25 April 2023, Geneva, Switzerland – In partnership with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) UNITAR has established its 31st CIFAL centre in Singapore to offer a range of learning opportunities on sustainability education and facilitate knowledge sharing between government officials and leaders from different Asia Pacific countries.

NTU Singapore was selected to host the International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders (CIFAL) Singapore, the only such centre in the country. It joins 30 other international training centres in the global CIFAL network, all coordinated by UNITAR’s Social Development Programme and strategically located to ensure a global outreach.

CIFAL Singapore is the first such centre in Singapore to be affiliated with the United Nations’ principal training arm and will be sited at NTU Singapore. The Centre aims to strengthen the ability of individuals, institutions, and societies in the Asia Pacific countries to perform functions, solve problems, and set and achieve objectives sustainably, thus encouraging sustainable development in the Asia Pacific region. 

To this end, CIFAL Singapore will hold training activities and events centred around the areas of sustainability education and sustainable cities and communities. These focus areas are aligned with NTU’s academic and research expertise and Singapore’s status as an urbanised city-state and are relevant to rapidly developing cities in the region. 

The Centre will also hold national, regional, and international events relevant to authorities and private sector leaders to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at the local level.

The partnership was inked today at UNITAR’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, between Mr Nikhil Seth, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNITAR, and Professor Ling San, NTU Deputy President and Provost. The signing ceremony was witnessed by His Excellency Mr Umej Singh Bhatia, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

NTU Deputy President and Provost Prof Ling San said:

Tackling climate change and fostering sustainable development go hand in hand. By educating individuals, communities, and organisations, we can collectively take action to mitigate the effects of climate change and build a more sustainable future for generations to come. CIFAL Singapore leverages NTU’s depth and breadth of sustainability-related courses designed for learners at various life stages, from the classroom to the boardroom, as well as NTU’s research and innovation on sustainability. It also draws on UNITAR’s expertise and resources as a global network. These aspirations to create a more sustainable world through education are central to NTU 2025, the University’s five-year strategic plan, and NTU’s Sustainability Manifesto.

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNITAR Mr Nikhil Seth said:

Our partnership with NTU Singapore reflects our joint commitment to providing a range of learning opportunities and facilitating knowledge sharing between public servants and leaders in the Asia-Pacific region. CIFAL Singapore will serve as an instrumental platform dedicated to providing training to a wide range of stakeholders, with special emphasis on local authorities and civil society leaders.

His Excellency Mr Umej Singh Bhatia, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva said:

“While there is no silver bullet towards sustainable development, consolidating and disseminating best practices would expand the learning horizon for stakeholders to absorb lessons from multiple case studies at once. Through NTU’s unwavering commitment to education and Singapore’s status as a hub for ideas, businesses, and connectivity, CIFAL Singapore will be well placed to generate and sustain momentum towards sustainable development.

Building on NTU’s expertise in sustainability education

CIFAL Singapore joins other 30 international training centres in the global CIFAL (Centre International de Formation des Autorités et Leaders) network.

The Centre draws on NTU’s strength in sustainability education. Over 200 sustainability-related courses are offered at NTU to prepare undergraduates, postgraduates, and those seeking professional development for careers in the sustainability sector.

These include Minor and Second Major options in Sustainability offered at the undergraduate level; postgraduate programmes that drive research in areas requiring a multi-disciplinary approach such as environmental sustainability; and continuing education courses curated from various disciplines and are designed for working professionals.

Topics that are covered in these courses include climate change and climate impact, sustainable materials, recycling and upcycling, sustainability communication, sustainable finance, and corporate and environmental sustainability.


About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Engineering, Business, Science, Medicine, Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, and Graduate colleges.

NTU is also home to world-renowned autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).

Under the NTU Smart Campus vision, the University harnesses the power of digital technology and tech-enabled solutions to support better learning and living experiences, the discovery of new knowledge, and the sustainability of resources.

Ranked among the world’s top universities, the University’s main campus is also frequently listed among the world’s most beautiful. Known for its sustainability, over 95% of its building projects are certified Green Mark Platinum. Apart from its main campus, NTU also has a medical campus in Novena, Singapore’s healthcare district.

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