Opening Address by Minister Desmond Lee at the Tree-Planting Activity with AIA Singapore

Apr 28, 2021

A very good morning. I would like to thank AIA on this occasion of your 90th anniversary in Singapore, for choosing to mark this important occasion for you, your colleagues and their families with an emphasis on sustainability by planting trees and growing with Singapore. I am delighted to join you at Rower’s Bay this morning, to mark this occasion with you.

Transforming Singapore into a City in Nature is one of our major goals under the Singapore Green Plan. It is a very important plan, not just for us, but our children and grandchildren. The OneMillionTrees movement is a key pillar of this effort.

Under the OneMillionTrees movement, we are doubling the number of trees that we plant each and every year, over the course of ten years. It is an aggressive target. By 2030, we aim to plant one million more trees all across our island. The trees are being planted along our roads, in our neighbourhoods, parks, forests, nature reserves, and other green areas. Green veins will infuse our cityscape.

Apart from accentuating and adding character to our city, the trees provide many other benefits. They provide shade and cool the environment, improve air quality, and create habitats for our native biodiversity within our city. Trees sequester and store carbon on a long-term basis, to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

We ask everyone to support the OneMillionTrees movement. Come with your families, friends and colleagues. Let us intensify the greening of our city in partnership with our communities, stakeholders and corporate partners. Over the past year alone, thousands of Singaporeans have stepped up, and together we have planted more than 200,000 trees. We are well on our journey.

Today, I would like to thank AIA for your generous pledge of $5 million to the Garden City Fund, as part of AIA’s celebration of your 90 years in Singapore! This is the largest contribution by any organisation to the OneMillionTrees movement to date!

With this generous support, we will plant close to 16,700 trees over the next five years. This will help to intensify the greenery along our island-wide park connector routes like the Round Island Route and Coast-to-Coast Trail. It will provide lush green corridors that link communities, strengthen ecological connectivity between our green spaces, and enable park users to get closer to nature along these routes. 

To mark this new partnership, we will join you gladly to plant 90 trees here at Rower’s Bay. Located at Lower Seletar Reservoir, Rower’s Bay is a popular destination for picnics, water sports and scenic views of the sunset. It also forms part of the first phase of the 150-km Round Island Route, which will link parks around Singapore together. When the Round Island Route is completed, Singaporeans will be able to cycle from here, all the way to Gardens by the Bay, through Punggol, Pasir Ris, Changi and East Coast Park.

The 90 trees that we are planting here today will add to the greenery and vibrance of Rower’s Bay, and strengthen ecological resilience. In particular, the tree species that we are planting, such as the Penggu and Powder-Puff Tree, provide food for wildlife such as hornbills and sunbirds. These tree species are also critically endangered native species that we seek to protect.

Transforming Singapore into a City in Nature is painstaking work, and we will not be able to achieve this without your strong support.

AIA has another ten years until its centenary, which I have no doubt will be marked with lots of celebration and commemoration. I hope that our friends from AIA will grow and journey as our trees grow tall and provide shade for future generations. On the 100th year, we too hope to continue this sustainability journey with all of you.

I wish all our friends at AIA, a happy 90th anniversary and many more to come! Thank you.