Remarks by SMS Tan Kiat How at the NParks-SSA MoU Signing and #YourVoice Fireside Chat

Jun 18, 2022

A very good morning to everyone. I’m happy to join all of you this morning at the Youth Leadership Fireside Chat.

I would like to start off by thanking the team from the Singapore Scout Association, or SSA, for organising this event, and for their strong support in our nature conservation and sustainability efforts over the years.

We hope to continue this close partnership, with the signing of the MOU between NParks and the SSA today. As a small city-state only 728 sq km in size, Singapore faces intense land-use challenges.

And we also face the pressing concern of climate change, which is an existential threat for us – as well as our flora and fauna. This is why we launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030 to pursue sustainable development, and to do our part to combat climate change.  

One of the key pillars of the Green Plan is to transform Singapore into a City in Nature. We are weaving nature much more closely into our urban fabric, so that nature thrives within our city. This is an important part of our efforts to balance between our developmental needs and nature conservation.   

Today, I’d like to share a bit more about what we’re doing to achieve this vision – How we’re working with our partners and the community to conserve our biodiversity; And, how we’re engaging more Singaporeans – including youths – to join us in our greening journey.

City in Nature

We take a comprehensive science-based approach to nature conservation. To achieve this, we seek to conserve our core biodiversity areas, so that flora and fauna can thrive across our island. We’re adding more nature parks, which can serve as ecological buffers for our core nature areas. In some cases, we’ve done this by retaining our green spaces that were intended to be developed for other purposes, such as Dairy Farm Nature Park and Rifle Range Nature Park. These spaces were supposed to be used for housing.

We also continuously strengthen our research capabilities and partnerships, to help us better conserve our native biodiversity, even as we strive to meet our development needs. Last year, we embarked on an island-wide Ecological Profiling Exercise, or EPE, together with experts and members of the nature community, to map the ecological profile of our green and blue spaces. Based on its findings, we will be creating more ecological corridors between our core nature areas, to strengthen the connectivity between these spaces.

For example, we launched the new Khatib Nature Corridor just last week, to strengthen the ecological connectivity between the Central Catchment Nature Reserve – which is the green gem in the heart of our city, and Khatib Bongsu Nature Park, when it is completed.

Through these efforts, we can not only better connect our green spaces for animals like birds and butterflies, but also beautify our city, provide shade, cool our surroundings, and improve our air quality. In the process, we can make Singapore more sustainable and liveable, for Singaporeans today and for generations to come.

Community Partnership and Engagement

Our City in Nature efforts cannot be achieved by the Government alone. This is why we work closely with our partners, such as the SSA, as well as the community, in taking care of our environment.

We also need the energy, creativity, and leadership of young people like yourselves, who will in time take on the mantle of nature conservation, and bring our planet toward a better, more sustainable future.

Partners like the SSA are key in helping to raise awareness on the importance of safeguarding our natural heritage, and our role in protecting our planet’s biodiversity. They are an effective and important way to reach out to more young Singaporeans on the value of conservation, to grow our community of stewards. For example, it was through the valuable feedback provided by scouts from the SSA, that helped us improve how Singaporeans would experience the Coast-to-Coast Central Trail, before its launch in 2019.

At the same time, we will continue to step up our outreach and engagement efforts. In April, we launched the Green Actions for Communities (GAC) movement, to bring the Green Plan to the ground, and encourage Singaporeans to take action for sustainability in their daily lives.

We have heard many good ideas from the community thus far – doing more composting, planting edibles at home, reducing waste and electrical consumption, and so on. And, we will continue to work with our residents, to further engage with and mobilise others – family, friends, neighbours, and their community – to turn their ideas into action for sustainability.

We will also involve even more young Singaporeans in our journey to transform Singapore into a City in Nature. For example, two years ago, we launched the Youth Stewards for Nature programme, to provide more opportunities for youths who are passionate about the environment to embark on conservation and horticultural projects, under the guidance of experienced mentors.

Today, we have over 150 Youth Stewards for Nature working on 23 exciting and diverse projects, from raising public awareness of our native wildlife, to strengthening our efforts in biodiversity conservation.


I hope that all of you too, will step forward, and contribute to nature conservation in your own capacity – it is never too early to start.

If you are interested to find out more about our local biodiversity, and how you can get involved in our conservation efforts. Do join us for our citizen science programmes, biodiversity conservation surveys, and other biodiversity-related initiatives, under NParks’ Community in Nature programme. You can also write in to us, or to NParks at any time, to get involved in the GAC movement.

I look forward to hearing your views during the sharing later, and how we can work together to achieve our City in Nature vision.

Thank you.