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Voluntary National Review 2018


As a small island city-state with limited land and no natural resources, Singapore appreciates well the challenges of sustainable development. This is why our policies have always been designed with sustainability in mind in order to achieve our vision of a clean, green and sustainable Singapore in which our people and future generations can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our first Voluntary National Review (VNR) takes stock of the policies we have enacted since independence and assesses their contribution to Singapore’s sustainable development within the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The VNR also examines areas where our policies may be lacking and how we could overcome them to better achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Inter-Ministry Committee on SDGs, co-chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, consulted all relevant government agencies and stakeholders, including businesses, youth organisations and civil society, in order to obtain an accurate and holistic picture of Singapore’s progress on sustainable development. While we sought to use the Global Indicator Framework to assess our implementation of the 2030 Agenda, we found that some of the targets and indicators either did not apply to our context or we lacked data for them. In this regard, we used proxies where appropriate. We also used international rankings and indices to gain an independent perspective of our progress vis-à-vis other countries.

We assessed that our approach of integrating sustainability directly in our policy process has worked well for us overall. Through the VNR process, we found many bright spots, or areas where our efforts have paid off, in our sustainable development journey so far. These include securing access to affordable and high quality potable water for all Singaporeans and ensuring accessible and good quality education for our children. At the same time, the VNR allowed us to identify and reflect on several challenges and constraints we face, such as our ageing demographic. We were also able to identify opportunities that may arise to overcome these challenges.

Looking ahead, we must be resilient and innovative to seize these opportunities. We have put in place key policies such as our SkillsFuture and Smart Nation initiatives to prepare our nation for these challenges. To this end, the principles that have guided Singapore in the past, such as our forward-looking, long-term approach to sustainable development and our resolve to take tough decisions that are necessary for our development, will continue to serve us well.

An important takeaway from the VNR process has been that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving the SDGs. Countries should be free to pursue the SDGs in the manner they choose, taking into account their national priorities and circumstances. At the same time, Singapore recognises that there is much that countries can learn from one another in our common pursuit of sustainable development. We ourselves have benefited and continue to benefit from the generous sharing by others of their own development experiences. We are thus committed to strengthening the global partnership for sustainable development, including through our technical assistance initiatives as well as our Chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2018.

Our VNR report to the 2018 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development presents Singapore’s domestic and international efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda. Besides being a snapshot of our progress so far, the VNR process has been a powerful reminder that sustainable development is a journey that requires continuous commitment from all of us. Singapore will continue to build on our progress in this journey towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and beyond.

Focal point
Mr Syed Noureddin Syed Hassim
Deputy Director-General, Climate Change Office
International Organisations Directorate
Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Partnerships & Commitments
The below is a listing of all partnership initiatives and voluntary commitments where Singapore is listed as a partner in the Partnerships for SDGs online platform.
IHO Hydrography Capacity Building Programme for Coastal States

The IHO capacity building programme seeks to assess and advise on how countries can best meet their international obligations and serve their own best interests by providing appropriate hydrographic and nautical charting services. Such services directly support safety of navigation, safety of life at sea, efficient sea transportation and the wider use of the seas and oceans in a sustainable way, including the protection of the marine environment, coastal zone management, fishing, marine resource exploration and exploitation, maritime boundary delimitation, maritime defence and security, and o...[more]

International Hydrographic Organization (IGO); 87 IHO Member States (Governments); International Maritime Organization (UN); World Meteorological Organization (UN); International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (NGO)
Action Network
Sustainable Development Goals
Technical Cooperation Package for Small Island Developing States

Singapore is committed to assisting Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in their capacity building efforts. As a small island state, Singapore understands the vulnerabilities and recognises the unique challenges faced by fellow SIDS. We have been sharing our development experience through the Singapore Cooperation Programme since its inception in 1992. Over the years, we have trained more than 8,800 SIDS government officials in diverse areas such as sustainable development and climate change, public governance and economic development. At the Third International Conference on SIDS in Samoa f...[more]

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore
Action Network
Sustainable Development Goals
United Nations