Distinguished participants, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to address this Regional Ministerial for Asia and the Pacific at the third Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is fully supportive of the mission of ISA. We recognize the transformative role that solar energy can play in this century. The message of “One Sun, one world, one grid” captures very succinctly the opportunities provided by solar energy, regional cooperation and energy connectivity. I wish to underscore our appreciation to the Governments of India and France for their initiative in founding ISA.
ESCAP, as the regional arm of the United Nations in the Asia-Pacific region is working to progress the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to ensure a future with a safe climate that allows all people of the Asia-Pacific to reach their full potential.
We are working with member States to support the achievement of SDG7 on sustainable energy using our intergovernmental platform, supported by technical assistance, capacity building and advisory services. We are supporting countries towards reaching the SDG7 targets by developing tailored national roadmaps that set out the policies and technologies needed to reach these targets.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Solar energy can play an important role in creating the future envisaged by the SDGs. It can meet our energy needs without adding carbon to the atmosphere. Because of ongoing technology improvements, it can do so at an affordable cost. It can provide distributed energy to the rural poor as well as at industrial scale to major economies. But solar is more than decarbonization. It can drive many of social and environmental outcomes that are embedded in SDGs. It can create jobs, bring electricity to villages, enable better telecommunications, healthcare and education for remote areas, improving lives and lifting people out of poverty.
India, the host country of ISA, through its visionary solar programs has deployed almost 36 gigawatts of solar power to date and is a leading example of how all the advantages of solar can be realized. India is now a hub not just of solar project development, but of solar financing, expertise and innovation.
As a global body, ISA aims to assist countries in the Sunbelt to tap into the benefits of solar energy. Many of these sunbelt countries are located in Asia and the Pacific. In most cases, developing countries have increased their demands for energy. This gives us a golden opportunity that we cannot ignore. The 21st Century will be a solar powered century. Our challenge is to accelerate this transition and ensure the countries that can benefit from solar power are not left behind.
Thank you very much.