Expert Group Meeting: Preparation for the Asian Pacific Energy Forum (2013)

21 Nov 2012
Bangkok, Thailand

At its sixty-seventh session held in Bangkok, on 19-25 May 2011, ESCAP adopted resolution 67/2 “Promoting regional cooperation for enhanced energy security and the sustainable use of energy in Asia and the Pacific”, which requested the Executive Secretary to convene, in 2013, the Asian and Pacific Energy Forum at the ministerial level to discuss the progress achieved in the Asia-Pacific region in addressing the energy security challenges at the regional, national and household levels, and to facilitate continuous dialogue among member States with a view to enhancing energy security and working towards sustainable development. The Forum aims to achieve its goals by adopting a Ministerial Declaration and a Regional Action Plan which will outline the shared regional vision for cooperation on energy security and the sustainable use of energy.

Most of the countries in Asia-Pacific are net importers of oil. Besides having a negative environmental impact, a high import dependence on fossil-fuel makes countries in the region vulnerable to global financial and economic crises. A recurring exposure to fuel shocks, along with high food prices, has pushed social and economic gains back by a few years and, made the task of achieving the MDGs, a moving target. Furthermore, the interdependencies between water, food and energy cannot be ignored when addressing issues at household and national levels, therefore addressing the nexus between food-water-energy is crucial in achieving sustainable social and economic development in the Asia-Pacific region.

At the Rio+20 Conference, the Secretary-General’s initiative on Sustainable Energy for All was noted, with focus on access to energy, energy efficiency and renewable energies. The member States have recognized the importance of the activities in broader energy related matters, in eradicating poverty and leading towards sustainable development and global prosperity and reaffirmed their support for the implementation of national and sub national policies and strategies using an appropriate energy mix to meet development needs, including through increased use of renewable energy sources and other low-emission technologies.

Regional cooperation represents a significant step in promoting a balanced integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in their respective regions. There is an urgent need to ensure the effective linkages among global, regional, sub regional and national processes to advance sustainable development, through more efficient and effective capacity-building, development and implementation of regional agreements and exchange of information, best practices and lessons learned.

The key objectives of this EGM are to:
- identify regional and sub regional perspectives and the follow-up initiatives
- develop the framework for the APEF 2013 and agree on its focus areas – energy connectivity, cooperation, exchange and trade, access to energy services, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the nexus: energy-water-food
- provide consultative support to prepare the following documents towards APEF 2013 - Background Document, a Ministerial Declaration and a Regional Action Plan

The preparatory process for this EGM through the months of October and November 2012 consists of consultation meetings led by ESCAP Bangkok, ESCAP’s Subregional
Offices (SROs) and inter-governmental organizations:

1) South-East Asia: ESCAP in Nonthaburi, Thailand on 3-5 October 2012
2) Pacific: ESCAP Pacific Operations Center (EPO), Nadi, Fiji on 8-9 October 2012
3) North and Central Asia: Subregional Office for North and Central Asia (SONCA), Moscow, Russian Federation on 25-26 October 2012
4) South and South-West Asia: Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia (SRO-SSWA), New Delhi, India on 6-7 November 2012
5) East and North-East Asia: Subregional Office for East and North-East Asia (SRO-ENEA), Incheon, Republic of Korea on 12-13 November 2012

Building on the outcomes from the first EGM in September 2011, and the outcomes from subsequent subregional consultative process, this EGM is planned in Bangkok from 21- 23 November 2012.