Actual and Expected Conversion of Natural Spaces to Urban Development and Carbon Sequested under URA Concept Plan

Anthea Indira Ong
3 min readJun 4, 2020


Parliamentary Question, 4 June 2020

Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for National Development (a) in the past 20 years, how much land has been converted from natural spaces to urban developments; (b) how much land is expected to be converted from natural spaces to urban developments under the URA Concept Plan; © what is the area of primary and mature secondary forests expected to be affected under the URA Concept Plan; and (d) what is the amount of carbon that is currently sequestered by the area expected to be affected under the URA Concept Plan.

Mr Lawrence Wong: The question by Ms Ong presumes that we are reducing the green and natural spaces in Singapore. But in fact, our urban plans seek to expand such spaces. In 2000, we had about 5,500 hectares of land in nature reserves, nature areas, nature parks, parks and gardens. We have increased this to 7,800 hectares today.

Under the Master Plan 2019, which guides development over the next 10 to 15 years, we will add another 1,000 hectares of parks, gardens, and park connectors. We announced plans to transform Singapore from a City in a Garden into a City in Nature during the Committee of Supply debate in March 2020, including plans for a new nature park at Sungei Khatib Bongsu, and planting one million trees by 2030. We will also continue implementing innovative and practical solutions to intensify greenery and restore nature in our urban areas, to further enhance liveability for our residents. In addition, where there are any new developments close to sensitive nature areas, robust assessments are undertaken in consultation with stakeholders, to ensure that the development works are done in an environmentally sensitive manner.

These efforts, together with other efforts to enhance our natural ecosystem and marine environment that provide carbon storage and sequestration, will strengthen our climate resilience. Singapore is committed to tackling climate change and meeting our pledge to peak emissions at 65 MtCO2e around 2030 in support of the transition towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient future.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)

The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and climate change in Parliament.

She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).

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Anthea Indira Ong

A full-time human, and part-time everything else.