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Opening remarks by Mrs Cheong Koon Hean, CEO of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, at the World Cities Summit 2010 media briefing on Thu, 25 Feb 2010 at 11:00 am at the Sail @ Marina Bay

Good morning. I am pleased to join you today for the media briefing on the upcoming World Cities Summit.

Andrew and Lionel have just provided an overview of today’s fast-changing urban environment from both global and local perspectives. With more than 70% of the world’s population living in cities by 2050, cities face increasing pressures providing for utilities and infrastructure, housing, dealing with congestion and reducing pollution.

Singapore too, faced many of these urban challenges particularly just after our independence. For land and resource scarce Singapore, developing in a sustainable manner was a matter of survival. Over the years, we have managed to overcome these urban challenges to become one of the most liveable and green cities in Asia.

Singapore would like to work with other cities to find good urban solutions that will help cities to deal with urban growth and to build more sustainable cities. Hence, we launched the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize in June last year. The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is a biennial international award to recognise individuals and organisations responsible for urban initiatives that display foresight, good governance or innovation in tackling the many urban challenges faced by cities.

These urban initiatives can include (but are not limited to) urban planning projects, urban policies and programmes, urban management, as well as applied technology in urban solutions. The Prize will also place an emphasis on practical and cost effective solutions and ideas that can be easily replicated across cities.

The Prize can serve as a catalyst to highlight best practices that cities can learn from.

Nominations for the Prize closed in November last year. At the close of nominations, I am pleased to announce that the Prize Secretariat has received 78 nominations from 32 countries, across the continents from Asia Pacific, Europe, North and South America, Middle East and Africa. This is a very good start and we are encouraged not just by the number of nominations received, but more importantly, the high quality of many of the submissions.

The nominations will be reviewed through a rigorous two-stage process by a Nominating Committee and a Prize Council. The Nominating Committee will review and examine all submitted nominations, and will then recommend potential Laureates for consideration by the Prize Council.

We look forward to unveiling the first Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Laureate. The Prize will be given out at the Lee Kuan Yew Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet to be held on 29 June 2010.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Keppel Corporation, which will be sponsoring the first five World Cities Prizes for the next five cycles of the biennial award. Each Prize includes a cash prize of S$300,000, an award certificate and a gold medallion.

In summary, the question of how to create better cities with better quality of lives for its people is on the agenda of every government and professionals and stakeholders involved with cities today. The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize places an emphasis on practical and cost-effective solutions that can help cities achieve liveability and vibrancy in a sustainable way. Through the Prize, we hope to draw inspiration, share experiences, and progress together as a global community. Thank you.