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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

07 February 2023


Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Ms. Ou Boqian, Secretary-General of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat,

My colleague, Mr. Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Climate Action,  

Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you to the Second Forum on Carbon Neutrality Goals of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. I express my sincere appreciation to the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat and the Climate Action Team of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General for co-organizing this important forum.

The world remains off-track to meeting the global climate goals. The implementation of current targets by countries will lead to a 2.4 to 2.6°C temperature rise by the end of the century. Thus, “(t)he world still needs a giant leap on climate ambition,” as stated by Secretary-General António Guterres at COP27.

With the ambition to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan re-emphasized the requirements of 43 per cent reductions in emissions by 2030 relative to the 2019 level.

The Plan also called for accelerating the development, deployment and dissemination of technologies to transition towards low-emission energy systems. COP27 has reached an important agreement to establish a loss and damage fund.

World leaders gathered at the G20 Bali summit also welcomed this progress and reaffirmed their steadfast commitments to tackle climate change.

To realize these ambitions, the world needs the strong leadership of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, which together account for about 28 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The three countries have already committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 or 2060 and are making good progress in developing policies and technologies, particularly in major sectors such as energy, transport and steel production.

To advance the climate agenda beyond COP27, please allow me to share ESCAP’s thoughts. Firstly, we need concrete plans with specific measures. Announcing carbon neutrality pledges is the first step.

The pledges must be accompanied by clear roadmaps with corresponding short- and  medium-term targets in nationally determined contributions (NDC)  as well asspecific measures to achieve carbon neutrality at all levels of governance.

In this regard, I am very pleased to learn that the three countries have started the development of specific measures.

China has put forward the “1+N” policy framework to achieve peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. Japan has developed the Regional Decarbonization Roadmap to assist subnational decarbonization and revitalization. And the Republic of Korea is developing national and local carbon neutrality master plans.

Secondly, more focus should be given to key sectors that will lead to economy-wide low-carbon transitions and local-level climate actions. Cities are responsible for about 80 per cent of global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

This makes local-level climate actions a critical part of our efforts. Implementing specific measures for low-carbon transition in key sectors such as electricity, transport and steel production should also be accelerated.

Accordingly, our ambitions will not be achievable without dramatic progress in these sectors with targeted policies, financial investments as well as technological innovations.

Lastly, I urge the three countries to work together and with other countries in the region to realize these raised ambitions.

Noting national and subnational strategies and sectoral roadmaps are yet to be fully developed, cooperation at trilateral, regional and international levels will help accelerate low-carbon transitions.

Most regions and subregions in the world have established multilateral cooperation mechanisms on climate action, but North-East Asia is still at the early stage despite the critical needs.

ESCAP is firmly committed to supporting member States in reaching their carbon neutrality goals. ESCAP will broaden the dialogue of member States, highlighting the roles of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea in advancing the agenda.

I expect the outcomes of the Forum to be presented at the upcoming 79th session of the Commission in May of this year, which will be held under the theme of “Accelerating climate action in Asia and the Pacific to 2030 and beyond.”

The three countries can jointly support strengthening regional cooperation.

I also call on the countries to support the existing work of ESCAP in this subregion, including the annual International Forums on Low-Carbon Cities and North-East Asia power interconnections based on renewables.

It is very timely that we gather today to share insights on the carbon neutrality goals of the three countries. As economic powerhouses, the three countries are well-positioned to create stronger synergies and catalyze broader participation in climate actions across and beyond the Asia-Pacific region.

I believe the Forum today, could further boost region-wide dialogue and cooperation to expedite carbon neutrality action.

I wish you all success in your deliberations.

Thank you very much.

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