For Singapore, sustainable development means achieving both a more dynamic economy and a better quality living environment, for Singaporeans now and in the future.
We need the economy to grow. This creates jobs, raises our standard of living, and yields the resources that we need to safeguard our environment. But we must grow in a sustainable way, or else a high GDP per capita will be achieved at the expense of our overall quality of life, and cannot be maintained over the longer term. Protecting our environment safeguards a high standard of public health for our people, and makes our city attractive to Singaporeans and foreigners alike.
We have to achieve these twin economic and environmental objectives in a balanced way.
The world now faces a major economic crisis. But this should not cause us to lose sight of the long-term need to pursue these twin objectives. Indeed, the crisis presents us with both the challenge and opportunity to boost our resource efficiency. If we succeed, we would have helped to secure our future, by making our economy leaner and more competitive when the global economy recovers.
We will keep to our “Singapore Way” of pursuing long-term economic growth and environmental sustainability, by upholding the following principles:
- Long-Term, Integrated Planning: We will align our policies - from energy to transport to industry and urban planning - and take a long-term and complete view of our needs and circumstances. Indeed, this ability to plan and act in unison towards the overall goal of sustainable growth is one of our key strengths.
- Pragmatic and Cost-Effective Manner: We have to secure our twin goals of promoting economic growth and a good environment in the most cost-effective way. We must constantly ask ourselves “what works”, and we will not shy away from long-term measures that are necessary, even if they entail short-term costs. But we will pace the implementation of these measures and provide help to temper and soften the short-term costs for businesses and individuals.
- Flexibility: The challenges to maintain economic growth and a good environment will span many decades. We therefore have to remain nimble, and adjust flexibly to changes in technology and in the global environment. We will invest in building our capabilities today to give us more options to better respond to the challenges of tomorrow.