Joint Paper on Enhancing Environmental Cooperation in the Post-COVID 19 Era: 2020-2022 Work Plan for the Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation Between the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment of the Republic of Singapore and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People’s Republic of China
1 Bilateral relations between China and Singapore have grown significantly since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1990. Despite differences in size and national circumstances, our cooperation has been multi-faceted and has progressed steadily, in line with our shared interests, common challenges and evolving developmental needs.
2 On environmental cooperation, the enhanced Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Environmental Cooperation, signed in November 2018, has fostered a closer partnership between the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) of China and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) of Singapore.
3 The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of ensuring resilience and sustainability in our policies. It also provides an opportunity for us to advance our cooperation, and jointly promote greener and more sustainable development in the post-pandemic era. We can achieve this by: (i) strengthening collective action through multilateral cooperation; (ii) promoting green and sustainable development through innovative policies; and (iii) facilitating technical cooperation.
(I) Strengthening Collective Action through Multilateral Cooperation
4 Inclusive and constructive multilateral cooperation is the bedrock for addressing global challenges and advancing our shared interests. Global environmental challenges require countries to adopt partnerships, and pool ideas and resources to achieve enduring outcomes. China and Singapore will strengthen collective action at multilateral platforms as follows:
a. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). China and Singapore will continue to convene annual bilateral consultations on climate change and work together to advance our joint interests at the annual UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, as well as enhance South-South cooperation on climate action through co-organising training programmes and workshops.
b. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Both sides will remain committed to achieving the three goals of the CBD, and promote the adoption and implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
c. Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition (BRIGC). As Co-Chairs of the BRIGC, China and Singapore will work together to jointly contribute to the green development of BRI, and conduct exchanges and roundtables on best practices and lessons learnt on inclusive, environmentally and socially responsible economic development.
d. Association of South East Asian Nations – China (ASEAN-China). China and Singapore will explore synergies in the implementation of the proposed 2021 ASEAN-China Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation and the proposed Framework of ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2025 through joint technical capacity initiatives.
(II) Promoting Green and Sustainable Development through Innovative Policies
5 China and Singapore share a common commitment to green and sustainable development, and both sides will jointly promote green and sustainable development through:
a. MEE-MSE Environmental Policy Dialogue. China and Singapore will take turns hosting the Policy Dialogue to share updates on our policies and exchange experience on environmental issues of common interest.
b. MSE-MEE Environmental Governance Programme. China and Singapore will conduct personnel exchanges to share practices and policies on environmental governance.
c. Exchanges on Solid Waste Management. China and Singapore will conduct exchanges on policies for managing solid waste and promoting circular economy.
d. Exchanges on Biodiversity Conservation. China and Singapore will promote ecologically friendly development through tools such as the Ecological Conservation Redlines and City Biodiversity Index, and exchange experiences with each other.
e. Policy Dialogue on Climate Change. China and Singapore will engage in dialogues to share respective domestic efforts and best practices, including in carbon pricing and development of monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) requirements, and explore collaboration opportunities to address climate change.
(III) Facilitating Technical Cooperation
6 In view of green development opportunities and common challenges, China and Singapore will facilitate technical cooperation in the following areas:
a. Circular Economy and Waste Management. China and Singapore have both adopted circular economy approaches to enhance our resource efficiency and reduce solid waste. Based on the success of the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco City (SSTEC) as a Zero Waste Pilot City, both sides will regularly review developments in the SSTEC, identify its next steps, and profile the SSTEC as a successful model for the region.
b. Joint Capacity Building Programmes. China and Singapore will develop and organise capacity building programmes for each other and other developing countries, on topics such as climate change and marine plastics, through platforms such as ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation and BRIGC.
c. Environmental Technology Research and Development (R&D). Both sides will facilitate partnerships between R&D institutions and enterprises to innovate and/or test-bed new environmental technologies, including in areas such as environmental quality surveillance, response and prediction.
7 To facilitate and promote pragmatic cooperation in the areas above, we have agreed on the MEE-MSE Workplan for 2020-2022, subject to further reviews and modifications and on the basis of mutual agreement.
8 In the face of shared global challenges, there are many benefits for China and Singapore to cooperate and work towards a green, sustainable and low-carbon future. We can work together to promote innovation in environmental protection and governance in our countries and region, and ensure a greener world and better lives for all, as envisioned in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.