SeCURE Preparatory Workshop Overview

On September 12 and 13, 2019,  a group of international experts talked about issues of climate change, urban resilience and food and water security during a two-day Singapore Centre for Urban Resilience (SeCURE) International Preparatory workshop held in Singapore.

The purpose of this workshop was to understand the opportunities, challenges and knowledge gaps in urban resilience practice in Singapore and Asia. The Singapore Centre for Urban Resilience (SeCURE) aims to solve climate change-induced urban resilience challenges for Singapore and other Southeast Asian cities. SeCURE will focus on research and integration of resilient systems, the development of methods and tools, and the delivery of services that enable a quantitative optimization of urban resilience measures and strategies to help cities become more resilient.

The event was organised by the National University of Singapore (NUS) in collaboration with Deltares and supported by the National Research Foundation of Singapore (NRF).
It was attended by over 70 participants ranging from Singapore government agencies, International organizations, industry and academia.
Professor Chen Tsuhan, Deputy President, Research and Technology in his welcome remarks  spoke about the challenges of rapid and unplanned urbanization in Asia which need to be tackled at the systemic level to enhance resilience.

Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the Guest of Honour at the workshop. In his opening remarks, he spoke about the importance of applied problem-based research “which enables us to solve real problems in the real world”. SeCURE he added, is focussed on “global warming and climate change and the consequences which flow from it, such as, prolonged drought, torrential rain, sea level rise”.

Asia is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. In particular, countries in Southeast Asia face significant hazards from earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding, storm surge and tsunamis.

Asia is also the most populous continent in the world. The population of Asia is projected to increase from 4.4 billion in 2015 to 4.9 billion by 2030 (UN Population Division).
By 2030, Asia will also have the largest number of mega-cities. The UN World Urbanization Prospects report projects that 7 of the World’s top 10 mega-cities will be in Asia, with an estimated combined population of 212 million inhabitants. The combination of hazard-prone areas along with a growing population and urban agglomerations make Asia highly prone to disasters. Millions of lives are at risk presently and in the future in addition of billions of dollars’ worth of economic assets.

Singapore has largely been unaffected by some of these natural hazards because of its strategic geographical location. However, climate change presents itself as a grave threat to Singapore and the region. Just last month, the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, in his National Day Rally speech referred to climate change as the “gravest challenges facing humankind”. He mentioned that “both the Singapore Armed Forces and climate change defences are existential for Singapore” and spoke about investing approximately 100 billion dollars (~USD 72 Billion) over the next 100 years to protect Singapore from the impacts of Climate Change.

Findings from the preparatory workshop will be submitted to the National Research Foundation of Singapore for further discussions.

You can find the powerpoint presentations here