Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today praised Singapore’s response to natural disasters as well as it policies on sustainable development and added that the country’s participation and experience vital for the international community.
Mr. Ban stressed that the lessons learned by Singapore and other countries in the region on issues such as natural disasters can also be applied for human protection in other regions and under different circumstances. He was delivering the inaugural Fullerton Lecture at a special event of Singapore’s International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“In a larger sense, when it comes to enhancing human protection, I believe there are many lessons to learn from this region,” Mr. Ban said. “Clearly disaster preparedness and early warning systems make a difference. They require national capacity building plus regional and global collaboration to meet a common threat.
“To meet the needs of each population and each country in the region, leaders of sovereign states chose to work together on a common plan rather than going it alone. That is practical sovereignty at work. We must apply these lessons on meeting natural disasters to cases of man-made disaster,” he said, adding that the same multilateral warning systems could be applied to prevent human mass atrocities and violence.
“Violence – like water – comes in waves. Here too, early warning and assessment are essential,” he said.
Mr. Ban also congratulated Singapore for its efforts to implement sustainable development policies and encouraged it to engage in the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, in Brazil in June.
“As a densely populated small island, you have sh2own leadership on issues of climate change and sustainable development,” Mr. Ban said, adding that to be able to obtain lasting peace and development, the country would need to forge partnerships with other to achieve the same goals.
“In the next twenty years, the world will need at least 50 per cent more food, 45 per cent more energy, and 30 per cent more water. To address these challenges, we need to think and act in an integrated way.”
During his visit, Mr. Ban met President Tony Tan Keng Yam, with whom he discussed cooperation between the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as Myanmar, nuclear security and Rio+20. The Secretary-General also held meetings Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong and Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam, covering regional and international matters.