The Singapore Environment Council (SEC) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan. This collaboration – which marks SEC’s first ever with an overseas government-linked environmental organisation – will witness the sharing of best practices aimed at addressing issues pertaining to conservation, effective use of natural resources and the provision of ecological safety at the national, regional and international levels.
The ceremony was witnessed by Singapore’s Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Singapore’s Ambassador to Uzbekistan Mr Zulkifli Baharudin and Uzbekistan’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Usmanov Arifbekovich.
Speaking on the occasion of the signing ceremony held at the reception house of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, Deputy Chairman of the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan Mr Sayedrasul Sanginov said: “We view this partnership as a vital building block towards developing a solution to Uzbekistan’s pressing environmental challenges; a solution we hope will eventually result in positive action and change. Over the years, SEC has given strength and bearing to the environmental movement in Singapore by reaching out to the public through its educational, community and industrial arms. We look forward to embarking on this momentous journey together.”
The MOU will set the framework for collaboration in the development of a unified vision of ecological safety in the international arena, sharing of information and research on issues such as improving air and water quality as well as the implementation of joint projects in a bid to mitigate the negative impact of human activities on the environment.
SEC’s Executive Director Mr Jose Raymond, who represented the Council at the signing ceremony, said: “This partnership is a key development in facilitating the Council’s expanding role in driving sustainable business practices. By bringing together expertise on best environmental and business practices, this strategic partnership between SEC and the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan will aid us in our pursuit of environmental excellence as the largest environmental non-government organisation in Singapore, thereby enhancing Singapore’s position as a ‘green dot’ in the business world.”
This partnership is the brainchild of an international roundtable meeting held in Tashkent in December 2011, which focused on the current problems in the area of environmental safety and health protection, as well as the role of civil society institutions in solving them. Among the problems discussed was the Aral Sea crisis, which poses critical social and economic implications.
The Aral – previously one of the world’s largest bodies of inland water – experienced a rapid reduction in water volume due to the massive water demand created by Uzbekistan’s irrigated cotton fields. This resulted in a corresponding increase in water salinity, deterioration of water quality and consequently, deterioration in population health due to effects on the gene pool. Land productivity has also been reduced as the water used for irrigation comprises a much higher salinity.
“This is a problem with serious social and economic implications, to which all Central Asian states are connected directly or indirectly. A key priority in helping us tackle this problem is to enhance our relationship with international organisations like the SEC,” added Mr Sanginov.
The MOU also seeks to develop bilateral relations and strengthen collaboration between the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan and Singapore Environment Council. The SEC will work with the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan to share best practices and programmes which have been successfully implemented in Singapore to recognise environmental excellence.
These include the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and announced regional expansion plans. The School’s Green Audit Awards, launched 12 years ago, promotes environmental values among young school children through a simple environmental audit programme. The SEC also aims to cultivate green heartware among Singaporean office employees through Project: Eco-Office, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Under the agreement, cooperation between the SEC and Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan will also include the following:
- Promoting collaboration to study and address regional as well as global ecological issues related to conservation and the effective use of natural resources with the aim to ensure ecological safety;
- Improving mechanisms of implementation of public ecological control in the area of environment protection and sustainable use of nature;
- Promoting further collaboration on improvement of environment and public health in ecological distress zones;
- Protecting diversity and managing biological resources;
- Protecting natural habitat and developing protected areas;
- Promoting the use of environmentally sound renewable energy sources;
“For past 17 years, the SEC has been striving to bring the message of environmental protection to a larger audience. This year was a breakthrough as a few of our projects - namely the Asian Environmental Journalism Awards, Singapore Green Labelling Scheme and the Singapore Environmental Achievement Awards - have managed to secure an international footprint. This partnership with the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan represents yet another accomplishment under our belt,” added Mr Raymond.
About the Singapore Environment Council
Established in 1995, the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) is an independently managed, non-government organisation that nurtures, facilitates and co-ordinates environmental causes in Singapore. SEC’s work is founded on three pillars of action – Firstly, partnership with the people, private and public sectors of Singaporean society, to nurture a culture aligned with sustainable development concepts. Secondly, SEC rewards environmental excellence through awards schemes and product endorsement programmes, such as the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme. Thirdly, the SEC collaborates with partners to develop and implement training and learning programmes to build competencies in environmental sustainability within companies, thus keeping our business leaders ahead of the curve. Visit our website at www.sec.org.sg.
About the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan
The Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan was created on August 2, 2008 and registered by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan on September 20, 2008. The main slogan of the Movement is “The healthy environment - the healthy person”. It aims to raise the responsibility of central and local authorities, various public and other structures for unconditional performance of laws and other governmental decisions concerning environmental protection, rational use of natural resources and funds directed to these purposes.
The Movement aims to:
- Increase public participation in protection of environment and improvement of ecological conditions;
- Assistance to the further perfection and development of the legislation concerning protection of the environment;
- Increase of ecological culture of the population, development of system of ecological upbringing and education;
- Development of international cooperation regarding the protection of the environment;
- Coordination of activity of non-governmental and non-commercial organizations.
For more information, please contact:
Senior Communications Executive
Singapore Environment Council
Tel: (65) 6433 5388
Mobile: (65) 9786 3091