Excellency Mr. Lyonpo Loknath Sharma, Minister of Economic Affairs of the Royal Government of Bhutan,
Ms. Karla Hershey, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Bhutan,
Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to welcome you to this launch of the SDG7 Roadmap for Bhutan.
Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Asia and the Pacific has been working steadfastly to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. At heart is the Goal on energy – SDG7 – to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
As a landlocked country, Bhutan faces an array of challenges to secure the supply of its energy resources, in particular, to meet the heating and transport energy demand. The rising emissions from its energy sector also poses risks to Bhutan continuing its carbon-neutral status in the long term.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected Bhutan’s economy and people’s livelihoods. Transitioning to a sustainable, secure and least-cost energy system can form a key part of the COVID-19 recovery and pave the way for a more secure, inclusive and sustainable energy future.
Progressing the transition to sustainable energy, guided by SDG7, offers a means to increase the security of the energy sector, such as by increasing energy efficiency across the economy and rapidly increasing electrification of the transport system.
Bhutan is fortunate in its endowment of renewable energy resources, including hydropower, solar and biomass. Thus, Bhutan is well-positioned to be a leader of a green transformation, not only domestically but also by exporting renewable electricity to neighbours. Carbon-free electricity is also a great opportunity for Bhutan to green its industry and transport sectors.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Bhutan has demonstrated its leadership by developing one of the first SDG7 roadmaps in the region. I would like to congratulate the Government for achieving this very important milestone.
This roadmap presents a set of technological options and recommended policy measures that form a pathway for Bhutan to achieve SDG7.
It suggests replacing biomass-based heating systems in the residential sector with sustainable and clean heating technologies. This will bring multiple benefits, including reducing energy consumption, eliminating health impacts from indoor air pollution, increasing productivity and leading to gender empowerment.
The roadmap has recommended a focus on energy efficiency measures in the industry and transport sectors. Ambitious policy actions for the transport sector are critical for Bhutan to achieve the SDG 7 energy efficiency target while contributing towards climate mitigation.
The roadmap presents a detailed economic analysis for the energy transition to help policymakers make informed decisions. It offers a number of measures to leverage the least-cost sustainable energy development and direct the investment savings to other critical sectors, which will help recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of Bhutan, particularly to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, for its continued leadership, cooperation and support in developing the SDG7 roadmap.
This roadmap is not the endpoint of the collaboration between ESCAP and the Government of Bhutan. Rather ESCAP will seek future opportunities for collaboration to ensure that the recommendations are implemented in achieving the SDG7 targets by 2030.
I am confident that Bhutan will continue to lead the way in building a secure, greener and sustainable energy future for the region and beyond.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank the Honourable Minister, Mr. Lyonpo Loknath Sharma, again for officially launching this SDG 7 Roadmap.
We appreciate your support for regional cooperation on sustainable energy and count on your continued leadership.
Thank you very much.