Mr Leon Perera asked the Minister for National Development whether Singapore will be funding efforts to support the “30 by 30” global conservation targets established at the COP15 biodiversity conference in lieu of Singapore’s limited capacity to increase protected land.
The Senior Minister of State for National Development (Mr Tan Kiat How) (for the Minister for National Development): Mr Deputy Speaker, Singapore will work closely with other countries to support and implement the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference in December 2022. Countries are expected to contribute towards the global targets under this Framework according to their national circumstances, priorities and capabilities.
For example, Singapore contributes towards regional conservation efforts by sharing our technical expertise in areas such as protected area management and conservation. We have also designated the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve as ASEAN Heritage Parks under the ASEAN Heritage Parks Programme, which recognises these as protected areas of high conservation importance.
As a responsible global citizen, Singapore will continue to play our part, while taking into account our unique circumstances as a small, densely populated city state. As part of our City in Nature efforts, we are safeguarding more green spaces where possible, establishing additional nature parks, and restoring core habitats. The Singapore Index on Cities’ Biodiversity assists cities worldwide to monitor the progress of their conservation efforts.
Mr Deputy Speaker: Mr Leon Perera.
Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied): I thank the Senior Minister of State for his reply. With reference to the Montreal event, COP15, some developed countries have pledged to make a financial contribution to support other developing countries, for example, in Africa, to protect biodiversity. Given the limitations that we face to protect our green spaces – as the Minister of State observed, we are a small, densely populated city state – would the Government consider reviewing in the future if it could make financial contribution to other countries to protect biodiversity specifically, given this is a good signal to send that we are committed to playing our part globally?
Mr Tan Kiat How: Mr Deputy Speaker, I thank the Member for the supplementary question. I would like to reiterate Singapore’s commitment to the global effort to conserve biodiversity around the world. In fact, Singapore is seen by many countries and regions as playing an active thought-leadership role within biodiversity conservation.
For example, I mentioned the Singapore Index on Cities’ Biodiversity, or the Singapore Index for short. It is one contribution Singapore has made to the collective thought-leadership on how we should look at conserving our biodiversity, especially in cities.
To the point that the Member has raised on the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, there are 23 action targets under this Framework. For example, there are targets looking at integrating biodiversity as part of spatial planning in cities and countries; looking at ensuring urgent management to halt human-induced extinction of known threatened species in our environment, and so on and so forth. These 23 targets are all very ambitious, meaningful and worthwhile targets. The “30 by 30” is one of the targets, Target 3 under the Framework, and Singapore is actively contributing to that global target.
In fact, as part of an earlier Parliamentary Question (PQ) by another Member Mr Louis Ng, we also shared with the House that National Parks Board (NParks) is working closely with relevant agencies and stakeholders – for example, our local biodiversity groups and different non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – to update our National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, and to develop national targets to further contribute to this Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. As part of this process, we aim to submit our updated Plan prior to the 16th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biodiversity in 2024.
So, as part of this holistic response, we will look at different suggestions and ideas. But certainly, we want to continue playing an important role as a responsible global citizen.
Ministry of National Development
24 February 2023