Singapore quietly helping developing nations, says envoy

ALBERT WAI Today Online 27 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE — Singapore has been “quietly helping” other developing countries to build up their human resource capacity to address climate change threats, said the Republic’s Chief Negotiator for Climate Change Ambassador Kwok Fook Seng, adding that the sharing of know-how is more impactful than direct cash grants.

In an email interview with TODAY, Ambassador Kwok said Singapore “sees no need to make a big deal or to extract returns for our efforts”.

“As a small country, we do not adopt the conventional approach of establishing donor-recipient relationships, but treat our development partners as equals,” he said, adding that Singapore has been sharing know-how and helping to build capacity in areas where it has relevant expertise, such as sustainable urban development, water and sanitation.

He pointed out that Singapore has helped more than 170 developing countries from Southeast Asia to the Pacific Islands, and from Africa to Latin America on capacity building and addressing climate change issues.

“Drawing from Singapore’s own development journey, we firmly believe this approach is more impactful than direct cash grants,” said Mr Kwok, adding that to date, Singapore has trained close to 11,000 officials from developing countries in climate change programmes alone.

A range of related courses in sustainable development is also on offer.

Mr Kwok said that the overall participation rate of officials from the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) is very high in such courses. Feedback from the course participants has also been positive.

“Singapore is committed to widening and deepening the scope of these courses (on climate change and sustainable development), for example, by helping developing countries get ready to implement the Paris agreement in 2020,” he added.

In the ongoing negotiations for a new international climate change framework, Singapore is a member of the AOSIS as well as Group of 77 developing countries negotiating blocs.

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