Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong asked the Minister for National Development (a) what are the current measures of success for the ongoing Ubin Project to conserve and sensitively enhance the island; and (b) what are the future plans to conserve and preserve the island.
Mr Desmond Lee: The Ubin Project was initiated in 2014 to preserve the island’s rustic charm, natural environment, biodiversity and heritage. To support this, the Friends of Ubin Network (FUN) was formed the same year, comprising a diverse group of stakeholders including villagers, researchers, and members from the heritage and nature communities who are passionate about Ubin.
Over the years, to conserve and sensitively enhance the island, we have worked closely with FUN on various ground-up initiatives that support The Ubin Project’s key thrusts. For example, in the area of biodiversity conservation, we have intensified our habitat enhancement and species recovery efforts. In particular, NParks collaborated with the National University of Singapore to adopt a science-based ecological mangrove restoration approach that enhances the regeneration of Ubin’s mangroves. Many areas on Ubin have also been planted with native trees and shrubs, providing important habitats for biodiversity. These efforts have led to an increase in the population of many native species, and we will press on with these efforts. In 2020, our first Comprehensive Ubin Biodiversity Survey also recorded twenty new species of fauna, including a spider species that was new to science.
In addition, we have worked with heritage experts and the FUN community to sensitively restore kampong houses on Ubin. The community has also been inspired to actively organise and lead initiatives, such as the annual Pesta Ubin, Ubin Day, as well as festival gatherings for villagers and their families. We have also been heartened by the community’s efforts to document Ubin’s cultural heritage, such as through an archaeological survey, and a cultural mapping project of the island’s living heritage. These efforts have contributed greatly towards preserving the cultural heritage and the way of life on Ubin.
Going forward, we will continue to partner FUN, Ubin villagers, and community stakeholders on future plans to conserve the island. We will continue to keep Pulau Ubin as a rustic and natural island for as long as possible, so that future generations can continue to enjoy its cultural and natural heritage.
Ministry of National Development
4 July 2022