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Singapore-China: Forging Climate-Friendly Cities

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Singapore-China: Forging Climate-Friendly Urban Frontiers

Singapore and China embarked on a new era of collaboration, unveiling a robust project collaboration framework at the recently held 15th Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Joint Steering Council. This framework aims to elevate the Eco-City as a pioneer in climate-friendly urban development while expanding bilateral cooperation into areas such as green growth, low-carbon living, ecological resilience, innovation, talent development, and governance.

Image credit: mnd.gov.sg

In a press release issued by the Ministry of National Development, the 15 new cooperation initiatives, a testament to the strengthened collaboration, span the public sector, businesses, and academia. Noteworthy are two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) signed between Minister for National Development Desmond Lee and China’s Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD) Ni Hong, as well as Tianjin Mayor Zhang Gong. These MoUs mark a significant step forward in enhancing bilateral cooperation within the Eco-City project.

A key aspect of this collaboration is the joint effort to upgrade the Eco-City into a ‘National Green Development Demonstration Zone.’ This transformation seeks to set a benchmark for high-quality, low-carbon economic growth, showcasing a model that other cities in China and beyond can emulate.

Minister Desmond Lee emphasised the importance of this collaboration, stating, “This is a special year for our two countries. With the new bilateral collaboration framework and 15 cooperation initiatives between Singapore and China on the Tianjin Eco-City, the Eco-City will be one of the tangible demonstrations of the practical benefits our upgraded bilateral partnership will bring our people.”

To actualise their vision, both nations are fostering the Eco-City as a hub for low-carbon businesses. For instance, a company has launched the ‘Low-Carbon and Smart City Alliance,’ partnering with Singapore SMEs to deploy sustainability solutions within the Eco-City and beyond. These initiatives, spanning various sectors such as nano disinfection coating, eco-friendly furniture, digital visualisation, and marketing, contribute to global climate action.

In a groundbreaking move, Singapore and Tianjin are set to establish the first Green and Digital Shipping Corridor (GDSC) connecting both nations. This corridor, anchored by a smart and green Tianjin Port, not only supports the Eco-City’s green growth but also offers opportunities for the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.

To encourage innovation and talent exchanges, the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is establishing the SUTD Eco-City Research and Innovation Centre. This centre, a first for a Singapore institute in the Eco-City, will facilitate joint research projects, enterprise development, education, training, and talent exchanges focused on low-carbon innovation.

The Eco-City will continue to serve as a ‘living lab’ for testing low-carbon and liveable city solutions. The groundbreaking of the Eco-City’s City Centre, featuring a Green Innovation Park, coupled with the development of a carbon-neutral smart precinct, signals a new phase of urban transformation.

Deepening ties between officials through study visits, training programmes, and reciprocal job attachments on sustainability further solidifies the commitment to creating net-zero and liveable cities. The launch of an annual Ministerial-level Leadership Dialogue between MND and MoHURD underscores the shared commitment to sustainable urban development.

The Eco-City project plays a pivotal role in the digital economy by serving as a testing ground and catalyst for innovative solutions. Initiatives such as the Green and Digital Shipping Corridor and partnerships with technology-driven companies contribute to digitalisation, fostering a smart and sustainable urban environment.

Additionally, collaborations with educational institutions, like the establishment of the SUTD Eco-City Research and Innovation Centre, support talent development and research in digital technologies, aligning the Eco-City with the evolving landscape of the digital economy.

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