Ladies and Gentlemen.
Allow me to first congratulate Bangladesh for its Chairmanship of IORA over the past year, particularly in light of the challenging environment that we have all had to navigate. Bangladesh has done an impressive job in sustaining the momentum of IORA’s important work. It has overseen the strengthening of IORA's institutional arrangements, including through the implementation of the IORA Action Plan. Under Bangladesh’s able leadership, IORA has continued to grow from strength to strength.
It is timely that we are meeting in IORA immediately following the conclusion of the 27th UN Climate Change Conference, or COP 27, last week. It is important that we will be discussing issues related to the environment, sustainable growth and balanced development in the region. These issues remain at the forefront of our minds, especially given the existential threat posed by climate change. As a responsible global citizen, Singapore recognises that we have a role to play in contributing to a collective response to save the environment. Singapore announced last month that we will raise our national climate target to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Even though Singapore accounts for only 0.1% of global emissions, we want to do our part in the global effort to address climate change. Some strategies that we are adopting include raising carbon taxes and developing hydrogen as a major decarbonisation pathway.
The Blue Economy is one of IORA’s priority areas and is part of its action plan from 2022 to 2027. IORA is exploring how best to combat marine debris which is a rising global concern. Combating marine debris is an issue which Singapore takes seriously. We had launched the National Action Strategy on Marine Litter in June this year. This initiative outlines Singapore’s various actions and measures to combat marine litter, which includes items such as plastic bags, glass, wood, and tyres. It is a transboundary issue as litter is moved across oceans by prevailing winds and tides.
Singapore’s approach to marine litter is comprehensive. We seek to tackle marine litter at its source by adopting a circular economy approach. By tapping on partnerships and engagement with stakeholders, we aim to better understand how we can exploit technology to deal with marine plastic debris more effectively. It is important that countries put in place effective waste management policies, regulations, and enforcement measures, to support the global effort to address transboundary marine litter.
Capacity building for IORA
In addition, Singapore is committed to supporting regional and international efforts to further the global sustainability agenda. Singapore recently organised an in-person capacity building course on “Sustainable Tourism” under the Singapore Cooperation Programme for tourism officials from IORA Member States. We shared Singapore’s Green Plan 2030 and facilitated knowledge sharing on sustainable tourism initiatives. We hope such capacity building courses will support the work of the IORA Core Group for Tourism and promote sustainable regional economic growth. Singapore also remains committed to strengthening the IORA Secretariat’s capabilities to better support Member States activities. We had previously organised programmes such as public finance and project management for the IORA Secretariat and Member States. Singapore looks forward to working with both the Secretariat and Member States to continue organising relevant courses in the future.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I would like to conclude by thanking Bangladesh once again for hosting the 22nd IORA Council of Ministers meeting.
We are confident that discussions will be fruitful and will lead to further strengthening of IORA’s work.
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