Singapore, New Zealand to collaborate on climate change and green economy: Prime Ministers

·3 min read
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) meets with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in Singapore.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) meets with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in Singapore. (PHOTO: Then Chih-Wey/Pool via Reuters)

SINGAPORE — Singapore and New Zealand will be working more closely on the green economy as well as climate change, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during a joint media conference with the visiting New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday (19 April).

The two PMs announced at the Istana the establishment of a new pillar on the two issues under the enhanced partnership between the two countries, which was set up during PM Ardern's last visit in 2019.

The other four pillars are trade and economics; security and defence; science, technology and innovation; and people-to-people links.

Cooperation under this new pillar will include initiatives on energy transition technology, carbon markets, sustainable transport and waste management as a start. Initiatives on sustainable aviation, business collaboration and supply-chain resilience have also been established.

Singapore and New Zealand will also establish a regular climate change policy dialogue between officials of both sides.

PM Ardern on first overseas visit since start of COVID-19 pandemic

PM Ardern had arrived in Singapore on Monday for a three-day official visit, in her first overseas visit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

She received a ceremonial welcome at the Istana on Tuesday morning, and had a new orchid hybrid named in her honour - the Dendrobium Jacinda Ardern.

Before meeting PM Lee, she called on President Halimah Yacob, and both of them noted on the strong COVID-19 cooperation between the two countries. They also spoke on the contributions and progress of women, as well as the importance of maintaining social cohesion in multi-cultural societies among Singapore and New Zealand.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with Singapore's President Halimah Yacob at the Istana in Singapore
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with Singapore's President Halimah Yacob at the Istana in Singapore. (PHOTO: Then Chih-Wey/Pool via Reuters)

In their meeting, PM Lee and PM Ardern welcomed the reopening of borders between the two countries as an important step towards living with COVID-19, and critical in restoring the people-to-people and business links between the two countries and the rest of the world.

Singapore had launched its Vaccinated Travel Framework for quarantine-free travel for fully-vaccinated people on 1 April. Meanwhile, New Zealand will be reopening its borders to visa-free countries, including Singapore, from 1 May.

The Prime Ministers welcomed a new Working Holiday Scheme to allow young Singaporeans and New Zealanders to travel and work in each other’s country each year.

Both leaders also strongly condemned the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and called on all parties to facilitate unhindered humanitarian assistance to those in need in Ukraine. They agreed that actions by Russia are a flagrant violation of fundamental principles of international law and risk long-term global instability, and called on all parties to protect civilians and respect human rights.

The PMs shared their deep concerns regarding the situation in Myanmar following the 2021 military coup, and reiterated their support for multilateral and United Nations (UN) engagement on Myanmar. Both agreed on the importance of international law and the principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

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