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Intervention by Health Minister Ong Ye Kung at G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting Session 2

Preparedness plans through the One Health approach and globally coordinated and collaborative response to health emergencies

1      After listening to colleagues, there is strong recognition of the need for an integrated agenda through One Health, coordinating the work of the WHO, FAO, OIE and UNEP.

a. And this is integration at the organisational level.

b. But in addition to that, we also need to consider integration at the executional level.

c. This means having different work streams coming together in a geographical setting.

2      Singapore is a city-state. We have no agriculture, so for us, that setting is a city.

a. The world is now 56% urbanised.

b. COVID-19 infections occur disproportionately in cities, because cities are denser in population and are also where people interact, and hence transmit diseases.

c. In an urban context, it is even more important for our efforts to be coordinated and synergised. 

3      For example, urban development now must take into account:

a. Pandemic control and things like ventilation

b. Social support for the vulnerable and disadvantaged must include preventive healthcare, building up physical resilience to diseases

c. Schools must be able to operate even in a pandemic, to avert a lost generation of children that miss out on education

d. Supply chains must be secured and safe

e. Urban hygiene must be raised; standards must be raised to reduce infections

f. Wastewater testing – that we do a lot – can serve as ‘early warnings’ for outbreaks

g. And most importantly finance and health needs to be synergised. I hear colleagues speaking about different ideas which we support.

4      Singapore will therefore be including urban health preparedness in future runs of our capacity-building programmes for developing countries. We hope this would be useful in helping others future-proof their urban environments against future crises.

5      Thank you.

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