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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2015

Tan Yong Soon
Affiliation:
Cambridge University
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Summary

The idea for this book originated from my first day in the Ministry of the Environment on 1 January 2004. It was a dream job. Singapore has had a wonderful record in environment protection. The staff of the Ministry, including its two Statutory Boards, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and National Environment Agency (NEA), are passionate, competent, and professional. The job is also a constantly evolving one, as new environmental challenges such as climate change and sustainability issues continue to confront us. One never gets bored. And the work is rewarding, as we know that what we do will leave a lasting impact on future generations.

I wanted to produce a book to explain how Singapore came to choose the environmental path it did. Not just what we did, but how we made our calculations and reached our decisions. And through reflecting on the past, I wanted to synthesize the principles that would lead us forward into the future.

But like many good ideas, this book had a long gestation period. Over the years, I have become engrossed in my work. The Ministry was renamed the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) in August 2004 to better reflect its work, which is not just about environment, but also water resource management. At the time when I was discussing names with my Minister, other names being considered were “Ministry of Resource Conservation” and “Ministry of Environment Sustainability” as these were longer term challenges that we would have to grapple with. However, we eventually agreed to recommend the more straightforward name, as ideas such as resource conservation and environmental sustainability would not have resonated as well with the public until we could gain their understanding and buy-in on these issues.

As Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, I have included increasing the investment on environmental infrastructure as well as environmental ownership among my priorities because while it is critical to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place, it is only by actively involving people that we can hope to achieve the goal of resource conservation and environmental sustainability.

Type
Chapter
Information
Clean, Green and Blue
Singapore's Journey Towards Environmental and Water Sustainability
, pp. xii - xiv
Publisher: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
Print publication year: 2008

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