[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Friday, October 19, 2007

[Singapore Cooperation Programme]

Distinguished Participants of the Singapore Cooperation Programme
Ladies and Gentlemen

1 I thank all of you for joining us as we celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Singapore Cooperation Programme. Today, we also mark an important milestone: the number of participants reaching 50,000.

2 I would like to acknowledge the 55 international participants attending the two courses on the “Fundamentals of Aeronautical Information Services” and “Integrated Water and Waste Water Resource Management” who are here with us today. They come from 44 countries in the Asia-Pacific, Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean. I hope you will have a good experience here, learn from each other and make new friends.

SCP - Its Past, Present and Future

3 For many years after we became independent in 1965, Singapore was fortunate in having friends in many countries who shared their developmental experience with us. Without all the assistance we received, our passage from the Third World to the First would have been much more difficult. Now that we are better off, we hope that what assistance we can provide to others will be of some use.

4 At first, different ministries and agencies did what they could in an ad hoc manner. After some years, we decided that we had to be more organised. The Singapore Cooperation Programme was formally established in 1992 under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Over the last 15 years, the range of Singapore Cooperation Programme's activities has expanded both in scope and reach. We have been able to take in altogether 50,000 participants from 168 developing countries. We now train about 6,000 participants each year.

5 We have to work within the resources we have as a small country. We focus our efforts on areas where we can make a difference, principally in human resource capacity building.
6 Over the last 15 years, the Singapore Cooperation Programme has included some major assistance projects. Let me touch on a few of them:

(a) Singapore has committed a total of S$88 million to the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) since its inception in 2001. The most concrete manifestation of our support is the four IAI training centres that we have set up in Phnom Penh, Vientiane, Yangon and Hanoi. To date, more than 11,000 participants have attended programmes in the four IAI centres.

(b) Singapore had helped to set up a National Productivity Centre in Botswana. The Botswana National Productivity Centre has since become a regional training centre for productivity improvement in southern Africa.

(c) Singapore launched the Small Developing States Technical Cooperation Programme (SIDSTEC) in 1999 to help Small Island Developing States achieve sustainable development. To date, the Programme has trained over 4,800 officials from 41 island developing states.

(d) Under the auspices of the Asia-Middle East Dialogue (AMED), Singapore is contributing to human resource development through two regional training centres in Qatar and Jordan. The AMED Regional Training Centre for Public Administration (RTCPA) in Qatar focuses on the training of civil servants and developing skills and strategies for excellence in public service. The AMED Regional Vocational Training Centre (RVTC) in Jordan focuses on developing skills in air-conditioning and heating systems maintenance and diagnostics for the construction industry.

Looking Ahead

7 Looking ahead, the Singapore Cooperation Programme will have to evolve to meet changing developmental needs. Apart from traditional areas like good governance, infocomm technology, civil aviation and port management, we will give greater attention to transboundary concerns like sustainable development, healthcare management, climate change and environmental management.

8 To increase our reach, the Singapore Cooperation Programme will forge more partnerships. We already have more than 30 international partnerships with developed countries and international organisations. By so doing, we have been able to do more with the same resources especially in the range of courses we offer.


9 We are committed to doing our part as responsible global citizens. Though we are small, small can be beautiful, or at least this is what we want to believe. There are many beautiful small countries in this world.

10 Our motto is “Joining Hands, Making Friends”. We hope that through our various programmes, Singapore will be able to develop deep friendships with many countries. At the individual level, we hope that the friendships forged will be for life. We are getting better now at keeping links to SCP alumni.

11 Let me conclude by congratulating the 50,000th Singapore Cooperation Programme participant. I wish all our international participants here a fruitful training programme and a pleasant stay in Singapore. If all goes well, we should not need to wait 15 years before welcoming the 100,000th participant.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG


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