SINGAPORE – Businesses play a vital role in improving cities, especially in times of crisis and disruption.
A win-win approach does not work; instead, there is a need for collaboration, partnership and complementary skills and capabilities, said Temasek’s new chief executive, Dilhan Pillay.
He added that companies should work with communities, employees, customers, suppliers and investors – and should always consider the environment when making decisions.
He was speaking at the World Cities Summit on Tuesday, June 22, on the theme “Cities are adapting to a disrupted world”.
The summit, which was held in a hybrid format this year due to Covid-19, brings together government and industry leaders to address urban challenges and share solutions. It ends Wednesday.
Mr. Pillay, head of the Temasek International business arm, who will succeed Ms. Ho Ching as CEO and executive director of Temasek on October 1, said cities today face unprecedented challenges such as scarcity. resources, climate change, aging infrastructure and security risks.
The United Nations has estimated that the world’s population living in urban areas will grow from 4.2 billion in 2018 to 6.7 billion by 2050.
“We need to look at the key areas that are opportunities for innovation in cities – water, energy, food, waste, urban development, clean materials and transport – all of which are linked to the sustainability of our cities and communities”, a- he declared. , adding that governments and businesses need to accelerate technological innovations that can help cities go carbon-free.
To promote a more sustainable future, collective responsibility and a strong public-private partnership are needed, he said, citing the example of the proposed maritime decarbonization center in Singapore.
In April, the Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) announced it would establish a $ 120 million fund for the center, backed by funding from industry partners. MPA has signed a memorandum of cooperation with BW Group, Sembcorp Marine, Eastern Pacific Shipping, Ocean Network Express, Foundation Det Norske Veritas and BHP.
Strong policy frameworks also need to be in place, Pillay said, stressing that carbon pricing can be an effective tool to reduce carbon emissions and a fair and equitable way to raise funds for adaptation projects. to the capital-intensive climate.
More can also be done to mobilize private finance towards investments that are sustainable and away from polluting industries, he said. However, many opportunities are not capitalized due to the lack of bankable infrastructure projects.
“Cities can work with local and global financial institutions to develop climate finance infrastructure solutions, or offer concessions such as tax incentives for financial institutions providing green bonds.”
It is also important that urban planning is inclusive, he added. “In turn, businesses should be able to reap the benefits of more dynamic and resilient economies which, in the long run, will mitigate the risks of climate change and help define and create new opportunities.”
In a panel discussion moderated by Simon Tay, President of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, Urban Redevelopment Authority CEO Lim Eng Hwee highlighted the importance of digitization, saying that planning in a dynamic environment requires a holistic understanding of cities as an ecosystem.
Digitization of the planning process, he explained, can help better coordinate the provision and development of infrastructure and test different scenarios.
For example, authorities can identify where to locate certain jobs and facilities, and assess areas that lack amenities such as parks and schools.
Governments can not only leverage the data to deal with long-term problems, but also manage the recovery from the pandemic, such as monitoring crowd levels in shopping malls to avoid overcrowding, Lim said.
“On the people side, we can also identify where vulnerable segments of the community are located, so that services can be provided to them. “
Other panellists included the mayor of Taoyuan City, Cheng Wen-tsan of Taiwan, the executive vice-president of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Asia Pacific, Yoshiyuki Hanasawa of Japan, the assistant secretary-general of the United Nations and executive director of UN-Habitat. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Managing Director of Microsoft and Business Leader Manish Prakash and Head of Asian Development Bank Urban Sector Group Manoj Sharma.