Singapore International Foundation launches first collaborative platform in Southeast Asia focusing on water-related climate adaptation

Singapore International Foundation launches first collaborative platform in Southeast Asia focusing on water-related climate adaptation

The Singapore International Foundation (SIF), in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, today launched a regional multi-stakeholder platform to address the critical challenges of climate change, with a focus on water-related issues.

The Southeast Asia Partnership for Adaptation through Water (SEAPAW) is the first platform in the region to focus on strengthening water resilience as an approach to climate change adaptation.

SEAPAW will galvanise action among stakeholders in support of a shared vision, fostering cross-border projects, and accelerating adaptation financing through public-private-philanthropic models. Stakeholders include knowledge partners, solution providers, financial institutions and philanthropies, as well as governments and policy makers.

SEAPAW will focus on growing the community and identifying projects in key areas of interest to drive climate resilience in Southeast Asia. It will also report on the region’s progress in water-related resilience goals and climate adaptation, which will help identify areas of need for further action.

SEAPAW was officially launched at a dialogue hosted by the SIF, the World Economic Forum and the Global Commission on the Economics of Water (GCEW). This event was held alongside the Singapore International Water Week 2024.

SEAPAW’s aims are in line with the GCEW’s call to collective action – to turn the tide and build a sustainable and equitable water future.

The President of the Republic of Singapore, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, was the Guest of Honour at the event. He is also the Patron of the SIF, Co-chair of the GCEW, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Board of Trustees.

President Tharman emphasised the need to manage demand for more efficient and sustainable water use in every sector in Southeast Asia, from rice-farming to advanced manufacturing, highlighting the region’s growing vulnerability to water scarcity and the impacts of climate change.

He said: “The good news is that the solutions for water are within reach. But they require bolder partnerships to spur investments in both new technologies and proven, economically viable solutions.”

He added: “SEAPAW draws on the SIF’s regional network and the World Economic Forum’s expertise in public-private cooperation, and can help promote these investments in water resilience for the benefit of the region and the world.”

Ms Neo Gim Huay, Managing Director, Centre for Nature and Climate, World Economic Forum, said: “A robust climate strategy must include a water strategy to strengthen business resilience and better secure lives and livelihoods. Ninety percent of extreme weather events are water related. If we can safeguard our water resources, we will also be better able to mitigate and recover from climate- related disasters. The World Economic Forum is glad to partner the Singapore International Foundation to strengthen regional efforts in adaptation and community resilience through water.”

Professor Khoo Teng Chye was announced as Chairperson of SEAPAW at the launch. He brings extensive experience in urban planning and environmental sustainability across the public and private sectors. He is currently the Director, NUS Cities and a practice professor with the College of Design and Engineering at the National University of Singapore. Professor Khoo also actively engages in international platforms and advisory committees, promoting best practices in urban sustainability.

He said: “The water crisis is deeply intertwined with climate change; and countries need to work together to resolve it. SEAPAW serves as a crucial foundation to mobilise stakeholders and leverage innovative policies to scale up water investments, access, resilience, and sustainability. As Chairperson of this pioneer platform in the region, I am committed to steer the discourse, and foster collaborations for a fair, inclusive, and climate resilient future.”

Organisations looking to explore partnership opportunities with SEAPAW, please contact or visit the SEAPAW webpage.

About the Singapore International Foundation

The Singapore International Foundation makes friends for a better world. We build enduring relationships between Singaporeans and world communities and harness these friendships to enrich lives and effect positive change. Our work is anchored in the belief that cross-cultural interactions provide insights that strengthen understanding. These exchanges inspire action and enable collaborations for good. Our programmes bring people together to share ideas, skills and experiences in areas such as culture, education, healthcare, sustainability, as well as youth development. We do this because we all can and should do our part to build a better world, one we envision as peaceful, inclusive, and offering opportunities for all. Find out more at


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