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Singapore and Laos to Enhance Collaboration in Carbon Credits, Education, and Renewable Energy

Source: The Business Times

SOUTH-EAST Asian neighbours Singapore and Laos intend to continue promoting collaboration in the areas of clean energy, food security, carbon credits and capacity building.

Making this point was Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, speaking in his native tongue, at an official lunch hosted in his honour by Singapore Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Tuesday (Jul 9).

The Lao leader is on his first official visit to Singapore.

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His one-day trip commemorates 50 years of diplomatic ties between both South-east Asian countries, who first established relations on Dec 2, 1974.

“Our close ties at the highest levels reflect our shared interests as small states with similar geographies,” said PM Wong.

The Singapore leader remarked that while Laos is a larger country in terms of land mass, both nations have populations similar in size and grapple with geographical constraints – the former is landlocked while Singapore, as an island state, is “sea-locked”.

“We both have shared interests in upholding an open, stable and rules-based global order,” continued PM Wong, who was sworn in two months ago.

Both prime ministers witnessed the signing of two memoranda of understanding in the areas of carbon credits and education cooperation.

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations Grace Fu (front, right) with Lao Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Bounkham Vorachit (front, left). PHOTO: CMG

Singapore and Laos pledged to collaborate on carbon credits in line with Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which governs rules on the bilateral and international transfer of such credits.

Both nations intend to work towards a legally binding implementation agreement that sets out a bilateral framework for the international transfer of correspondingly adjusted carbon credits.

Singapore has so far inked similar agreements with Papua New Guinea and Ghana.


Strong bilateral ties 

PM Wong added that both countries’ cooperation on renewable energy illustrates how geographical challenges can be translated into mutually beneficial opportunities.

Under the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP), Singapore began in June 2022 to import up to 100 megawatts of renewable hydropower from Laos, via Thailand and Malaysia using existing interconnectors.

PM Wong said: “We look forward to the enhancement and expansion of the LTMS-PIP into its second phase, which will also be in line with Laos’ plans to become the ‘battery of Asean’.”

He added that the Republic fully supports Laos’ Asean chairmanship.

This year is Laos’ third time heading the regional alliance. Since it formally joined the ten-member bloc in 1997, the mountainous country has helmed the role twice – once in 2004 and again in 2016.

To support Laos’ chairmanship this year, Singapore rolled out the Singapore-Laos Enhanced Cooperation Package, announced in September 2022 by then Prime Minister Lee.

The package includes capacity-building programmes for Lao officials, such as on report writing and public presentation skills.

Separately, under the Singapore Cooperation Programme incepted in 1992, more than 16,500 Lao officials have attended courses and participated in training programmes.

Notable alumni include the likes of Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith and former Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh.

On the education front, Singapore also offers scholarships to Lao students to pursue their studies locally.

“Singapore wants Laos to succeed, and we have been a steadfast supporter of (its) development,” said PM Wong.

After the lunch, Dr Sonexay – accompanied by ministers and senior officials – will call on President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and meet Senior Minister Lee Hsien Loong.