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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

20 October 2023

Excellencies, Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to participate in this important event.

We are here to continue an important discussion about how to leverage power system connectivity as a tool for sustainable development.

As today is the last day of the 3rd Asian and Pacific Energy Forum and Asia-Pacific Energy Week, I think it is appropriate that we spend some time reflecting on how we as a region can collaborate to accelerate progress on power system connectivity for sustainable development.

In 2021, ESCAP member States endorsed the Regional Road Map on Power System Connectivity.

This document stands out as a truly ambitious vision for the Asia-Pacific region: that by interlinking our power grids, we can create a more reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity supply.

The Road Map contains nine strategies that cover areas such as cooperating on power system planning, financing and developing cross-border infrastructure and how to securely and efficiently operate integrated power systems.

While all the Road Map strategies are valuable, Strategy 9 stands out for making explicit the need to ensure the coherence of energy connectivity initiatives and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It emphasizes not only the urgent need to address the targets of Goal 7 on affordable and clean energy, access to modern energy resources but also the need to stimulate job creation and mitigate any potential negative impacts and further contributions to energy transition and climate action.

Strategy 9 also sets a milestone to create principles to enable the assessment of interconnection projects against economic outcomes, efficiency and sustainability criteria and to ensure coherence with the SDGs.

Working with the Expert Working Group on Energy Connectivity and with the financial support of China and the Republic of Korea, ESCAP has been actively engaged in two projects that seek to put this strategy into practice: the Green Power Corridor Framework and the Green Power Corridor Roadmap for North-east Asia.

A Green Power Corridor is any connectivity initiative that seeks to provide an enabling institutional, financial, regulatory, political and social environment to strengthen power system connectivity for increased access to clean, affordable, and secure electricity supply.

Allow me to give an example of why we think this approach is a useful way of approaching the implementation of Strategy 9. In North-East Asia, regional cooperation on power grid connectivity has not yet fully taken off.

Our Green Power Corridor Road Map for North-East Asia, which we’ll publish next month, focuses on creating a comprehensive, relevant and actionable vision for enhanced power system connectivity that is relevant in all national contexts.

In other words, it is a road map that lays the foundation for a secure and affordable energy transition across North-East Asia while aligning seamlessly with national policy objectives on energy transition.

For example, while the Corridor is envisioned to extend across jurisdictional borders, it does not necessarily have to extend across national ones.

The Corridor can help unlock the potential to develop and integrate renewable energy at the national level while nevertheless leaving the door open to international connectivity at some point in the future.

Leveraging insights gleaned from the Road Map and expert consultations, the Green Power Corridor Framework aims to create a comprehensive set of principles and metrics to empower nations to utilize power system connectivity as a tool for expediting the energy transition while reducing carbon emissions from the power sector.

You will hear more about the Framework later in this event. The Corridor work represents our efforts to put Road Map Strategies into action.

Today, we are seeking to engage in an in-depth discussion on how to enable sustainable power system connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

This conversation will inform our continued work on and implementation of the Framework, including working with partners next year to apply the Framework to existing connectivity initiatives in the region.

We are pleased to have representatives from different subregions and international organizations to share insights into remarkable efforts to develop regional power grids, establish multilateral power trading, facilitate the cross-border trade of renewable energy resources, and foster collaboration among critical stakeholders within the power sector.

These initiatives exemplify tangible progress towards sustainable power system connectivity that our region is making and will point the way forward to increased progress.

In closing, I extend my profound gratitude to all participants and speakers who have joined us on this journey towards sustainable development through energy connectivity.

Thank you, and I wish us all a fruitful discussion.

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