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The Straits Times: S’pore to offer climate change expertise to Asean: Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli

By Audrey Tan

Climate action training to be provided until 2020, and may be extended after review

From imposing a carbon tax on large emitters to raising minimum land reclamation levels to mitigate rising seas, Singapore has in place a comprehensive suite of measures to reduce its carbon emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Now, the Republic is offering this expertise to its neighbours.

Yesterday, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said Singapore will offer a climate action package to Asean countries from this year.

This will include training programmes in climate change mitigation and adaptation, ranging from climate science to flood management and disaster risk reduction.

The package will run until 2020, with courses refreshed on an annual basis. Mr Masagos said the package will be reviewed before the deadline to see if it can be extended.

"We hope that the climate action package will be useful to Asean countries as they ramp up action to address climate change," he said at the opening of the Special Asean Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action.

In attendance were Asean Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi and several ministers, including Laos' Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sommad Pholsena and Thailand's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, General Surasak Karnjanarat.

Malaysia's Acting High Commissioner to Singapore, Mr Jamal Sharifuddin Johan, and Indonesia's senior adviser to the Minister of Environment and Forestry on Climate Change and International Cooperation, Dr Nur Masripatin, were also present.

The high-level meeting, which took place at Marina Bay Sands alongside three sustainability conferences - the Singapore International Water Week, CleanEnviro Summit Singapore and the World Cities Summit - is the first involving ministers and representatives from Asean countries to discuss climate change.

The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources had earlier told The Straits Times that Singapore, as this year's Asean chairman, is hosting the meeting to galvanise regional climate action.

Yesterday, Mr Masagos shared Singapore's other initiatives in support of regional efforts to address climate change, a key component of which involves the sharing of information and data.

Other than the programmes under the climate action package, Singapore's Meteorological Service Singapore and the Centre for Climate Research Singapore will also share their climate projection data and findings for the region with other Asean countries, Mr Masagos said.

He also reaffirmed Singapore's support for the establishment of the South-east Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility.

The facility, which will be set up in Singapore by next year, was announced by the Finance Ministry in May this year.

"As Asean's first regional catastrophe risk pool, the (facility) will provide immediate liquidity to cover emergency response costs in the aftermath of natural catastrophes," said Mr Masagos.

For a start, the insurance facility will focus on the flood risk exposures of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, although he said it has the potential to expand in scope to other Asean countries and different natural catastrophes.

Mr Masagos said Singapore is committed to working with its Asean neighbours to address the risks of climate change.

Copyright Singapore Press Holdings Limited. All rights reserved.

Last updated 26 Jul 2018

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