Greenery is very much a part of Singapore's DNA and has been integral to our socioeconomic as well as infrastructure development journey. Our parks, gardens, nature reserves and verdant streetscapes are valuable assets that make Singapore highly liveable and provide a high-quality living environment for Singaporeans.
NParks is committed to conserving nature and biodiversity, nurturing greater community stewardship, and building capabilities within the organisation and industry to uphold Singapore's reputation and standing as a City in Nature.
NParks is responsible for maintaining and enhancing Singapore's greenery for future generations. Our nature reserves safeguard primary and secondary rainforests and are core habitats for native biodiversity. They are also primary providers of ecosystem services like clean air and water.
Nature parks have been established on the margins of the nature reserves, serving as complementary habitats and buffers. These buffers provide expanded habitats for Singapore's native flora and fauna beyond the nature reserves, and also provide spaces for nature-based recreation.
More than 40 percent of Singapore is covered in greenery, in the form of nature reserves, parks, gardens, roadside greenery, skyrise greenery and vacant lands. In FY2019, NParks planted about 134,000 trees. To curate the landscapes in our parks and gardens to make them more natural, we will incorporate natural designs and planting in new and redeveloped parks and gardens, recreating the look and feel of Singapore's natural forests.
The waterbodies within our gardens and parks will also be naturalised, contributing to Singapore's resilience in addressing the challenge of sea-level rise and inland flooding due to climate change. Beyond these, NParks will establish more therapeutic landscapes in gardens and parks, which can be programmed for seniors as well as cater to diverse conditions such as dementia and mood disorders. Finally, NParks will also conserve over 70 more native plant and animal species over the next 10 years.
NParks will intensify the greening of our streetscapes through the implementation of multi-tiered planting, which will create a forest-like structure along our roads. Roads with such planting are known as Nature Ways.
We will increase the implementation of skyrise greenery and focus on greening Singapore's industrial estates, which are currently among the hottest areas on the island. These efforts will mitigate the Urban Heat Island effect, resulting in cooler temperatures, while helping to improve air quality and beautify their surroundings.
To sustain a healthy natural ecosystem, NParks will strengthen the ecological connectivity between our green spaces through the Park Connector Network and the Nature Ways. There are currently 347 kilometres of park connectors, and Singapore will have 400 kilometres of park connectors by 2030. This effectively means that 90% of households will be within a 10-minute walk of a park by 2030, making our gardens and parks even more accessible.
Our gardens and parks are important shared spaces for different communities. These common green spaces provide access to people from all walks of life to come together and enjoy their time amidst nature.
NParks injects vibrancy into our parks and gardens by hosting an average of 4,000 activities, events and programmes islandwide yearly. Signature events include NParks Concert Series in the Park – Rockestra®, Parks Festival, Festival of Biodiversity, and Community Garden Festival.
As a City in Nature, we will enable the community to forge closer bonds through active stewardship of the environment. NParks will be expanding its outreach programmes to reach out to communities, schools, and individuals to encourage them to become stewards of greenery and biodiversity. Communities can participate in the design, building, management and programming of more than 50 parks in their estates over the next five years. This is an extension of NParks' Friends of the Parks initiative1, which aims to promote greater community stewardship in the management of our green spaces.
1 There are now nine Friends of the Parks communities; each comprises local stakeholders, volunteers and enthusiasts coming together to develop ground-led initiatives to promote stewardship and responsible use of our parks and nature reserves.
NParks has launched a new movement to plant a million trees across Singapore over the next 10 years. Led by the community, the One Million Trees movement will take place throughout the island, including streetscapes, gardens, parks and park connectors, nature reserves and nature parks. The community is key to the success of this movement.
Thus far, some 100 individuals and more than 100 groups and organisations have already pledged their support. This includes the Friends of the Parks communities, Community in Nature schools, Community in Bloom (CIB) gardening groups, NParks volunteers, and nature groups.
The nationwide CIB gardening movement aims to foster community spirit and bring residents together to make Singapore our City in Nature. Today, there are more than 1,500 community gardens across Singapore, set up and managed by outdoor and indoor gardening groups. NParks will continue to work towards the target of building 2,000 CIB gardens by 2030.
To date, we have 48,000 volunteers who play an integral role in helping to achieve our vision of making Singapore a City in Nature. Our network of volunteers includes community gardeners from the CIB programme, citizen scientists from the Community in Nature initiative, and members of Friends of the Parks, amongst others. Aged from nine to over 80, they range from students, homemakers, and working professionals, to retirees. Many of them volunteer because they appreciate the opportunity to learn about and contribute towards our conservation efforts. Volunteers often become advocates of our messages, and share with others important biophilic issues.
We will expand NParks' outreach programmes to grow our volunteer base from the existing 48,000 to 70,000 by 2030. NParks will build up its Community in Nature initiative by involving more schools and partners in reforestation efforts and citizen science projects, and expand the CIB programme through the provision of more allotment gardens and encouraging the planting of edibles.
Staff are encouraged to grow their professionalism, build capabilities and provide service excellence. NParks develops staff through a competency development framework focusing on business, operational and people excellence.
CUGE and professional certification bodies conduct in-depth training for operational staff, including formulating a specialised roadmap to develop professional arborist competency.
Corporate staff can get certified by industry recognised agencies such as the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants and Institute for Human Resource Professionals.
103 Certified Park Managers
110 Certified Practising Horticulturists
231 ISA Certified Arborists
36 Certified Playground Safety Inspectors
To encourage officers to deepen their professional expertise in NParks' core job areas and facilitate greater deployability of staff, officers who possess certifications recognised under NParks' Vocational and Skills Allowance Framework are eligible for a monthly allowance. The revised allowance framework with enhanced quantum will take effect from 1 Jul 2020, in recognition of the specialised technical competencies that officers possess and demonstrate.
Additionally, the list of certifications that qualify officers for the allowance has also been expanded. This includes new certifications in Green Mark Professional, Tree Risk Assessment Qualification, Therapeutic Horticulture and Animal Welfare & Behaviour and Animal Health.
Moving forward in 2020, we will be looking to professionalise the role of an NParks officer and improve the attractiveness of a career in NParks. Progression and remuneration will recognise officers' skills and competencies and support and encourage continuous movement of officers (horizontal as well as vertical) throughout their career. Officers will be encouraged to pick up additional competencies relevant to NParks' work, which will be supported by the enhanced vocational and skills allowance framework.
The Staff Well-Being Committee (SWBC) works with the Human Resource branch and Staff Union to organise activities that engage our workforce.
In FY2019, SWBC organised a specially curated range of events with a key focus to engage and bring together all staff in the NParks family.
Together with the three sub-committees – Social and Recreation, Healthy Lifestyle, and Kindness, over 50 events were organised, including several large-scale events for all staff such as Learning Journeys, Bicentennial Showcase@FCP, monthly lunch-time bus services, and health talks. Each sub-committee comprises some 20 members from various divisions who volunteer their time and effort to curate a calendar of events and activities for staff.
In FY2019, more than 300 staff members contributed over 2,400 hours of their time towards kindness-related activities. These included participation in a blood donation drive at Bloodbank@HSA, the packing of food donations for The Food Bank Singapore as well as taking up new volunteering opportunities at IMDA Digital Clinics and animal shelters.
Staff also helped out at Food from the Heart, a charity that distributes food to sponsored schools, welfare homes and self-collection centres, and they took on "big brother" and "big sister" duties when they accompanied children from Child At Street 11 on an excursion to Pulau Ubin. This is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping lowincome and dysfunctional families provide quality early years of education for their children.
To mark Kindness Day SG which fell on 24 May 2019, staff volunteered time and effort to spruce up the gardens at the Handicaps Welfare Association, NParks' long-standing adopted charity. Such activities not only showcase the green fingers of staff, but also highlight their big hearts in giving back to the community.
Each year, deserving staff are recognised for their exemplary service and work via the Excellent Service Award and Divisional Star Award. In 2019, 42 staff were commended for providing excellent service to internal and external customers.
This past year, 223 staff received their Long Service Award for their contributions towards building and caring for our City in Nature.