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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

16 July 2023

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

On behalf of ESCAP, allow me to highlight the key issues and prospects for how the region is tackling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in tandem with action on climate change.

The Asia-Pacific region is responsible for more than half of the world’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Given the region’s dynamism in terms of economic and population growth, this share is likely to increase. For this reason, the trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions and the global prospects of keeping within the Paris targets, will be heavily influenced by actions in Asia and the Pacific.

Across the region and indeed the world, much more needs to be done on the SDGs and climate change.

ESCAP’s 2023 SDG Progress report highlighted that, among the 17 SDGs, Goal 13 on climate action was furthest behind. The countries of the Asia-Pacific region are behind on their emission reduction targets, and the impact and severity of climate related disasters are growing.

As energy is the core element in climate change mitigation, it is important to note that the Goal 7 targets are progressing more strongly but will not be reached by 2030 without an increasing emphasis on clean cooking and acceleration of renewable energy and energy efficiency targets.

The synergy between climate change action and SDGs can be seen most strongly in the sustainable energy area. We know that fossil fuels are the key contributor to climate change. Replacing these with renewables, using energy more efficiently and switching to lower carbon alternatives are the urgent prescriptions to the climate crisis.

This is where Asia and the Pacific has the most potential to capitalize on clean energy. This is where several of its strengths can be mobilized to provide solutions to many of the issues we are discussing.

As the region is the global centre for renewable energy technology development and manufacturing, it will play a vital role as a clean energy technology hub to support the global move to a low carbon future.

It is the enormous untapped potential of renewable energy that can be harnessed through enhanced policy frameworks, increased finance and by interconnecting the region’s power grids.

Energy efficiency is another untapped potential for the region. Still, it needs dramatically more policy commitment from governments if it is to realize its full potential in support of SDG7 and fulfilling the NDCs.

ESCAP has been working to realize many of these opportunities. We have developed a regional roadmap for power grid connectivity. This plan, agreed to by our member States, sets out nine strategies to realize a vision of an interconnected Asia-Pacific region that allows more sharing of renewable energy resources across borders.

We have partnered with 16 countries to develop SDG 7 roadmaps, which examine the SDG 7 and NDC achievement gaps and provide optimized policy and technology pathways to ensure joined up SDG and climate responses.

I welcome this conference which is bringing together leading experts from the global regions to share some of their ideas and successes in driving the SDGs and climate agendas forward together.

ESCAP stands ready to work with you in these important efforts.

Thank you.

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