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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

28 October 2021


Excellency Mr. Jone Usamate, Minister for Infrastructure and Meteorological Services of Fiji

Excellency Mr. Ganesh Prasad Dhakal, Ambassador of Nepal to Thailand

Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you to the Expert Working Group on Universal Access to Modern Energy Services, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Cleaner Use of Fossil Fuels.

Energy demand in this region has almost doubled since 2000 and Asia and the Pacific continue to rank the highest among global regions in their energy intensity. It is projected that the total global energy demand by 2040 will increase by 30 per cent and this region will account for two-thirds of that growth. 

At the same time, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused both energy supply and demand shocks across society, putting energy systems under great pressure.

Not only that, but economic disruptions also spurred by the pandemic are triggering widespread hardships for citizens while tightening fiscal space has reduced the ability of governments to ramp up investments in the sustainable energy transition.

As we work together to recover from the pandemic, we need to support our members to respond to the long-term challenge of building back better.

Accelerating progress on SDG 7 on energy offers an opportunity to assist countries in the region to recover from the pandemic towards a cleaner and low carbon future.

In this context, ESCAP has added its voice to advocate increased ambition and investments in reaching the targets set out under SDG 7 and the Paris Agreement.

ESCAP has been supporting its members in developing their SDG 7 roadmaps using NEXSTEP, a uniquely developed energy planning tool. This initiative has resulted in ten roadmaps being completed and several others under development across the region.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

Globally, the energy transition has been evolving rapidly. Moving towards net zero-emission, stopping investment in new coal-fired power plants and rapid electrification of the transport sector are some emerging conversations in the energy sector. The number of countries committing and delivering a plan for net zero emission is growing.

We need to prepare our region to embrace the realities of the climate crisis. COP26, which starts in three days, will add to the calls for action already being made in our region and we hope it will lead to further progress in meeting the climate targets countries have signed up to.  

I hope this Working Group will serve as an opportunity to further strengthen ESCAP’s support to its members in developing SDG 7 roadmaps as well as to widen the scope of the energy transition, including net zero-emission, by the middle of this century.

The SDG 7 roadmaps are not the endpoint of the collaboration between ESCAP and the countries that have developed them.  Rather, we will be ready and committed to continuing our collaboration to ensure that the recommendations from the roadmaps are duly implemented.

We must come together and strengthen solidarity for an inclusive, resilient and sustainable future for all.

I hope you all have fruitful deliberations.

Thank you very much.

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