On 15 September 2020, the Governments of the United States and the Republic of Singapore adopted this Plan of Action (POA) during a Biennial Review of the status of cooperation under the United States-Singapore Memorandum of Intent (MOI) on Environmental Cooperation. This POA updates the POA covering the period 2018 through 2019. The Governments intend to review progress toward achieving the goals contained in this POA and may modify the goals and activities in future consultations on environmental cooperation. Implementation of the activities in this POA is subject to the availability of funds/resources.
On June 13, 2003, the Governments of the United States and the Republic of Singapore signed an MOI on Cooperation in Environmental Matters, in connection with their bilateral commitment to free and fair trade under the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA). 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 establish their intent to engage in bilateral activities and, where appropriate, regional activities to promote sustainable environmental policies and practices and effective measures in support of sustainable development.
The MOI establishes the following types of activities as possible areas of cooperation:
- Strengthening cooperative relationships so as to build institutional capacity to promote environmental management, including through compliance, enforcement, and performance;
- Exchanging information on environmental best practices of industry, including the application of cleaner processes and technologies and sustainable production practices;
- Exploring possible avenues for technological cooperation, including research and development and facilitating the transfer of new technologies on mutually agreed terms;
- Promoting improved environmental protection, 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 and Related Activities
In accordance with the MOI, the Governments have identified the following goals and activities that they intend to pursue during the period 2020 through 2021, noting that bilateral and regional efforts may complement each other in many cases. Below each goal are examples of related activities, including activities that are currently underway, in the planning stages, or proposed:
1) Improve capacity of institutions and strengthen policies for effective implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, including supporting efforts of countries in the region to combat illegal trade in environmentally sensitive goods through bilateral and regional cooperative activities.
- Bilateral and regional training and technical exchanges for investigators, prosecutors, police, customs officials, and judges on investigating and prosecuting wildlife trafficking and illegal logging cases.
- Bilateral and regional technical exchanges on effective implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, including improving compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL 73/78), Minamata Convention on Mercury, and other multilateral environmental agreements to which both countries are party.
- Participate in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) wildlife trafficking workshops and activities through the ASEAN Working Group on CITES and Wildlife Enforcement (AWG CITES and WE) and the new Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) Wildlife Trafficking Work Program, including joint operations and information sharing to curb wildlife trafficking.
- Promote region-wide involvement in regional environmental compliance and enforcement networks, AWG CITES and WE, the SOMTC Work Program, and the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE).
- Facilitate collaboration between environment, public health, and animal sectors on specific activities to prevent, detect, and respond to zoonotic diseases, including tackling wildlife trafficking and high-risk wildlife consumption.
2) Participate in regional initiatives related to the conservation and sustainable use of and trade in natural resources.
- Regional training workshops and other technical exchanges on best practices in combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and fisheries-related crimes, such as registry fraud, as well as port state measures and traceability systems, in addition to an ecosystem approach to fisheries.
- Regional collaboration to reduce consumer demand for illegally traded wildlife and related products through the creation of public awareness campaigns.
- Technical exchanges, as needed, on U.S. requirements under the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) and Marine Mammals Protection Act (MMPA).
- Regional collaboration on strategies to prevent the spread of invasive alien species.
3) Encourage the exchange of information on environmental policies, best practices and use of innovative environmental technology and pollution management techniques.
- Cooperative activities, capacity building and open exchanges on water management policies, best practices and technologies.
- Support the 2021 Singapore International Water Week, including by encouraging participation and extending export assistance services through the U.S. Department of Commerce to U.S. exhibitors of water technologies, as appropriate.
- Encourage participation and the sharing of expertise, best practices, and latest available technologies and tools in environmental protection, including at platforms such as the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore (CESG).
- Technical and information exchanges on specific air quality management topics, including: ambient air quality standard-setting, emissions inventories, enforcement, industrial emissions, vehicular and non-road mobile machinery emissions, indoor air quality standards and indoor air quality management strategies, and emerging air pollutants.
- Cooperative activities and exchanges on nuclear safety matters as specified in the Arrangement between Singapore’s National Environment Agency and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the Exchange of Technical Information and Cooperation in Nuclear Safety Matters.
- Technical exchanges, information exchange and capacity building training on radiation protection and decontamination and clean-up of Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) incidents, focusing on, but not limited to legislation, regulatory control, emergency/planning/response, and waste management.
- Technical exchanges, studies, and regional initiatives to reduce and prevent marine and coastal trash and debris, including implementation of effective waste management systems.
- Leverage existing partnership venues in which both the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) participate on issues related to the safety of food and modern food safety systems. This could include food safety work commonly pursued in the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF), such as Whole Genome Sequencing and Risk Communication, as well as Codex Alimentarius International standard setting efforts, among others.
- Technical exchanges on novel rodent control tools, in particular the ongoing rodent control trials using sensors and pheromones undertaken by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH).
- Technical exchanges aimed at furthering the understanding of infectious disease transmission through environmental determinants.
- Technical exchanges and information exchange on regulatory framework for pesticides.
III. Benchmarks, Monitoring and Evaluation
As the Governments implement activities under the POA, they intend to identify performance indicators and benchmarks to measure progress in furthering the goals of these activities, and to facilitate public reporting of that progress. The Governments intend to encourage input from a variety of agencies and civil society groups regarding potential activities and evaluating the effectiveness of activities, and to make information on activities available to the public on a regular basis.