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Commemorating 10th year of Master's programme in environmental management

19 December 2011

Prof Robinson (left) sharing a light-hearted moment with Prof Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large and Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the MEM programme

(From left) Prof Tan together with co-editors Assoc Prof Lye and Assoc Prof Prof Savage

The NUS School of Design and Environment (SDE) held a conference themed "Sustainable Environmental Management in Urban Asia" on 15 and 16 December 2011 in conjunction with the 10th anniversary celebration of the multi-disciplinary Master of Science in Environmental Management (MEM) programme.

Guest-of-Honour Mr Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malaysia & UNDP Resident Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam, gave the opening address at the conference which saw some 120 participants from the industry, private sector, governmental organisations, and academia.

Mr Malhotra said at the conference that the Asia-Pacific region is particularly vulnerable to the effects of urbanisation and climate change, given its large population size and rapid urbanisation. Citing the 2011 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Human Development Report, Mr Malhotra opined that the urgent global challenges of sustainability and equity must be tackled together.

Concerning environmental management, Prof Nicholas Robinson, University Professor for the Environment, School of Law, Pace University, New York, highlighted five areas to take action. These are the rule of law, the setting-up of insurance systems by cities, financial services, the establishment of other market reforms that foster sustainability by cities, as well as the furthering of formal public education about sustainability. Prof Robinson is also Adjunct Professor at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies at Yale University.

Topics discussed during the two-day conference included sustainable governance and waste management in an urban environment, eco-urban settlements, coastal zone management and urban environmental challenges.

A commemorative book titled Environment and Climate Change in Asia: Ecological Footprints and Green Prospects was also launched by Prof Tan Eng Chye, NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost, at the conference. It is co-edited by Assoc Prof Victor Savage of the NUS Department of Geography and Assoc Prof Lye Lin Heng of the NUS Faculty of Law. The book is a compilation of 13 essays, featuring the viewpoints of NUS faculty members, adjunct teaching faculty, environmental consultants and nature lovers on a broad range of topics.

Jointly offered by seven faculties and schools in NUS, the MEM is a multi-disciplinary integrated programme for senior and mid-level managers and officers in corporate and private organisations.