Ministers and high-level officials from countries in Asia and the Pacific have committed to scale up their share of renewables, increase energy efficiency, and streamline the use of inefficient fossil fuels, to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy in the region.
At the Second Asian and Pacific Energy Forum (APEF2) in Bangkok today, countries adopted a Ministerial Declaration, which lays out a series of actions to encourage the sustainable use of energy, including through greater regional cooperation to facilitate cross-border infrastructure and energy trade to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Forum provided a platform for governments, the UN system, private companies, international organizations, and civil society organizations to review the region’s implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) on affordable and clean energy. The Forum also assessed the interlinkages between SDG7 and other SDGs, along with the advantages and requirements of connectivity in the context of regional integration, and the benefits for Countries with Special Needs.
Delegates concluded that Asia and the Pacific has made remarkable progress on universal access to electricity, with renewable energy surpassing price benchmarks that were only expected in 2020. However, greater efforts are needed throughout the region to achieve targets on reliance on clean fuel and renewable energy, and energy efficiency.
Speaking at the opening of the two-day forum, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar acknowledged the growing recognition by governments, the private sector and investors, that a sustainable, low carbon energy system is the only option to “safeguard our future.”
“There is a palpable sense of the enormous opportunities ahead that can transform the energy scene. The region’s energy intensity has continued to decline but our enormous energy efficiency potential has yet to be fulfilled,” she said. “Asia-Pacific’s tradition and capacity to forge regional cooperation for mutual gain are well known, and our contribution will steer the global progress towards a world that uses energy sustainably.”
HE. Mr Virasakdi Futrakul, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thailand added, “As the Asia-Pacific region is projected to account for two thirds of global energy between now and 2040, energy diversification should be our primary goal to ensure a sustainable supply of energy to meet such strong demand. By using energy more efficiently and sustainably, we can build a society that is more inclusive, a society in in which no one is left behind.”
H.E. Mr. Kirill Molodtsov, Deputy Minister of Energy, Russian Federation further underscored the importance of regional collaboration in accelerating the transition towards sustainable energy in Asia and the Pacific.
"Through ESCAP, we have begun to closely collaborate towards a sustainable energy transition but a lot more work remains to be done. I hope our diversity and mutual understanding will enable us to move forward on these efforts," he said.
APEF2 Chair H.E Mr. Awais Ahmad Leghari, Federal Minister for Energy, Power Division, Pakistan also recognized national policy challenges, noting that the pace of energy transition for developing countries largely depends upon the provision of “finance and technology transfer.”
“Managing the transition towards low-carbon and sustainable growth pathways has never been so imperative,” he said. “Developing countries, such as Pakistan, are already doing whatever they can to realize the SDG 7, within the limited realm of their national budgets and traditional technological base. However, they cannot manage this transition without the help of global community.”
The Forum was held from 3 to 5 April, at the United Nations Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.
For more information visit: http://www.unescap.org/intergovernmental-meetings/apef2
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