United Nations ESCAP to Launch Study on Energy Security in Asia and the Pacific

With the price of oil continuing to rise, securing energy supplies to sustain economic growth and social development has become an issue of increasing concern for many countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Decisions of governments will not only have an immediate economic and social impact but lasting implications for future generations.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in a comprehensive study entitled “Energy Security and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific,” says a new sustainable energy paradigm is needed if countries in Asia and the Pacific are to meet their long-term development goals without compromising the environmental sustainability of the region.

The Asia-Pacific region is lagging in access to energy services - 1.7 billion people in the region are using traditional biomass and one billion people still lack access to electricity. The region has the largest number of victims from air pollution caused by burning biomass.

The study explores the current status of energy in the region, the role that energy plays in development, and the financial requirements of meeting the region’s growing energy needs. It also considers the impact of energy on society and the environment, and presents options and policies that would allow countries to achieve economic development without depleting the region’s natural resources.

An embargoed press launch of the report will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, 18 April, 2008, at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT).

Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, and Mr. Rae Kwon Chung, Chief of ESCAP’s Environment and Sustainable Development Division, will present the study.

The report is the theme study for the 64th Session of ESCAP and will be officially released at a Ministerial Roundtable on energy security at the UN Conference Centre in Bangkok on Monday, 28 April, at 1030 AM.