The PAP Government is safeguarding Singapore’s natural heritage for current and future generations, no matter land, air or sea.
These conservation efforts are based in scientific proof, research innovation and international lawmaking.
And conservation is more effective when different countries tackle it together.
National Development Minister Desmond Lee and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan showed Singapore’s foreign partners how and why this past Friday (Oct 28).
Science for nature conservation
“As part of Nature Conservation Masterplan, we safeguard our core nature areas, and strengthen our island-wide ecological connectivity between these core biodiversity areas,” said Minister Lee to his international counterparts at the G20 Research and Innovation Ministers Meeting this past Friday.
“We also actively restore our natural habitats and protect our native species.”
Science, technology and research are important tools for supporting Singapore’s conservation efforts, added the Minister.
He shared how the Government took action once radio and satellite technologies showed that Mandai Mangrove and Mudflat is “ecologically inter-dependent on a nearby wetland reserve, and a key stopover for migratory shorebirds on the East Asian Australasian Flyway.”
“We therefore decided to safeguard it as a core habitat instead of developing it,” said Minister Lee.
Nature-based solutions for Singapore’s climate resilience are also in play.
One new highlight: Large-scale artificial reef units along Singapore’s coast which support marine species recovery.
“Aside from restoring degraded reef areas or creating new reefs, these artificial reefs can also protect shorelines by buffering them against storm surges and wave energy, which are expected to become more frequent and intense,” said the Minister.
Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction
And on the international stage, the Government is committed to a sea change in protecting the world’s marine biodiversity.
“Singapore is enhancing collaboration for oceans issues through the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” said Minister Balakrishnan on Facebook after attending the Gala Ball in Monaco evening event at Marina Bay Sands this past Friday (Oct 28). Prince Albert II of Monaco was among the audience.
“We also hope an ambitious and future-proof Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty can strengthen sustainability in the use of oceans,” said Minister Balakrishnan.
The Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Treaty is an international agreement on conserving and sustaining marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
It is still being negotiated.
“Our oceans are a reservoir of global diversity,” wrote Minister Balakrishnan.
“We need to strike the right balance between protecting the marine environment and enabling ocean based economic growth.”
International cooperation for an international problem
Conservation efforts are best when multiple countries work together to solve a common problem, however.
“Multilateral cooperation must be the foundation of our efforts,” said Minister Balakrishnan earlier this year (Jun 28) at the United Nations Ocean Conference.
“Member States must seize the opportunity that this Conference presents to reaffirm our commitment to placing a rules-based multilateral and coordinated approach at the heart of our management of the oceans.”
And back at this past Friday’s G20 Research and Innovation Ministers Meeting, Minister Lee mentioned how Singapore working together with Japan in the global coral reef monitoring network for East and South-east Asia.
“We have built open databases about our rich local biodiversity, with the help of our Government agencies, educational institutions, and NGOs,” added Minister Lee.
“Such databases facilitate local and cross-border research and inform policy-making.”
“We are also collaborating with the Natural History Museum in London to digitise 10,000 historically important Singapore biodiversity specimens to enable further research.”
“We can continue building such platforms, to better share information and best practices across borders,” he concluded.
Cover photo credit: NParks Facebook