SINGAPORE, July 9 (Xinhua) — Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Monday called on countries and cities, the public and private sectors, and the community and civil society to learn from each other, so as to develop innovative and cohesive urban communities.
The Deputy Prime Minister made the speech at the joint opening ceremony of the World Cities Summit, the Singapore International Water Week and the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore, which he said are brought together by the Urban Sustainability Week 2018.
He said the world would face growing and more complex challenge in the next 15 years, which was related to the way that different risks are coming together and compounding each other. These risks include poorly managed urbanization, climate change, infectious disease threats, growing young populations that are ill-equipped for the future of work, and unequal rather than inclusive growth in many societies.
“They are each major risks in their own right, but they are coming together and interlocking with each other, which is why the challenge has become much larger than before,” he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the challenge was most severe in the developing world, but if the problems were not tackled effectively in any one part of the world, they would inevitably spill over into the global environment, through the spread of infectious diseases, forced migration or the spread of conflict and insecurity. Thus, all countries need to contribute to innovations and solutions that could be applied to solving problems elsewhere.
“Whether our countries are poor, rich or middle income, there is immense opportunity to learn from each other, to ensure a more sustainable environment, effective investments in human capital, and urban planning that encourages cohesive rather than segregated communities,” Shanmugaratnam said.
He added that the countries had to take innovations from every source, from scientists, governments both federal and local, private enterprise, as well as non-governmental organizations, and other civil society organizations, and find ways to multiply every workable innovation and adapt them to different local conditions.