Speech by Acting Minister for Transport Mr Chee Hong Tat at the Global Sustainable Transport Forum (Beijing) Opening Plenary

25 Sep 2023Speeches
Ladies and Gentlemen 

1.     Climate change is a global challenge that requires a collective global effort, to not only protect our living environment for this generation, but also to leave behind a better future for our children and grandchildren. 

2.     As we reflect on this year’s theme on working together to promote global development in sustainable transport, I would like to share three principles that support this effort, all tied to an important theme – people ().

People-centricity (以人为本)

3.     The first principle is people-centricity (以人为本), where we seek to put people first. While transport is typically associated with technology and infrastructure, the transition to a sustainable transport system must be people-centric. 

4.     For example, we design our public transport system with convenience and accessibility in mind, especially for our seniors and persons with disabilities, so that our public transport is inclusive to all, and a preferred choice of commute for everyone. 

5.     We also invest in infrastructure such as park connectors, footpaths and cycling paths, to facilitate more active mobility, especially for the first and last mile connectivity in our communities.

Laying the groundwork for future generations to reap the benefits 

6.     The second principle is “前人种树,后人乘凉”, which means planting trees today, so that our future generations can enjoy the shade.  We plan long-term to be ready for the future.

7.     There are some sustainability projects that we can implement today that help to reduce carbon emissions, which also benefit companies by reducing costs, so they are good for business and good for the environment. 

8.     However, in many areas, there are currently no clear decarbonisation solutions that are commercially viable today, and we will need to start making long-term investments into emerging technologies now, such as the development of sustainable aviation fuel and new maritime fuels.

9.     While it will take time for these solutions to be adopted at scale, it is only with sustained investments now, that our future generations can enjoy the rewards.

Overcoming challenges through common determination (人心齐,泰山移)

10.    The third principle is that challenges may seem insurmountable, but they can be overcome through teamwork and united determination – or to borrow a Chinese phrase, “人心齐,泰山移”.  The transition to a sustainable transport sector may be challenging, but can be achieved if we work together. 

11.    Within Singapore, having unity is also through our tripartite partnership between the Government, employers and the unions, where we bring workers along the journey and ensure that no one is left behind. We must also equip our workers with the skills needed to meet new industry demands. 

12.    At the global level, while countries may have different interests in certain areas, we all need to work together to achieve our collective climate goals. This will require some give and take, and it will also require us to remember that we have more in common with one another than areas where we diverge. Collaboration and competition between countries can co-exist, and we need not be binary about choosing one or the other. There can be win-win cooperation even when we compete with one another.

13.    I am heartened to see that we have made significant progress at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the area of decarbonisation. Singapore will continue to support the leadership of the ICAO and the IMO in reducing international transport emissions.

14.    Another aspect of achieving sustainable transport development is strengthening connectivity and global supply chains. We believe in the need to promote a multilateral approach towards global trade and supply chain management. 


15.    In closing, I look forward to the upcoming discussions over the next two days. Our efforts are not just to benefit ourselves today, but to benefit the global community, and generations to come. 

16.    Thank you. 

You may also like