Photo: Dr Khaled Gawdat

HE Mr. Dominic Goh
Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore, Egypt

Singapore has had an impressive journey, as over the past 57 years it has emerged from a country with initially highly challenging circumstances to becoming one of the world economic powers, without compromising environmental considerations.  Led by Singapore’s pioneering team of leaders with a deep commitment to economic development with vision, strong political leadership and immense efforts by its citizens, Singapore has transformed itself into one of the cleanest countries in the world with a green modern metropolis. Sustainable development has been the cornerstone of Singapore’s continued progress. In pursuing economic development, the country have been careful not to sacrifice the quality of the environment. Hence Singapore is today widely recognized as a “City in a Garden,” with nearly 50 percent green cover and 72 hectares of rooftop gardens. Singapore is ranked as the most sustainable city in Asia, and amongst the top countries world wide, according to the Sustainable Cities Index. 

PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, designed by WOHA and Tierra Design

Another area that Singapore has emerged as a leader is that of plant based / alternative proteins. Singapore is referred to as “Capital for Plant based Proteins” and is the first country to have approved the commercial sale of cultivated meat, in the form of chicken nuggets and chicken breast produced by Good Meat, a subsidiary of the American firm Eat Just. With the impacts of climate change being at an all-time high, the alternative protein industry plays a big role in mitigating the environmental impacts of the global demand for protein in order to transition to a low carbon society.

Chicken bites made from lab-grown cultured chicken developed by Eat Just is pictured in this handout photo. Eat Just, Inc./Handout via REUTERS

We had the privilege to hear the experience, thoughts and insights by HE Mr. Dominic Goh, Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore, in Egypt, on Singapore’s committed to sustainability and in mitigation of climate change.  This was clearly demonstrated in Ambassador Goh’s commitment to sustainability in the many projects that were implemented in Egypt and globally, and in Singapore’s strong presence at COP27 where commitment to net zero by 2050, was re iterated as well as efforts to innovative and integrated solutions on climate action. We thank Ambassador GOH for this interview and his dedication to improving livelihoods to bringing a stronger and a healthier planet.

Highlights of the interview are below:

Singapore is a small low-lying island state. We will be severely affected by rising sea levels caused by global warming. Unfortunately, we also have limited land resources. This makes it difficult for us to implement renewable energy solutions on a large scale. Nevertheless, we have pledged to achieve net zero by 2050. We have met our earlier CO2 reduction targets, for example since 2009, we have reduced our emissions by 32% below business as usual levels by 2020.

As part of our goal to reach net zero by 2050, we have started implementing the Singapore Green Plan 2030 which seeks to:

  • Plant one million more trees
  • Quadruple solar energy resources by 2025
  • Reduce waste sent to the landfill by 30%
  • 20% of schools to be carbon neutral by 2030
  • All newly registered cars to be cleaner-energy models by 2030
  • Phasing out of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040
  • 400 electric buses to be deployed in 2024
  • Half of all public buses to be electric by 2030
  • Transition away from fossil fuels to green hydrogen

Many countries and cities in the world, not just in the MENA region, will be affected by global warming and rising sea levels. We can all do our part by committing to a net zero target, implementing more renewable energy projects, increasing the deployment of electric vehicles, and transitioning to green hydrogen. For countries like Egypt, which has potential to be a leader in renewable energy deployment, you could use cheap electricity to desalinate sea water to green the desert on a large scale. This will help you to also address the problem of food shortages for the growing population. The growing of more trees will also help to reclaim more land from the desert over time.

Kampung Admiralty, designed by Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl and WOHA

Singapore has become the first country in the world to give regulatory approval for companies to manufacture lab-grown meat in Singapore. Unlike plant-based meat alternatives, lab-grown meat is real meat grown in a laboratory from animal stem cells. This is a more humane way of making meat as no animals are killed in the process. It also has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases, which is a huge by-product from rearing animals for meat. Also, land formerly used for animal rearing can be reallocated to other more efficient uses. This is not just good for the environment, it also makes good business sense – Singapore has since become a global hotspot for the alternative meat industry, with many startups flocking to Singapore to develop and launch their alternative meat products. For example, one American company, Eat Just, has opened the largest alternative meat processing plants in the world in Singapore with an investment of $100 million.

I have been personally interested in promoting sustainability and reduction in greenhouse gases as the future of the world depends upon it. I hope more countries can pledge their net zero targets and I hope COP28 will continue the momentum towards combating climate change.

This interview is part of the Yalla Healthy Living (YHL) series: CALL TO ACTION for COP 28: harnessing the groundswell of energy rising from the Middle East to bring health to people and the planet.
Website: Instagram: yallahealthyliving

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