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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

22 September 2021

ES speech

Hon. Minister Ms. Pampha Bhusal, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation 

Hon. Dr. Surendra Labh Karna, Member, Planning Commission 

Ms. Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal 

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,   

I would like to welcome you to this launch of the Nepal roadmap for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7.  

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of Nepal, particularly to the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, under the leadership of the Honourable Minister Ms. Pampha Bhusal, for your continued support and guidance to develop the SDG 7 roadmap.  

SDG 7 is at the heart of SDGs. Fulfilling this goal is important to ensure a sustainable energy future as well as to support the achievement of many other SDGs. Transitioning the energy sector to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the objectives of the Paris Agreement is a complex and challenging task for policymakers worldwide.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has added even more challenges. Economic disruptions spurred by the pandemic are causing severe pressure on livelihoods, triggering widespread hardships for citizens. The tightening fiscal space has reduced the ability of governments to ramp up investments in the sustainable energy transition.  

For Nepal, as a land-locked developing country with few fossil fuel reserves, transitioning the energy sector to achieve the SDG 7 targets and Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) is even more important. SDG 7 offers the right framework - not only to achieve the targets for energy access, renewable energy and energy efficiency – but also to enhance energy security and reduce reliance on imported energy. 

Transitioning to a sustainable, secure and least-cost energy system can form a key part of the COVID-19 recovery and pave the way for a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable society.  

Achieving universal access to clean cooking fuels and technologies by 2030 remains the most significant challenge for Nepal, as more than half of the population is still cooking with traditional biomass cookstoves that produce harmful indoor pollution. Solution for cooking stoves’ source of energy from Nepal’s cheap and carbon-free electricity potentially could close the remaining clean cooking gap. 

I am aware that the Government has been working to identify technological options and policy measures to attain this target. Nepal’s complex geographical terrain poses a major challenge to rural electrification and connecting the remaining population to electricity network. Increased use of indigenous renewable energy, such as hydro and solar, offers an opportunity to scale up self-sufficient decentralized electrification systems reaching the last mile for electrification.  

Nepal’s endowment of renewable energy resources – not only hydropower but also solar and biomass - gives the country the opportunity to be a leader of a green transformation built on sustainable and modern energy for all. 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, 

The roadmap offers a holistic approach to energy transition not only for the power sector but it covers the entire economy. It also provides an opportunity to leverage a least-cost sustainable energy development pathway and direct the investment savings to other critical sectors – such as healthcare – in building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This roadmap is not the endpoint of the collaboration between ESCAP and the Government of Nepal. Rather, we will be ready to continue our collaboration to ensure that the recommendations are implemented to achieve the SDG 7 targets by 2030.  

I have requested my colleagues from the Energy Division and the subregional office for South and South-West Asia to remain in close contact with the Government of Nepal to discuss opportunities for further collaboration.  

I am confident that Nepal will continue to lead the way in building a secure, resilient and sustainable energy future for the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.  

Thank you very much. 

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