Finding best ways to balance urban growth and viable environment

National 1 minute, 59 seconds

SINGAPORE

THE burgeoning number of urban dwellers around the world is expected to exceed more than half of global population by the end of the year, necessitating more sustainable development and management of urban areas.

To heed that call and to cater to the needs of the city dwellers, government and industry leaders are meeting in Singapore to discuss how best to develop urban areas and manage resources sustainably.

More than 5,000 delegates from about 70 countries are convening in the city-state for the joint conferences — the Singapore International Water Week, the World Cities Summit and the East Asia Summit Conference on Liveable Cities.

The conferences were jointly launched yesterday by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Among those present at the launch were Brunei's ministers of home affairs and development, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Hj Mohd Yussof and Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Begawan Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, respectively.

In his keynote address, the premier pointed out good governance and an optimal balance between economic progress, environmental protection and good quality of life for city residents in planning as key aspects to tackling the challenges of sustainable urban development.

He also listed several goals of all cities in sustainable living — clean air and water, healthy living environment and efficient use of resources, among others - which he noted require a holistic approach integrated with sound urban policies in order to be achieved.

"Governments can achieve much by holistic, long-term planning, pricing and managing resources properly, enforcing standards and planning norms, and thus guiding the development of cities without straitjacketing them," he said.

While there is no universal solution to meeting the challenge of building sustainable cities, city planners and entrepreneurs can learn from one another to tackle the issue.

"It is with this in mind that the theme for Singapore International Water Week is 'Sustainable Water Solution for cities' and the theme for the World Cities Summit is 'Liveable and Vibrant Cities'," said Singapore Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim in his welcoming address.

The conferences continue today with with further sessions, including one featuring Deputy Minister of Industry and Primary resources Dato Paduka Hj Hamdillah Hj Abd Wahab, titled "Sustainable Development: The Way Forward". The Brunei Times