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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

14 November 2022


Distinguished speakers and participants,

It is my great pleasure to deliver the keynote speech at this side event of the Institute For Global Environment Strategies (IGES), which has been a key partner of ESCAP for supporting sustainable development and climate action in Asia and the Pacific.

As you are well aware, nowhere is the urgency for climate action more apparent than in the Asia-Pacific region. The region is responsible for over half of the global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and it continues to increase.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) synthesis report of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) estimated that the global greenhouse gas emissions level in 2030 is about 11 per cent that of 2010 level.

However, the increase in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be much higher, about 16 per cent, according to a regional assessment released two weeks ago by ESCAP and UNEP.

Meanwhile, the region is home to six of the top 10 countries that have been most impacted by climate related disasters over the last two decades.  

Although Glasgow Climate Pact reconfirmed the requirement to reduce global emissions by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5 °C, we are significantly behind the trajectory needed to stay with this safe pathway. Hence, every fraction of a degree means greater damage, greater loss and greater vulnerability.

However, we are witnessing a change. About 40 countries in Asia and the Pacific have made carbon neutrality pledges, and most of them have advanced in developing national laws, strategies and implementation plans.

ASEAN countries are no exception in pursuing low carbon and net zero transition. Nine countries (except for the Philippines) have announced their carbon neutrality targets. Amongst, four countries have well elaborated their detailed strategies, such as Cambodia’s Long-Term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality, Indonesia’s Long-Term Strategy for Low Carbon and Climate Resilience 2050, Singapore’s Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy and Thailand’s Mid-century Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy.

Distinguished speakers and participants,

A key to achieving the carbon neutrality goal is certainly transiting to low and zero carbon energy as well as increasing energy efficiency.

Besides energy transition, a critical approach highlighted in the national strategies is the full utilization of nature-based solutions. It is a drastic increase in net sink in forestry and land uses, for example, removals of 120 metric tons (Mt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Thailand and 50Mt in Cambodia in 2050.

This reaffirms the critical need for effectively managing the interlinkage of land and forest management and climate change.

I am also pleased to underline that countries well recognize the economic benefits of enhanced climate action and net-zero transition.

Indonesia’s net zero emission scenario presents more economic benefits compared to the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario through increasing income per capita, about 2.5 times higher rate, and sustainable economic growth, 3-4 per cent higher per year as close to 2050.

Projections of such economic benefits are common among the countries. This indicates that building a critical mass for moving countries towards low carbon and net zero pathways requires multilateral cooperation.

Having shown by the projections for 2030 emissions, we are in a race against time.

In this regard, I would like to bring your attention to the need of building a regional platform in Asia-Pacific to facilitate the exchange of policies, best practices and technology.

Unlike many other regions, the Asia-Pacific region lacks such a platform despite its urgency.

ESCAP stands ready to support multilateral and regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific.

I look forward to your participation in mobilizing regional climate action.

Thank you very much

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