Transcript of Intervention by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Session III "One Future" at the G20 New Delhi Summit on 10 September 2023.
Thank you, Prime Minister Modi.
May I begin by expressing my sympathies for the victims of the earthquake in Morocco.
Multilateralism is under pressure.
But despite this, countries are still able to make progress and we should continue striving. For example, this year in March, countries concluded a new agreement under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. It gives us reason for cautious optimism; that while weakened, multilateralism is yet alive.
With leadership and will, we can address today’s challenges.
One priority is to refresh the mandates and rules of existing multilateral institutions. This have been the foundation for growth and development over the last seven decades.
Let me give two specific examples:
First, we need to sustain the rules-based multilateral trading system as embodied by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The WTO remains the best guarantor of common growth, as well as effective and resilient supply chains.
But the WTO rules need to keep pace with digital transformation and remain relevant for the modern economy. They also need to help bolster our collective food and energy security and the WTO is actively working at the Ministerial conferences.
We therefore urge the G20 to provide a strong impetus to advance negotiations on WTO reform, in particular, to restore a fully-functioning dispute settlement system as soon as possible.
Second, we need to reform the international financial architecture to support sustainable development and to protect the Global Commons.
Singapore strongly supports the Indian Presidency’s efforts to study the reforms of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). We look forward to receiving Volume 2 of the report by the G20 Independent Expert Group on Strengthening MDBs next month.
The urgency and scale of the financing needs are tremendous.
We need to encourage MDBs to make better and more efficient use of their balance sheets to carry out their mandates.
In addition, we need innovative ways to scale up and mobilise development funding from the private sector to complement and amplify public funds.
We will need all hands on deck.
The G20’s leadership in reinvigorating multilateralism is urgently needed to respond to the development challenges. Singapore will do our best to contribute our part, both individually and collectively, as we have always done.
We thank India for inviting us to this conference. I congratulate you on a very successful presidency. And we wish Brazil every success in his presidency next year.
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