Visit by Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Development, Sim Ann to Reykjavik, Iceland, 11 to 14 October 2022

14 October 2022

Senior Minister of State (SMS), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Development, Sim Ann visited Reykjavik, Iceland from 11 to 14 October 2022 to attend the Arctic Circle Assembly (ACA) as part of Singapore’s ongoing engagement of the Arctic region. Singapore has been an Observer State in the Arctic Council since 2013.


  SMS delivered remarks at the opening session of the ACA on 13 October 2022, highlighting Singapore’s interest in the Arctic, actions taken by Singapore to mitigate the negative impact of climate change, and Singapore’s partnerships with Arctic States. The text of the speech is appended.


During the visit, SMS also met Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Icelandic Minister for Infrastructure Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Angus Robertson, and Arctic Circle Chairman Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.

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14 OCTOBER 2022






Distinguished Speakers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


  I am delighted and honoured to join all of you at the Arctic Circle Assembly (ACA) today. Since the inaugural ACA in 2013, Singapore has participated in every ACA. I am therefore glad that we continue to be able to partake in the important discussions at this forum this year. 


2 You might ask – why is Singapore an Arctic Council Observer despite being located on the Equator, more than 7,000 km away from the Arctic? The reality is that what happens in the Arctic has a profound and significant impact on a small island state like Singapore.


3 About 30% of Singapore is less than five metres above sea level, making our country vulnerable to rising seas caused by a warming planet. A recent study revealed that over the past four decades, the Arctic region has warmed at a rate that was nearly four times faster than the rest of the world. The Arctic region is now roughly 3ºC warmer than in 1980. Another study suggested that even if humans were to stop emitting greenhouse gases today, the current warming would have caused Greenland’s ice sheets to lose 3.3% of its volume, which would contribute to a 27.4cm rise in sea level.    


4 For small low-lying island states like Singapore – and others including Iceland - climate change is an existential challenge. That is why it is even more important today for Singapore to work and support multilateral institutions like the Arctic Council, and platforms like today’s Arctic Circle Assembly, to find actionable solutions to combat the effects of climate change.

5 Singapore’s carbon footprint is small – we account for around 0.11% of global carbon emissions, and rank 126th out of 142 countries in terms of CO2 emissions per dollar GDP (according to data from the International Energy Agency). About 95% of our electricity is generated from natural gas – the cleanest fossil fuel – and we have implemented policies to cap vehicle growth and manage vehicular emissions. However, we are not complacent and continue to make significant efforts in our green efforts. Last year, we launched a national sustainability movement, the Singapore Green Plan, to chart ambitious and concrete green targets over the next 10 years. This will position us to achieve our long-term net zero emissions aspirations as soon as viable. Towards this end, we have announced this year that we will raise our climate ambition to achieve net zero emissions by or around 2050.


6 Amongst our many initiatives that touch almost every dimension of our lives in transitioning to a low-carbon future, Singapore is actively studying and investing in advanced low-carbon solutions such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies, and hydrogen. We plan to quadruple local solar production from 2020 levels by 2025. In July last year, Singapore opened the world’s first inland floating solar panel farms. The annual carbon emission reduction accrued is equivalent to taking 7,000 cars off the road.


7 Innovation is key for a small country like Singapore, and we also look to collaborating with innovative like-minded Arctic partners to find solutions to address pressing issues with global implications, such as the accelerated warming of the Arctic and climate change. Singapore’s Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), such as the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University, have in place comprehensive memorandums of understanding with IHLs with expertise on the Arctic.


8 Our IHLs also undertake research in Arctic technology, including studying the re-adaptation of off-grid energy solutions, that have been used in rural communities in Southeast Asia, to be used to benefit remote communities in the Arctic. Of note, the National University of Singapore’s Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine contains a deep ocean water basin facility which has the potential for Arctic research applicability. We also set up the Centre for Climate Research Singapore to enhance our understanding of climate science, including how climate change in the Arctic affects polar ice sheets.


9 In May 2022, a Singapore delegation from the Nanyang Technological University went on an expedition visit to research centres and observatories in Svalbard, Norway. The team was looking to expand areas of collaboration and had planned to utilise the satellite imagery to study the impact of climate change and sea level rise in the Tropics. I am certain that we will see many more of such meaningful and impactful Arctic-Tropics collaboration in the future.


10 Beyond our current collaboration, Singapore is keen to step up cooperation with many Arctic States in managing the negative effects of climate change. You can count on Singapore as a committed friend, partner and champion for the Arctic region. Thank you.




Senior Minister of State Sim Ann delivering her opening address at the opening session of the Arctic Circle Forum


Photo Credit: Arctic Circle




Meeting between Senior Minister of State Sim Ann and Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir


Photo Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore




Meeting between Senior Minister of State Sim Ann and Icelandic Minister for Infrastructure Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson


Photo Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore




Meeting between Senior Minister of State Sim Ann and Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Angus Robertson


Photo Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore


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