The 21st Century has been dealing with a lot of crisis and the global climate calamity tops the list. The impact of the climate crisis is far-reaching, thus the necessity of conserving it is quite imperative. Countries and independent organisations across the globe have been taking marvellous steps to move ahead to build a climate-resilient future.

The Non-Aligned Movement, ever since its inception, has been working towards climate conservation and environmental protection. The health of the globe has been in the priority list of the organisation and its Member States. In the wake of augmenting threat posited as a result of the environmental challenges, the Non-Aligned Movement has been time and again urging its Member States to take steps that will pave a way towards a resilient future.

In lieu with the same spirit, Singapore organised a week-long series of ground-up initiatives starting August 15 and ending on August 21. The week long series in a phased and well-organised manner carried out initiatives and activities that paved way to raise awareness pertaining to long-term existential challenges the world at large is facing because of the unprecedented changes in the climatic structure of the world.

The event was organised by Singapore’s Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE). Initiated in the year 2019, this was the second edition of Climate Action Week. The Climate Action Week was initiated keeping in mind the success of the MSE’s Year of Climate Action campaign in 2018, which saw about 800 climate action-related events initiated and organised across Singapore.

The schedule for the week-long plan was designed keeping in mind the persistent problems of climate change in the country in particular and the world in general. It has been quite impressive as well as inspiring to note that the series of events which included webinars, panel discussions, workshops and even a virtual Youth4Climate concert by real estate giant City Developments Limited (CDL), have left a mark in the time when the world is dealing with unusual circumstances because of the coronavirus pandemic. In toto, about 30 initiatives were organised by 27 partners from the people, private and public (3P) sectors. The aim and motive behind the week-long events were to build expansive public awareness of key issues in sustainability and climate change. An online talk on urban farming by Ms Danielle Chan, an alumna of the National University of Singapore (NUS) who co-founded the urban farming company Citiponics, kick started the week-long event.

Going virtual in the times when social distancing has become the new normal, Singapore has set an example for several other countries worldwide to follow. The range and variance of the organising committee showcases the awareness and sense of responsibility among the people of Singapore. Not just governmental organisations but even private partners including coffee producer Nespresso and non-government organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore, Tzu Chi Foundation were in the team of organisers. Even schools and colleges of the country, like Commonwealth and Woodgrove secondary schools were not behind in showcasing their meritorious participation be it from the organising team to the participation team.

The COVID-19 crisis across the globe has taken precedence over other pressing issues, but it is quite essential to understand that no issues could enter the realm of negligence and despite the battle with the coronavirus pandemic is on, we cannot let other pressing issues like global warming and climate change subside. Sustainability requires the commitment of all and it is a long-term effort that requires urgent short-term steps to make any nation climate resilient. Every small and big step counts.

Climate change posits existential challenges not just for Singapore, but on a global scale. It is imperative to understand it, in lieu with the commitment towards our planet. Adaptability is central to mitigate the challenges pertaining to climate in particular and ecological challenges in general. Adaptability is another such essentiality one need to understand and in the very direction should take actions, bigger or smaller, it won’t matter. The global pandemic has offered us the opportunity to build a resilient and greener future by adopting greener recovery measures. The setback could be witnessed as an opportunity to reset the wrong that has been done to our environment in all these years because of which we have been facing such challenging times. What is even more praiseworthy is that Singapore has adopted a co-operative framework that allows several Ministries to merge their works or adopt compatibility as their key agenda.

Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, for example, has been looking at energy efficiency for some time, and has even introduced grant schemes to incentivise companies to take steps towards greater efficiency. The Ministry of Transport has committed to buying electric buses and installing charging infrastructure progressively over the next 10 years. The process helps in integrating efforts towards sustainability, as an organised framework is at the core of Singapore’s effort to mitigate the challenges positing our environment. The MSE said, “Galvanising a whole-of-nation effort will be a key determinant of Singapore’s success in mitigating and adapting to the challenges posed by climate change.” Climate Action Week embodies the oneness of the country when it comes to the betterment of the nation on a whole.

Not just Singapore but the neighbouring countries as well have been witnessing clearer indications of variations in climate and extreme weather in the past few years. Along with climate adaptability, Singapore has been taking steps to become resource and energy efficient. The Government of Singapore has taken several steps to prioritise environment and integrate efforts to solve the crisis that not only has short term impacts but even long-term repercussions. Sustainability is definitely at the heart of initiatives being taken by the Government of Singapore.

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