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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

08 July 2020

Distinguished participants,

Colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to speak at this HLPF 2020 side event on advancing SDG7 in the time of COVID-19.

The socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 have been affecting daily lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

With a view to develop the COVID-19 recovery plan, decision-makers are underscoring the criticality of strengthening the health systems and economic upturn and designing policies for the clean energy transition.  

Distinguished colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen,

Asia and the Pacific economies are facing significant challenges in meeting various targets of SDG 7: ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Let me highlight some of the key of SDG7 challenges in Asia and the Pacific:

First, access to electricity is still a major challenge across the countries in the region, especially in the least developed countries and small island developing States. The data indicates that over 200 million people, around 5% of the region’s population, have no access to electricity yet.

Second, a vast majority of the region’s population, around 1.8 billion people, or nearly 40%, still rely on polluting and unhealthy cooking fuels and technologies, which is widespread in rural areas with a disproportionate impact on women and children.

Third, the Asia-Pacific region is responsible for almost 60% of global total carbon dioxide emissions, nearly two-thirds of which are from energy sector. At the same time, the region accounted for about 80% of the world’s coal consumption.

 

Distinguished colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen,

Let us consider how we can find solutions to these challenges within the broad spectrum of the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  I would like to highlight three possible solutions:

Let us work with policymakers and industry leaders in navigating the national energy access, transition and alignment with decarbonisation efforts and SDG7 targets. ESCAP is working with several national agencies and partners in the development of national implementation roadmaps on SDG7.

We must now invest more in technologies in areas such as solar, wind, energy storage and energy efficiency. With the new opportunities in areas such as blockchain, energy storage and hydrogen technology, governments are able to expand the scope of partnership with private sectors and innovators in scaling-up the sustainable energy transition.

Let us also focus on expanding the role of renewable energy within the energy mix. Greater investment, a supportive policy environment and innovative business models are needed to accelerate the transition towards a cleaner energy future.

 

Distinguished colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen,

These interactions are important to the implementation of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2024 and to accelerate the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs.

Going forward, ESCAP stands ready to collaborate and leverage the intergovernmental forums and other stakeholders’ engagements to learn from each other’s best practices, knowledge and experiences in advancing energy transition and sustainable development goals in Asia and the Pacific and beyond.

I urge governments and other stakeholders to forge a stronger regional partnership in delivering solution-oriented strategies for SDG7 for shaping our future.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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