Closing remarks at ESCAP Asia and Pacific Energy Forum (APEF) 2018

Delivered at ESCAP Asia and Pacific Energy Forum in Bangkok, Thailand

Distinguished delegates,

The second Asia and Pacific Energy Forum has helped to develop a mutual understanding of how to accelerate and broaden the energy transition across the region to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and within that context support low carbon pathways. As we work to achieve greater momentum, three key points stand out from our deliberations.

First, Asia and the Pacific has started on the journey to SDG7. We have heard the progressive steps countries are taking towards energy transition: increasing renewables, boosting energy efficiency and ensuring universal access to modern energy.

Second, our projections indicate current policies will be insufficient. While electrification has proceeded at a very encouraging pace, there has been slow progress in reducing the number of people, currently around 2 billion, without access to clean cooking fuels. We need to develop tailored solutions using LPG supply, biogas and improved cookstoves. Off grid facilities, promoting clean cooking systems and improving energy efficiency must be part of the solution.

Third, sufficient financing is critical. More resources are required to achieve this goal by 2030. Policymakers carry an important responsibility in this regard. But your discussions have emphasized a strongly engaged private sector bringing capital, technology and expertise must play a leading role. The government-business dialogue conducted at this forum provided compelling insights into new modes of engagement as well as some of the frontier technologies that are finding their way into the energy space.

While regional energy cooperation is gathering momentum in our region, it is clear we have only just begun tapping its potential. There is a clear desire to work together on a common energy agenda that addresses energy sustainability, transboundary issues and the broader sustainable development agenda. Many delegates have shared their progress towards cross-border energy connectivity and how this is being harnessed to support the energy transition. We have been working and will continue to work on a Roadmap on energy connectivity and it will hopefully be presented at the next session of the Energy Committee. This is an area where we need better understanding and deeper engagement. ESCAP will take up these matters in the Committee on Energy and its Expert Working Groups.

You can count on us to following up on the deliberations we have had over the last three days. Next month, our annual Commission will convene, gathering leaders from across the region. We will use this opportunity to inform ESCAP member States of the APEF outcomes and propose to endorse them as a resolution. Subsequently, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations will consider the APEF outcomes as part of the High-Level Political Forum in July 2018 which will review the global progress made on achieving SDG7. This will provide the Asia-Pacific perspective to the global dialogue and reinforce the region’s continued leadership on sustainable energy.

I would like to thank you all for your active participation in APEF 2018 and look forward to working with you to translate these plans into action.

I wish you all a safe journey home.