to 5, 2012. This
article was offered through SOLUTIONS, produced by NOVUS Media