Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to welcome you all to the Regional Preparatory Meeting of the 3rd Asian and Pacific Energy Forum in Bangkok.
As the 10th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) concluded yesterday, please allow me to express my sincere gratitude to all member State representatives who are joining us today, making this year's APFSD a great success.
I also would like to warmly welcome to this meeting Dr. Poonpat Leesombatpiboon, Executive Director of the International Affairs Division of the Ministry of Energy of Thailand, to lead our discussions today, and Mr. Minoru Takada, Team Leader on Sustainable Energy from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs from New York.
The discussions at APFSD recognized the critical importance of energy in driving economic growth, improving livelihoods, and reducing poverty and more over, I would like to stress that SDG 7 is one of the SDGs under review for this year and it will be further discussed and deliberated at the upcoming HLPF in July.
One week ago, we launched our annual Asia and the Pacific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Progress Report 2023, and SDG7 was one of the areas that made the greatest progress in 2022.
Progress towards achieving Goal 7 was largely driven by achievements in access to electricity and international support for clean and renewable energy, while there was little progress in the share of renewable energy consumption.
This year’s report also warns that at the midpoint mark, the region has only achieved 14.4 per cent of the progress needed. At the current pace, Asia and the Pacific will miss 90 per cent of the 118 measurable SDG targets by 2030 unless efforts are significantly accelerated.
At the same time, it was also acknowledged that the complex challenges posed by climate change, rising energy demand and the interlinked issues of energy, food and finance. It is, therefore, imperative that we work together toward implementing innovative and sustainable solutions to address these challenges.
Today’s meeting is the first milepost event towards the 3rd Asian and Pacific Energy Forum, which will take place in October this year. I would like to take this opportunity to call participants to be actively engaged in all stages of the preparatory process.
The first and second Forums were instrumental in establishing a platform for regional dialogue and cooperation on energy issues.
We anticipate the 3rd Forum will build on this foundation and provide an opportunity for member States and other stakeholders to take stock of progress, reflect on current challenges and chart a course towards a sustainable energy future through a just energy transition.
The Ministerial Declaration, which will be the main outcome of the Forum, is a critical document that will set out a shared vision, goals and commitments for the region. Therefore, it is very essential that we take the time to discuss and refine the building blocks of this Declaration during this Preparatory Meeting.
I encourage all participants to engage actively in the discussions and share their ideas and insights. Your input will be critical in shaping the agenda for the Forum and ensuring its success in achieving the SDG 7 and the Paris Agreement targets in the region.
The theme of the 3rd Forum, “Building a Sustainable, Secure and interconnected Energy Future for Asia-Pacific,” will be ambitious, covering a wide range of topics, including access to clean and modern energy, energy connectivity and energy security through a just energy transition.
Our discussions today are critical to identifying the opportunities and challenges of the energy transition and how we can work together to address them. We hope to understand more about the common regional expectations for the successful implementation of the Forum’s objectives and outcomes.
To achieve this goal, we must recognize the need to strengthen effective collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders for SDG 7, from governance and policy to partnerships, capacity building, finance, investment, and other areas collectively decided by the member States.
I am confident that through your valuable insights and perspectives, we can ensure that the 3rd Asian and Pacific Energy Forum is a success and that the Ministerial Declaration is meaningful and actionable.
I wish you fruitful deliberations as well as success at this Regional Preparatory Meeting.