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Greening after Glasgow: Southeast Asia must come together as a “Climate Community” to press forward on climate action

06 Dec Greening after Glasgow: Southeast Asia must come together as a “Climate Community” to press forward on climate action

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Greening after Glasgow: Southeast Asia must come together
as a “Climate Community” to press forward on climate action
The public and private sectors should strengthen synergies on carbon pricing and create a
robust carbon market to balance decarbonisation and development goals.
 

Singapore, 6 December 2021 – Southeast Asia, and the rest of the world, will need to work together to build on the momentum for climate action after the recently concluded 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). This was the key takeaway from ‘Greening after Glasgow: How should the private sector respond?’, a virtual event organised by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Singapore on 29 November 2021.

In his keynote speech, Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth and Ministry of Trade & Industry, Singapore said, “To address the impact of climate change, we all need to do our part. Our commitments must also be accompanied by concrete actions. Beyond the outcomes reached by the international community at COP26, we should harness the strengths and capabilities of the various stakeholders, including those in the private sector. Singapore is committed to continue working with likeminded partners to accelerate global climate action and making a real difference in our fight against climate change.”

Panellists from Neste, the European Roundtable on Climate Change and Sustainable Transition, the National Climate Change Secretariat, Singapore, and the Hinrich Foundation discussed opportunities for the private sector and governments to strengthen cooperation post-COP26, to meet global expectations for climate action.

“All ASEAN member states have common climate change concerns, but some can and must play a bigger role. For ASEAN to advance climate change together, the principle of common and differentiated responsibilities must apply,” said Associate Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, SIIA.

He added, “Through an ASEAN “climate community”, we could strengthen collective action to address both climate and development issues, as well as meet new challenges triggered by the pandemic.”

This message was also emphasised in the SIIA’s latest report, ‘Greening the Road Ahead: Building a Collective ASEAN Climate Community’. The report, also presented at the event, focuses on climate action strategies in ASEAN, and outlines some key areas for cooperation to decarbonise the overall economy while addressing development priorities. These include:

  • Strengthening carbon pricing to accelerate low-carbon activities;
  • Harmonising carbon policies to reduce carbon leakage from inter- and intra-regional trade;
  • Building robust markets for verifiable and high-quality carbon credits; and
  • Working with local communities to scale nature-based solutions with climate and other co-benefits.

 

The report, which can be downloaded here, was sponsored by the Hinrich Foundation and OCBC Bank.

Speaking about carbon pricing, Ms Meixi Gan, Deputy Director (Sustainability), SIIA, said, “It is encouraging to see several ASEAN governments moving towards carbon pricing. Carbon pricing is a valuable tool for the region to remain competitive in trade in a greener global economy, and it will support a liquid carbon market.”

“Trade policy can play an important role in addressing climate change. The Hinrich Foundation supports efforts to decarbonise that encourage sustainability – for environmental health and for trade, including for developing countries,” said Mr. Merle Hinrich, Chairman of the Hinrich Foundation.

Mr Linus Goh, Head of Global Commercial Banking, OCBC Bank, said, “SMEs are key to the decarbonisation drive in Southeast Asia. Accounting for over 95 per cent of the region’s enterprises and nearly 70 per cent of the workforce, SMEs are an essential part of industries and supply chains that urgently need support to transition to meet sustainability and climate change goals. Financial institutions such as OCBC Bank need to play the role of catalyst, to help SMEs and their ecosystems prioritise sustainability and to finance their green and sustainability linked initiatives to accelerate the change.”

***

Media Contact

Siti Bazilah
Senior Executive (Policy & Media), Sustainability
Email: [email protected]

About the Singapore Institute of International Affairs

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Established in 1962, the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) is a non-profit and independent think tank committed to producing policy analysis, fostering in-depth dialogues and bridging gaps between policymakers, private sector decision-makers and experts to shape public policy and social responses. Centred around ASEAN focused themes, the institute aims to deliver policy analysis in international affairs and on issues driving environmental sustainability. The SIIA has been consistently ranked as one of the leading think tanks in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, in the Global Go To Think Tank Index by the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2017, the SIIA was ranked the No. 1 independent think tank in Asia. It was also recognised as one of the top 50 think tanks globally, excluding the United States of America. For two consecutive years since 2019, it was recognised as the No. 1 think tank in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific (excluding India). In 2020, it was also recognised as one of the think tanks with the best policy and institutional response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the SIIA’s Sustainability Programme

The SIIA’s Sustainability Programme was established in 1997 when it organised Singapore’s first haze dialogue with the Singapore Environment Council. Since then, the Sustainability Programme has evolved to address a range of sustainability issues ASEAN faces. The Programme continues to focus on the haze and resource sector, as well as using green finance and carbon financing as levers to advance supply chain sustainability and drive Southeast Asia’s “green recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of its Sustainability Programme, the SIIA facilitates dialogues between governments, private sector, academia and NGOs. One of the SIIA’s key platforms is its flagship event, the Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources (SDSWR), launched in 2014. The annual event attracts about 300 high-level participants to discuss best practices, new commitments and noteworthy cross-sector collaborations in ASEAN’s resource sector, to prevent and mitigate the recurrence of transboundary haze. A key research output by the Institute is the SIIA Haze Outlook report. Launched in 2019, the report serves as a risk assessment and predictive tool for countries in the region to determine the likelihood of a severe transboundary haze incident. In 2020, the SIIA released the report “ESG in Practice: A Closer Look at Sustainability in ASEAN’s Palm Oil and Pulpwood Sectors”, providing recommendations to align agribusiness and forestry stakeholders on environmental, social, and governance factors towards a long-term vision of sustainable production.