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Diplomacy in Action

2011-2012 Plan of Action for Environmental Cooperation under the U.S.-Singapore Memorandum of Intent on Environmental Cooperation


Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
May 13, 2010

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On May 13, 2010, the Governments of the United States and the Republic of Singapore adopted this Plan of Action (POA) during a biennial meeting to review status of cooperation under the United States-Singapore Memorandum of Intent on Environmental Cooperation (MOI). This POA revises and updates a previous POA that covered the period 2008 through 2010. The U.S. and Singapore Governments (“the Governments”) will review progress toward achieving the goals contained in this Plan in all of their future consultations to review the status of cooperation under the MOI. The Governments may update and amend the goals and activities set forth in this Plan in future consultations between the Governments on environmental cooperation. Implementation of project ideas described in this POA is subject to the availability of funds.


I. Background

The MOI identifies environmental issues of mutual interest to the Governments, and establishes a mechanism through which the Governments can pursue cooperative efforts in those areas. In the MOI, the Governments also established their intent to engage in cooperative bilateral activities and, where appropriate, in regional activities to promote sustainable environmental policies and practices and effective measures in support of sustainable development (MOI Section 2.1).

The MOI establishes the following types of activities as possible areas of cooperation between the Governments:

a) Strengthening cooperative relationships so as to build institutional capacity to promote environmental management, including through compliance, enforcement, and performance;

b) Exchanging information on environmental best practices of industry, including the application of cleaner processes and technologies and sustainable production practices;

c) Exploring possible avenues for technological cooperation, including research and development and facilitating the transfer of new technologies on mutually agreed terms;

d) Promoting improved protection of the environment, including natural resources, through such mechanisms as: incentives for conserving, restoring, or enhancing the environment; energy efficiency and renewable energy; public/private partnerships; endangered species conservation; improved natural resource management; and environmental education.


II. Mutually Identified Goals

The Governments have identified the following goals to be pursued during the period 2011 through 2012, noting that bilateral and regional efforts may complement each other in many cases:

1) Encouraging the bilateral and regional use of innovative and climate-friendly environmental technology and pollution management techniques.

2) Participating in regional initiatives on environmentally sustainable cities and sustainable management and trade in sustainably managed resources.

3) Further improving capacity to implement and enforce environmental laws, including further enhancing efforts of countries in the region to combat illegal trade in environmentally sensitive goods through bilateral and regional cooperative activities.

Below are illustrative examples of activities related to each goal, taken from activities that are currently underway, in the planning stages, or proposed:

1) Encouraging the bilateral and regional use of innovative and climate friendly environmental technology and pollution management techniques.

· Conduct technical exchanges to share information on air pollution management, focusing on particular topics such as:

(i) Methodology used by the USEPA to set and review their ambient air quality standards and emission standards including a study on the State Implementation Plans for meeting ambient air quality standards.

(ii) Advanced monitoring programmes and studies of Particulate Matter in the air to identify sources and determine their impact on public health.

(iii) Latest technologies for ambient air quality monitoring and investigation of air pollution to trace the sources of pollution (e.g. aerial surveillance systems, satellites, etc).

· Explore a working attachment with USEPA by NEA officials to study in depth the advanced monitoring programs and studies on PM2.5 used by USEPA to identify sources and determine their impact on public health.

· Conduct technical exchanges on energy efficiency, particularly on the USEPA Labs21 initiative.

· Share information on nuclear safety and radiation protection, on topics such as:

(i) U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing control on nuclear power plants and research reactors.

(ii) USEPA’s legislation, regulatory control of nuclear facilities’ impact/discharge to the environment.

(iii) USEPA’s nationwide monitoring system, used to monitor the environment for releases of radioactive material and radiation monitoring of nuclear facilities.

(iv) USEPA’s roles and responsibilities in emergency planning/response for a nuclear/radiological incident.

(v) USEPA’s legislation, regulatory control in radioactive waste management.

· Conduct technical exchanges to share information on water pollution management, focusing on particular topics such as continuous water quality monitoring system including an early warning system for toxic algae blooms in coastal waters.

· Conduct technical exchanges, information sharing and capacity-building training on radiation protection and nuclear safety, focusing on legislation, regulatory control, safety assessment, emergency planning/response, and waste management.

· Encourage use of innovative environmental technology in urban water/wastewater/solid waste management by highlighting effective use of this technology in Singapore and United States along with support of efforts to draw potential investors into the region.

· Exchange information on environmental best practices of industry, including on the application of cleaner, more sustainable and energy efficient technologies and production practices.

· Continue to develop the relationship between PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, and the American Waterworks Association and Sandia National Laboratories.

· Collaborate on joint projects related to water security, desalination, water reuse and recycling, contamination treatment and removal, and use of Integrated Watershed Management planning to protect drinking water sources and to reduce and control land-based pollution sources.

2) Participating in regional initiatives on environmentally sustainable cities and sustainable management and trade in sustainably managed resources.

· Continue to promote region-wide involvement in regional environmental compliance and enforcement networks, including to improve compliance with CITES and the Montreal Protocol.

· Participate in regional initiatives on sustainable management and trade in sustainably managed resources.

· Participate in regional initiatives and strategies on preventing the spread of potential alien invasive species.

· Participate in the ASEAN Initiative on Environmentally Sustainable Cities.


3) Further improving capacity to implement and enforce environmental laws, including further enhancing efforts of countries in the region to combat illegal trade in environmentally sensitive goods through bilateral and regional cooperative activities.

· Conduct technical exchanges on approaches with regards to the prevention of pollution from ships in accordance with MARPOL 73/78.

· Strengthen CITES implementation and improve enforcement against wildlife trafficking at ports of entry in cooperation with ASEAN-WEN, including participation in workshops conducted by experts where participants are from Singapore and other regional or relevant ports of entry that could serve as source or transshipment points for illegal wildlife trade.

· Conduct technical exchanges to facilitate a holistic approach involving amongst others port state measures to combat, deter and eliminate illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing, and in particular to assist in implementing trade traceability systems for fish and fishery products.

· Hold bilateral or multilateral meeting(s) of officials from relevant government agencies to discuss, among other topics:

(i) The Governments’ existing laws, policies and procedures relevant to trade (including transit and transshipment) of environmentally sensitive goods, including illegally harvested timber and timber products.

(ii) Mechanisms for governmental cooperation and measures the Governments should take to improve the control of this trade.

· Explore avenues for legal cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of environment-related crime.

· Encourage cooperation in criminal and civil enforcement of laws related to trade in environmentally sensitive goods, including cooperation in investigating violations, provided that such cooperative activities are in accordance with and subject to domestic laws of each country respectively.

· Explore technical exchanges on approaches to effective implementation and enforcement of environmental laws.

· Continue participation by Singapore in the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network, as well as participation as an observer at the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) Seaport Environmental Security Network (SESN) Workshop.


III. Benchmarks

As the Governments more narrowly define cooperative programs, projects, and activities under the Plan, the Governments will identify performance indicators and benchmarks to measure appropriately the progress made in accomplishing or otherwise furthering the goals and objectives of such programs, projects and activities and will facilitate public reporting of that progress. To the degree that the Governments use independent sources of monitoring data and evaluation to assess progress, they should collaborate with those other sources in identifying suitable performance indicators and benchmarks.


IV. Monitoring and Evaluation

The Governments intend to seek and consider input from relevant local, regional, and international organizations, including, but not limited to, ASEAN and APEC, regarding relevant environmental conditions and indicators and views on the utility of cooperation under this Plan of Action. The Governments will also encourage public participation in identifying opportunities and implementing environmental collaboration, and will make information on activities carried out under the MOI available to the public on a regular basis. At their regular consultations under the MOI, the Governments plan to establish benchmarks and indicators in order to evaluate progress made toward meeting the goals established under the Plan of Action.



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