Advancing Human Security and Community Resilience

Closing Remarks by Mr Desmond Kuek, CEO, Temasek Trust, at Ecosperity Week 2024 Welcome Dinner

Mr President, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, thank you for the honour of leaving me with the closing remarks. It’s a daunting task that you’ve left me because it has been a full, rich day with Ecosperity this morning and Philanthropy Asia Summit, the climate Summit also in the afternoon.

And now, of course at dinner, we are reminded of the urgency, the opportunity and, may I add, the collective responsibility - to dream big, act boldly and blaze new pathways to ensure a better and brighter future.

You will all have your takeaways from today. Allow me to close with just three thoughts.

The first, we know that planetary health and climate issues are inextricably linked with human lives and livelihoods. They will always be in a complex, ever-evolving, and multi-player mode. We will need our best minds, our collective will, and the ability to mass-mobilise in a holistic and integrated way; bridging across geographies, sectors, communities, wealth and asset classes, to bring about the kind of technology and financing innovations that can ensure systems change and scalable impact, at speed and on a global level.

Solving for the world must involve solving for Asia. Whichever corner of the world we are in, you have heard, while we may not all be in the same boat, we are all in the same storm. In our interconnected world, what affects one of us potentially affects all of us.

At COP28, with ClimateWorks Foundation and World Economic Forum, the Philanthropy Asia Alliance produced an Asia-focused climate philanthropy report – which found that the climate and nature funding gap here is not for lack of issue awareness. But really, also because of the lack of technical understanding, practical solutions, structured data, and measurable indicators. So, this is where we should start - With public-privatephilanthropic partnerships - to build the capacity, systems, knowledge, narratives, and most importantly, the inspired leadership at all levels and across all sectors to bring about change.

Secondly, Partnership is key. Key if we are to effectively course-correct for the sake of planet and people. This is not just about climate tech innovation, sustainable finance and impact investing, vital as they may be.

Fundamentally, it is also about connecting hearts and minds – through agreed mutual goals, collective ground action and shared resources and outcomes amongst all stakeholders.

Thirdly, I do believe we have good reason to be optimistic. There is a positive wind that is catching our sails and gathering momentum in both our investing and philanthropy landscape.

Within the decade, more than one-third of global wealth is projected to be in the hands of Asian millennials. We are seeing a blurring of lines between business and philanthropy.

More businesses want to go beyond profit to achieving impact and purpose. More investors are keen to use their portfolio as a platform to spur social and environmental change. Shareholders, consumers and customers are more discerning with their choices. At the other end of the spectrum, more philanthropists are looking to leverage their giving in a way that can generate financial returns that can be recycled. More are moving beyond cheque-book to catalytic philanthropy to amplify and accelerate impact.

Across this capital spectrum, in investing or in giving, there is greater focus on specificity or shall we say (what exactly?), on intentionality (or what for?), or materiality (what’s the point?) and on additionality (what new value add?).

Thank you all for already showing the way, in what you are doing with your businesses and in your philanthropy. In our most important pillars of impact around climate, people, peace and progress, the greatest risk is that our generation does nothing. The highest return is in of co-creating a positive future together so that every generation can thrive and prosper.

I wish everyone a very pleasant evening and an enriching week ahead. May we find new partnerships for action, in this year’s slogan for the Philanthropy Asia Summit, with the urgency and opportunity to renew our vibrant spring. Thank you.