East, North-East Asia countries call for strengthening of energy security and cooperation

Hydro windmill complex on the sea.  Photo Credit: Kibae Park/Sipa Press

Countries from East and North-East Asia, comprising some of the world’s largest energy consumers, ended two days of consultations at a United Nations-led energy security forum, confirming the critical need for enhanced cooperation across the region.

Over 30 participants from China, Japan, Mongolia, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation took part in the "East and North-East Asia Consultation Meeting for Asia-Pacific Energy Forum" as the last in a series of five subregional Consultation Meetings being organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia (ESCAP) ahead of the ministerial-level Asian and Pacific Energy Forum (APEF) to be held on 27-30 May 2013 in Vladivostok, Russian Federation.

In welcome remarks, Mr. Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Director, ESCAP Subregional Office for East and North-East Asia, emphasised that four North-East Asian countries - China, the Russian Federation, Japan and the Republic of Korea - are amongst the world’s top-ten energy consumers. Almost five million tons of oil is pumped up for shipping to China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, placing these three countries on the list of top five net oil importers in the world.” In this regard, he underscored the need to “quickly steer our direction towards a greener and cleaner path and accelerate the speed”, and expressed his expectation for subregional-level activities subsequent to APEF.

In his introductory remarks, Mr. Rae Kwon Chung, Director, Environment and Development Division, ESCAP, underlined the importance for the subregion to formulate forward-looking messages and agendas for APEF while identifying the subregion’s unique characteristics through this consultation meeting.

During the meeting participants discussed common challenges and opportunities in the area of energy security and sustainable use of energy within East and North-East Asia. Participants recognized that developing energy efficiency improvements, fossil fuel clean technologies, and renewable energy development are fundamental to subregional energy security.

Recommendations from the meeting included making a renewed and more effective institutional design for energy security and achieving sustainable use of energy through strengthening political will for cooperation through ministerial level meetings.

Participants also recommended increasing the use of the lowest-carbon emitting fossil fuels, strengthening cooperation on cross-border energy infrastructure, strengthening capacity building and R&D cooperation and encouraging transfer of technology and knowledge in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy and cleaner fossil fuel combustion.

The Incheon Meeting follows similar consultations held in New Delhi for the South-West Asia subregion, in Bangkok for the South-East Asia subregion, in Nadi, Fiji for the Pacific subregion and in Moscow for the North and Central Asia subregion. Representatives of each subregional Consultation Meeting will present the respective outcomes at the “Expert Group Meeting on Sustainable Energy Development in Asia and the Pacific” to be held in Bangkok from 21 to 23 November 2012.