Speech by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean at Singapore Day at Expo 2020 Dubai on 22 January 2022.
“A Strong Partnership for a More Sustainable Future”
Your Highness Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan,
Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence of the United Arab Emirates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. It is my pleasure to be here today to celebrate Singapore Day at Expo 2020 Dubai.
I would like to begin by congratulating the UAE. Organising a World Expo is no mean feat in the best of times, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic. Walking around the Expo today, I feel a vibrancy and buzz that our world has missed these past two years. The success of Expo 2020 Dubai, the first in the Middle East, is a testament to the hard work and determination of the UAE, its people and everyone involved.
The theme of Expo 2020 Dubai, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, resonates strongly as the world continues to learn how to live with COVID-19. It is inspiring and aspiring. It serves as a reminder that global challenges such as pandemics and climate change can only be resolved when we are able to work together to pursue enlightened self-interest to create a better world for all of us. In this age of complexity and disruption, it is even more important that we cooperate and learn from each other. Expo 2020 Dubai has served as an invaluable platform for countries to share ideas and exchange experiences.
As small states and hubs in our respective regions, Singapore and the UAE share common outlooks and challenges, and can work together for mutual benefit. The Singapore-UAE Comprehensive Partnership (SUCP) provides a useful framework to strengthen bilateral cooperation. This was signed during the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Singapore in 2019. With the UAE leadership’s support, particularly of His Highness, our relations have continued to grow from strength to strength. The UAE remains Singapore’s largest trading partner and investment destination in the Middle East. We also share strong people-to-people ties, with the UAE hosting the largest number of Singaporeans in this region.
But the story of Singapore and the UAE goes beyond just numbers. Our two countries are both strong advocates of creating a more sustainable future. This is an ethos that both our countries have imbibed from our founding fathers. His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late founding President of the UAE, was said to have described the environment as an integral part of the UAE’s history and heritage. In Singapore, our commitment towards a green environment started in the 1960s thanks to the vision of our founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, way before words like “sustainability” and “climate change” entered our lexicon. It is fitting then that we will be unveiling the Dendrobium Expo 2020 Dubai orchid today, to mark not just the flourishing ties between our two countries, but also our shared love and respect for nature.
Our Singapore Pavilion represents these values and aspirations. The Pavilion’s design embodies Singapore’s sustainable development journey. We hope that it can provide a useful place for conversations and exchanges for useful ideas for cities, especially those with similar resource and size constraints.
With the theme of “Nature. Nurture. Future.”, the Singapore Pavilion exemplifies Singapore’s vision of becoming a “City in Nature” and creating a more liveable and sustainable urban environment by integrating nature, architecture and technology. Powered by solar energy and drawing on ground water which is desalinated on-site though reverse osmosis, the Singapore Pavilion is designed to be a self-sufficient ecosystem with a net-zero energy target for the six-month duration of the Expo.
We are honoured to have welcomed His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and several other distinguished UAE leaders to our Pavilion in the past three months. We welcome more of our friends in the UAE and from around the world to visit the Singapore Pavilion, and I hope that visitors will enjoy the lush greenery and tranquility.
Let me wish the UAE, which celebrated its 50th National Day just a month ago, a prosperous and vibrant future. The UAE has made enormous strides since its founding and stands today as a beacon of innovation and progress. Singapore is proud to walk with the UAE on the journey towards a more peaceful and sustainable tomorrow.
Shukran and I wish you a pleasant day.
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