Singapore remains committed to support and share its expertise and experience especially in the field of urban planning, town planning and master planning with a focus on water and drainage, a top official said.
Temasek Foundation, Chief Executive Officer Benedict Cheong, speaking exclusively to The Island Financial Review on the sidelines of an event to mark the partnership of the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE), Temasek Foundation (TF), Singapore, and the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), together with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage (MoUDWSD), said with its experience of nearly 50 years, Singapore could offer much in the field of town planning and urban development.
This partnership will enhance the Sri Lanka government officials’ capabilities to support the government’s effort in developing an integrated master plan and promoting sustainable urban governance principles in Housing Design and Community Building, Master Plan Review & Government Land Sales and Water Infrastructure and Greening.
The TF CEO said that Singapore can share and also learn from Sri Lanka, it is not a one sided process but a two-sided process. However, he stressed no community or country should copy each other.
The partnership on an urban planning and governance capacity building programme in Sri Lanka is a two-year programme supported by Temasek Foundation with a grant of S$430,068 and equally contributed by the ministry especially in logistics etc.
Benedict Cheong added: “Urban management is a challenge that many countries in Asia face today, with cities growing at a very fast pace. We hope this training will be useful in encouraging knowledge sharing between public officials from Singapore and Sri Lanka, and foster networks of cooperation between both countries.”
Urban Development, Water Supply and Drainage Minister Rauff Hakeem commenced his presentation admiring the initiatives of first Prime Minister, founding father of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, stressing no other leader in the recent past had got the admiration, citing how people, including Sri Lankans, mourned following his death.
Hakeem said that it was a common practice in parliament to quote Lee Kuan Yew that one day he wanted Singapore to be like Colombo.
He said: “The need for disciplined, long-term master planning has become critical for Sri Lanka’s urban sector. It is the sharing of ideas, solutions and innovations that help cities level up on each other’s experiences. We are very thankful to Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, Temasek Foundation and Centre for Liveable Cities for offering the Sri Lankan government valuable insights from Singapore’s development model through this capacity building program. Sri Lankan urban sector officials have much to learn from the best practices of Singapore’s development experience”.
Hakeem said that the development and management of infrastructure is a vital step towards sustainable living, and the Sri Lankan government has placed high priority on the redevelopment of its urban infrastructure in the capital city of Colombo as well as surrounding Galle and Kandy cities.
It is in this context that MoUDWSD approached SCE to share Singapore’s lessons, experiences and best practices in urban development from a wholly government perspective, he added.
Julian Goh, Director for Capability Development, at the Centre for Liveable Cities, said: “At its 50th year of independence, Singapore has built a reputation for being a sustainable and liveable city. But it has not been an easy journey. Through our research at the Centre for Liveable Cities, we have captured the knowledge and principles of Singapore’s urban development story and are happy to share our lessons learnt, with our counterparts and friends from Sri Lanka.”