27 June 2024

Sharing Sustainable Solutions to Common Challenges such as Food and Water Security

Journalists from seven ASEAN countries get insights on Singapore’s innovative solutions during the Singapore International Foundation (SIF)’s Journalist Visit Programme (JVP).

Group photo at the CapitaSpring rooftop garden
Photo Gallery

“Embracing global insights and best practices through international collaboration is vital to address common challenges and build liveable and sustainable cities.” This was Mr Ben Sok Hean’s key takeaway from the World Cities Summit (WCS) 2024, which gathered government leaders and industry experts to address urban city challenges.

Mr Ben, who is the National Editor at the Khmer Times, and 12 other journalists attended the WCS 2024 as part of the SIF’s JVP 2024. He said: “Being in Singapore to learn about the country’s sustainability initiatives is a great opportunity for us to exchange insights and learn from one another.”

The JVP, which ran from 3 to 6 June, was themed “Driving Towards a Sustainable and Resilient Singapore”. It introduced the journalists to local organisations that champion sustainability efforts across areas such as water and food security and food waste management.

Mr Angelo Sanchez, Content Producer at Manila Bulletin, was intrigued by the Edible Garden City’s (EGC) urban farms and MoNo SG’s efforts in food sustainability. EGC promotes the Grow-Our-Own-Food movement to improve food resilience while MoNo SG redirects expired but safe food items to disadvantaged communities.

He believes similar initiatives could address challenges in food security in the Philippines. He said: “The solutions could potentially be applied back home and benefit my local community.”

Mr Nguyen Minh Khoi, an International Correspondent at the Vietnamese newspaper, Tuoi Tre, echoed Mr Sanchez’s sentiments on the transferability of sustainable solutions after visiting the Sustainable Singapore Gallery. The gallery, located at the Marina Barrage, showcases Singapore’s long-term strategies to ensure a sustainable water supply and a clean and green city.

He said: “Vietnam is currently facing a worsening shortage of clean water due to groundwater pollution and widespread saltwater intrusion. I was impressed by Singapore’s innovations to secure a sustainable supply of water despite its limited land space. I hope to bring these learnings back home.”

The journalists – from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam – also gained a better understanding of Singapore’s multiculturalism, noting Singapore’s emphasis on cross-cultural understanding as well as religious peace and harmony.

They visited the Harmony in Diversity Gallery (HDG), at the Ministry of National Development Building, which promotes an appreciation of Singapore’s religious diversity. They explored Telok Ayer Street to learn about diverse places of worship being located near each other since the 1800s.

Ms Cherrie Wong, Senior Journalist at Malaysian publication Sin Chew Daily, said: “Visiting HDG and seeing various places of worship so near each other has taught me the importance of mutual respect and understanding.

“These are essential to preserve the religious peace and harmony that Singapore enjoys. Singapore and Malaysia are very similar in our religious diversity, and I am eager to share these insights with my community.”

Mr Bounheng Southichak, Managing Editor of Lao Youth Radio, said: “Participating in the JVP with fellow journalists from all over ASEAN has helped me to better understand the cultures of each country. We bonded quickly over four days and are already looking out for opportunities for cross-border collaboration.

“I am proud to be part of this regional network and will strive to share more sustainability-related insights and lessons learnt from the ASEAN community with my local audience.”

Ms Tia Dwitiani Komalasari, Editor at Indonesian publication Katadata, said that the JVP had changed her perspective of Singaporeans. She said: “I used to think that Singaporeans were more individualistic, but through this JVP, I met many Singaporeans who care very much for their community and are passionate about their causes. I was impressed by Dignity Kitchen which provides jobs for persons with disabilities and offers food for underprivileged communities.”

You can read about some of the journalists’ insights from the JVP here: