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International collaboration, whole of society approach needed for sustainable future: DPM Heng

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Offering business opportunities such as new infrastructure development, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) is one example of an area where Singapore can partner other countries to pursue sustainable development, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat said on Friday morning.

OFFERING business opportunities such as new infrastructure development, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) is one example of an area where Singapore can partner other countries to pursue sustainable development, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat said on Friday morning.

He was speaking at the FutureChina Global Forum, organised by Business China and part of Ecosperity Week.

Collaboration between nations was one of three broad strategies that Mr Heng laid out for working towards a sustainable future, along with enabling all societal sectors to contribute, and grooming the next generation of talent and leadership. 

Tackling climate change and ensuring economic development are two important areas of sustainable development, said Mr Heng.

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To address these, countries can work together on projects such as the GBA and the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition, of which Singapore's Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli is a co-chair.

Countries can also do their part in international efforts, for instance by achieving their carbon emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement, he added.

Secondly, all other sectors of society - government, businesses and individuals - can help in this effort, said Mr Heng. He cited moves such as government funding for sustainability-related research, the new carbon tax, the growth of private capital for green projects, and individual recycling efforts.

Thirdly, there is a need to develop next-generation talents and leaders who are committed to building a sustainable future. Mr Heng noted that Business China has been placing emphasis on this, with the first Business China Youth Forum to be held that afternoon. It will bring together young leaders from Singapore and China for discussion of sustainable development, including the role that technology can play.