Statement at the Thematic Forum of Green Silk Road of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation

Distinguished participants,

The Belt and Road Initiative could potentially bring benefits in infrastructure connectivity and beyond. Countries participated in the BRI could also be connected through new technologies and business models which support sustainable and low-carbon development. This vision underpins the “Green Belt and Road” initiative. Prudently implemented, this could potentially contribute to supporting sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.

Sustainability considerations are becoming ever more important. The region is urbanizing at unprecedented speed. At a time when the impacts of climate change are increasingly forcefully felt, our megacities are growing, adding further to our greenhouse gas emissions. As the middle class has dramatically expanded, people’s expectations for a better quality of life are often linked to increased energy consumption. The International Energy Agency estimates that by the end of the century, two thirds of households globally will have an air conditioner. The demand for this so called ‘cooling energy’ will increase more than thirty-fold.

This highlights the importance of initiatives such as the BRI Green Lighting Initiative and the BRI Green Cooling Initiative. Promoting better cooling efficiency can have a major positive impact. It can increase the affordability of cooling for low income and vulnerable people. Lower emissions and energy demand, as well as reduced pressure on electricity networks are other benefits.

We therefore welcome the launch of the BRI Green Lighting Initiative and BRI Green Cooling Initiative.

We must use these to deepen the collaboration of countries in the Asia Pacific Region and Globally on policy, technology and market transformation for lighting and cooling efficiency. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UN ESCAP) proposes to support this process in three main areas.

First, we will build a platform for policy dialogue and information sharing for clean cooling among the participating countries. This will encourage an integrated approach to the uptake of best practices in policy and technology across government.

Second, we will conduct capacity building, exchange best practices on energy efficiency policies and standards, and foster collaboration to enable a stronger policy framework for clean cooling.

Third, we will coordinate efforts with international partners, such as G20 Energy Efficiency Leading Programme, Sustainable Energy for All and the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program.

We look forward to joining forces with stakeholders in China, the Asia Pacific Region and globally. Together, we can accelerate progress towards sustainable, clean and affordable energy in Asia and the Pacific.

Thank you for your attention and I wish you a successful forum.