Singapore

Location

Singapore
Singapore
1° 22' 0.012" N, 103° 55' 1.2" E

Capital Based Focal Point:

Ministry of the Environment & Water Resources

Tel. (65)6731 9000

Fax. (65)6731 9456

Capital City: 
Singapore
Languages: 
English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil

Climate Change

Singapore has a National Climate Change Secretariat to deal specifically with the issue of climate change. This has been institutionalized within the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change (IMCCC) that overseas the climate change policies of different Government Ministries. In 2010 Singapore submitted its Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Also in, 2010 Singapore formally submitted a letter to the United Nations indicating association with the Copenhagen Accord and submitted nationally appropriate mitigation actions.

Singapore’s efforts to address climate change are hampered by key geographic, economic and infrastructure limitations. The small, densely-populated nature of Singapore as a city-state limits the ability to adequately track emissions, particularly individual emissions. Also, the geographic situation makes Singapore energy-poor, and limits its access to alternative energy sources. Singapore’s export-oriented economy means that the bulk of Singapore’s emissions are associated with the production of goods for the world market. One climate change issue facing Singapore is the urban heat island effect, which can result in warmer temperatures. This is being mitigated by increasing the amount of greenery in the city, which helps to lower the ambient temperature of surroundings while also creating a more natural and pleasant urban environment for citizens. The affects of rising sea levels and coastal erosion are partly mitigated by existing hard wall or stone embankments. The potential impact of climate change on Singapore include increased flooding, coastal land loss, water resource scarcity, heat stress, increased energy demand, public health impacts from the resurgence of diseases, and impacts on biodiversity. These potential effects are not caused by climate change alone, but certainly can be aggravated by adverse global climate change. Singapore has developed the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (SSB) for sustainable development efforts through 2030. It summarizes Singapore’s approach to addressing the challenges of population growth, resource constraints and climate change. By formally submitting a letter to the UN indicating association with the Copenhagen Accord, Singapore is expected to commence implementation measures to reduce emissions from 7 to 11 % by 2020 based on projected business-as-usual (BAU) levels. Additionally, in 2009, Singapore pledged to undertake mitigation measures leading to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 16% below 2020 (BAU) levels, contingent on a legally-binding global agreement. Current mitigation measures taken by Singapore include a move toward less carbon intensive fuel (natural gas); increased energy efficiency at household, industry, building and transport levels; and government investment in research and development into clean energy alternatives.

Singapore's Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Singapore National Assessment Report MSI+5

Natural and Environmental Disasters

Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs is the principal policy and directing authority responsible for civil emergency preparedness and disaster management.

Being outside the Pacific Rim of Fire, Singapore is spared from natural disasters such as earth quakes and cyclones. However, the government is well organised to respond in case of emergency, with several civil emergency preparedness and disaster management frameworks for planning, coordinating and implementing emergency preparedness programmes. Major scenarios identified as potential hazards include oil refinery fires, industrial accidents, mass rapid transit incidents, maritime incidents, chemical or hazardous materials incidents, air crash accidents, high-rise building fires or building collapses.

Singapore National Assessment Report MSI+5
A Lively and Liveable Singapore: Strategies for Sustainable Growth

Waste Management

Waste management in Singapore is overseen by the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Sustainable Development.

Singapore has a well-developed sewage system that adequately provides for all household, industry and commercial developments. All used water (waste water) is collected and treated at water reclamation sites. All solid wastes in Singapore are collected and disposed of by incineration or recycling by one of four plants. Singapore recycles 56% and incinerates 41% of all waste, which avoids methane emissions from landfills. The waste heat generated is then used to generate electricity, and accounts for 2 to 3% of the country total electricity supply. Only 2% of waste generated ends up in landfill, occupying Singapore’s only landfill on Samakau Island. This is a manmade offshore landfill site opened in 1999 and was created by enclosing sea space between two islands.

Singapore's Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Coastal and Marine Resources

Singapore became a party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1994 and the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1995. Singapore submitted its 4th National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2010. Singapore’s Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) supervises the development of aquaculture, including coastal and open-water aquaculture.

Due to the lack of land resources, Singapore’s biggest natural resource is fish. Despite this, industry and not fisheries is the basis of the Singaporean economy. Currently, about 70% to 80% of Singapore’s coastal areas have hard wall or stone embankments, which help protect against coastal erosion, while remaining coastal areas are beaches and mangroves. Singapore is looking at the need to protect its foreshore and coastal areas through measures such as strengthening existing revetments.

Development pressures, such as the damming up of rivers (to form reservoirs), the canalisation of streams or waterways, land reclamation and natural degradation such as coastal erosion have resulted in the reduction of mangrove forests, which in turn drive out species dependant on mangrove habitats for survival.Rising sea levels also threaten to inundate coastal areas and mangroves. In recent years, mangrove planting and enrichment planting efforts have been implemented to help recover mangroves at various sites. Land reclamation along Singapore’s coast has decreased the coral reef cover by about 60 per cent. Development pressures and coastal modifications continue to be the main threats to Singapore’s remaining inter-tidal habitats. Sedimentation and water clarity issues stemming from coastal works also threaten the marine biodiversity in Singapore’s waters. Despite having constant pressure from reclamation and coastal modifications, Singapore’s waters still support a good variety of marine biodiversity. Singapore’s seagrass species diversity is relatively high, featuring 12 out of the total 23 Indo-Pacific species. Several species of seagrass were thought to have gone extinct when the extensive seagrass meadows on the south eastern shore gave way to reclamation, but populations of these species have since been rediscovered on the offshore islands. Coral reefs are currently estimated to cover an area of not more than 30 square kilometers and are mainly found near the southern islands of Singapore. These reefs consist of fringing and patch types, with live coral cover ranging between 10 to 60 percent of existing reefs. Synchronized mass spawning of corals has been observed at Singapore reefs, indicating that the reefs are healthy and breeding.

Singapore's Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Singapore Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity

Freshwater Resources

The Ministry of Environment and Water Resources directs domestic water policy.

Singapore experiences ample year-round rainfall, but is water-scarce due to insufficient land to collect and store water. This inability to collect and store water is exacerbated by a lack of groundwater reserves. Singapore has four sources of water: imported water from Malaysia under the 1961 and 1962 Water Agreements, water collected from local catchments that is harvested from storm water, high-grade purified water from five NEWater plants, and desalinated water from Asia’s largest reverse-osmosis desalination plant. Historically there has been a high reliance on water from the neighboring province of Johor in Malaysia, but this source will be insufficient as Singapore's expected water demand doubles in the long run due to projected increases in industrial activities and Singapore’s population growth. Singapore is increasing water catchment to cover 90% of its land area, but this will still not be enough to meet future demand. NEWater and desalinated water operations will be expanded to meet 80% of future water needs, despite its energy-intensive production process, to try and ensure water self-sufficiency for Singapore. Given that Singapore’s coastal reservoirs have dams that are higher than the projected sea level increase predicted by climate change and that the height of these dams can be raised if needed, Singapore’s water supply is unlikely to be affected by seawater intrusion. These plans will also help to increase water security, as NEWater and desalination are not dependent on rainfall and help to greatly diversify the water supply channels of Singapore.

Singapore's Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Land Resources

An Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development (IMCSD) was established in 2008 to set out Singapore’s sustainable development strategy, and came up with the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (SSB) that outlines sustainable development for the next 20 years.

Singapore comprises the main island of Singapore and some 63 smaller offshore islets. It is located in the midst of one of the world’s busiest sea and air transit point. Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons, and its climate is characterized by uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. Singapore has on-going land reclamation projects with earth obtained from its own hills, the seabed, and neighbouring countries. As a result, Singapore's land area grew from 581.5 km² in the 1960s to 704 km² today, and may grow by another 100 km² by 2030. The projects sometimes involve some of the smaller islands being merged together through land reclamation in order to form larger, more functional islands. The land-use planning and development control functions are overseen by a single agency, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). The first Concept Plan from the URA was released in 1971, and is reviewed in 10 year intervals. Only 2% of Singapore's area is arable land, and this only contributes 0.1% to GDP. With limited land and sea resources for primary production, Singapore’s agricultural developments occur in allocated areas called Agro-technology Parks on land, and Marine Parks at sea. Production in these areas includes vegetables, eggs, fish, milk, orchids and ornamental fish. Land is safeguarded for long term economic needs, including strategic industries like pharmaceuticals, electronics, biomedical sciences, and new growth sectors such as aerospace and medical travel, and land is also set aside for future expansion of ports, the airport and other large infrastructure. Over the 20 year period from 1986 to 2007, green cover increased from 36% to 47% even though the population increased 68% during that period. Singapore also caps vehicle growth, limiting car growth in the same period to 3%, and reducing it further by 1.5% between 2007 and 2009. As Singapore is 163 meters above sea level at its highest point, and much of the island is 15 meters above sea level and generally flat, the effects of sea level rise are not projected to be as intense as in other SIDS. Additionally, Singapore has a deliberate policy in place to raise low-lying areas in conjunction with redevelopment proposals.

Singapore's Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Singapore National Assessment Report MSI+5

Energy Resources

Energy is recognized by the Government of Singapore as a priority, and its has set up the Energy Efficiency Programme Office (E2PO) to pursue energy efficiency policies. The National Energy Policy Report (NEPR), published in 2007, articulates Singapore’s energy policy framework.

Singapore is considered a developing country by the UNFCCC, and therefore is granted special consideration in recognition of the difficulties of switching to alternative energy sources. Due to its lack of land area, Singapore lacks the natural endowments to transition to alternative fuel sources. Currently, Singapore is dependent on imported fossil fuels. Since 2001, Singapore switched from fuel oil to natural gas to generate electricity, which now accounts for 80% of electricity production. Additionally, Singapore is using waste as a resource to produce electricity through incineration. This accounts for 2 to 3% of the country's total electricity supply. While pressures on its limited resources have increased, Singapore’s energy intensity (per dollar of GDP at 2000 prices) improved by 22% from 1990 to 2005. By 2007, Singapore’s overall carbon intensity has fallen 40% since 1990. Due to its lack of natural endowments, alternative sources of energy such as hydroelectric power and tidal energy cannot be harnessed as Singapore has no major river system and has relatively calm seas. It also has little land to grow domestic biomass and has a low average wind speed, restricting the use of wind turbines as an energy source. Solar energy is the only viable alternative energy option, but even this is limited by the lack of land. Due to this situation, the government has chosen to promote energy efficiency through such initiatives as the Fuel Economy Labelling Scheme (FELS), introducing mandatory fuel economy labelling for passenger cars and light goods vehicles from 1 April 2009. Other initiatives are being promoted by the government as well, such as enhancing awareness about the benefits of public transport, with a goal of achieving a 70:30 ratio between public and private transport journeys by 2020.

Singapore's Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
AIMS Regional Synthesis Report for the Five Year Review of Mauritius Strategy for Further Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for Sustainable Development in SIDS (MSI+5)

Tourism

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) coordinates tourism policy, aiming to expand traditional sectors such as business and leisure tourism while also pursuing hospital and education tourism. The STB is currently drafting a ten year Tourism Master Plan.

The tourism industry is a major source of foreign earnings, but in Singapore the control of dengue and chikungunya poses a challenge. As a business/tourism hub in an endemic region for many such diseases, it could be vulnerable to the introduction of new infections through travel and trade and receptive to outbreaks because of the presence of mosquito vector species. However, its geographic location is also a benefit in the tourism market, with Singapore gaining much stopover tourist traffic due to its position as a regional transport hub. Government policies aim at nature-based tourism and as a destination for education and healthcare.

Singapore National Assessment Report MSI+5
AIMS Regional Synthesis Report for the Five Year Review of Mauritius Strategy for Further Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for Sustainable Development in SIDS (MSI+5)

Biodiversity

Along with the Commission on Biological Diversity and the Global Partnership of Cities and Biodiversity, Singapore led the development of a City Biodiversity Index (CBI) to try to measure urban efforts towards biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. In 2010, Singapore also submitted its Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Despite Singapore’s highly urban setting, it has a wide range of terrestrial ecosystems including mangroves, coastal ecosystems, open undisturbed habitats such as grassland and freshwater habitats such as lakes and streams. These ecosystems and their component species are conserved within a network of two national parks and four nature areas. Approximately 4.5% of Singapore’s land area is legally protected within the four nature reserves, and another 4.5% within the two national parks. The National Parks Board (NParks) further manages a network of streetscapes and park connectors. At least 2,053 species of higher plants are considered to be native, 360 species of birds have been recorded as resident and there are a vast but uncounted number of insects and invertebrates. Singapore’s few endemic species include freshwater crabs and prawns within the nature reserves. The forests of Singapore are not commercially exploited for timber or other timber products, and there are no indigenous people that rely on forests for subsistence. The forests are therefore managed primarily for biodiversity conservation, water catchments, and the maintenance of ecosystems. In addition to these Nature Reserves, there are 18 sites identified by the government for their rich biodiversity and long-term maintenance of these sites has been identified as a priority. Skyrise greening and the rehabilitation of forests and forest animals is also being pursued. NParks is monitoring the long-term diversity, growth, and survival of trees in marked study plots. A coral nursery has also been established off Pulau Semakau to enable Singapore to proactively enhance existing marine habitats by maximizing the survival of naturally occurring coral. NParks is also developing pre-emptive management strategies to counter mangrove erosion in coastal areas.

Singapore Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity
AIMS Regional Synthesis Report for the Five Year Review of Mauritius Strategy for Further Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for Sustainable Development in SIDS (MSI+5)
Country Strategies: 
Bill | 18 Jul 2013
17-19 July 2013 | Baie Lazare, Seychelles Highlights for Wednesday, 17 July 2013 The AIMS (Atlantic, Indian, Mediterranean and South China Sea) Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) convened on Wednesday, 17 July, in Baie Lazare, Seychelles. After opening remarks from Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment and Energy, Seychelles, Amb. Marlene Moses, Chair, Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Wu Hongbo, UN Under-...
Bill | 27 Aug 2012
PREPARED BY OHRLLS   SUMMARY The 2012 Third World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), saw 36 representatives and heads of state from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) take to the floor during the Plenary Session to deliver statements on a range of issues of importance and relevance to them. Of the 36 SIDS representatives, 10 were Heads of State while 10 were Heads of Government making up 26% of the 77 Heads of State and Heads of Government who addressed the Plenary...
30 Apr 2013 | SIDS Policy and Practice
26 April 2013: The UNFCCC Secretariat has released a compilation of 11 views presented by parties (FCCC/SB/2013/MISC.3) on issues related to activities described in paragraph 70 of decision 1/CP.16 (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries- REDD+). Three submissions from NGOs were posted on the UNFCCC website. The...
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