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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

12 May 2021

ESCAP

Excellencies,

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to address this Forum on the topic of global trends in energy markets and prospects for cooperation in Asia and the Pacific.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is the regional intergovernmental platform for the Asia-Pacific region.

Our organization works with member States to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and seeks regional solutions to common development challenges.

Given the centrality of energy to the 2030 Agenda, ESCAP is working on regional energy cooperation.

Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 as set out in SDG 7 is critical because it focuses on inequality, climate change and environmental degradation.

I would like to outline how our Commission is tackling the sustainable energy challenges we see across the region and touch on some of the regional cooperation underway in the sustainable energy transition.

Excellencies,

ESCAP’s work program on energy has two principal areas of focus – support for implementation of SDG 7, and enhancing regional energy connectivity.

To help put our region’s SDG7 progress back on track, we have been supporting countries through our technical advice, capacity building and research and analytics.

Our intergovernmental platforms provide opportunities for countries of the region to follow up and review the regional progress on SDG 7 and engage countries in regional cooperation efforts.

In consultation with experts and governments of the region, ESCAP has developed a regional road map for power system connectivity that aims to facilitate the interconnection of national power grids across the Asia-Pacific region.

Turkmenistan and its neighbours have tremendous potential to develop wind, solar, and hydroelectric generation.

The road map, which was endorsed by our member States at ESCAP’s 77th Commission Session, contains a set of strategies which can help countries work together to more rapidly, more securely, and more affordably deploy renewable energy resources.

ESCAP and the other UN regional commissions have, over the past few months, organized a series of round tables to discuss the future of the extractives industry in our regions.

As we transition away from carbon-intensive energy sources, demand for fossil fuels – in particular coal - will decrease while demand for critical raw materials and other inputs into the clean energy economy will increase.

For countries whose economies rely significantly on the extractives industry, this transition has the potential to be disruptive.

In our recently concluded regional round table meeting, however, participants from across the region focused on the tremendous opportunity the energy transition provides.

The discussions highlighted the new, more inclusive job opportunities and the potential to transform the extractives industry into a true engine for sustainable development.

Excellencies,

Turkmenistan is a world-leading exporter of gas.

As global efforts to mitigate climate change and air pollution need to step up, natural gas can play a role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and addressing local air quality problems.

In many countries, coal-to-gas switching can deliver emission reductions that help countries meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Switching to gas power generation can also support achieving high penetrations of variable renewable energy such as wind or solar, due to its flexible and dispatchable qualities, which can facilitate a system wide shift to low carbon energy.

In the transport sector, where vehicles are responsible for more than 20 per cent of global emissions, the use of Natural Gas Vehicles can reduce carbon dioxide compared to petroleum fueled vehicles.

In addition to climate change considerations, natural gas can assist countries ensure access to clean cooking through providing LPG to households for clean cooking and heating.

The use of gas reduces household air pollution emissions to safe levels compared to traditional cooking fuels such as firewood.

As the world as a whole need to rapidly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, the gas industry in Turkmenistan will have to tackle the challenges of leakage and flaring of gas is to be viable and low-cost abatement option in the medium term.

In the longer term, the gas sector will also need a credible decarbonization strategy that addresses the inherent opportunities, challenges and limitations of the current technological pathways.

Excellencies,

In response to these challenges I have outlined, regional cooperation is a key element of ESCAP’s response.

ESCAP hosts the only ministerial level platform for energy in the Asia-Pacific, the Asian and Pacific Energy Forum which meets every five years, starting in 2013.

Through this platform, energy ministers of the Asia-Pacific region have set out a regional agenda on energy for sustainable development.

When it last met in 2018, ministers recognized ESCAP as an important intergovernmental platform to facilitate regional energy cooperation which can mobilize investment, support establishing regional energy markets and improve trade levels.

I wish you well in your deliberations on the future of the oil and gas industries of Turkmenistan.

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this Forum.

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