Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Energy in Asia and the Pacific

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Author(s):
ESCAP
28 Apr 2017
Pages:
83
ISBN:
9789210605700 (PDF)
http://dx.doi.org/10.18356/3da30e0e-en

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This publication is the theme study for the 73rd session of commission to be held in May 2017. The main purpose of the publication is to call on policymakers in Asia and the Pacific for urgent actions to transition national energy sectors to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly Goal 7. The energy sector transition is the only way to address the sizeable energy deficit which impede progress in energy access in a number of member countries. It will also address gaps between current commitments under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change and lack of coherent energy strategic and policy frameworks and actions held back progress of SDG7.

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  • Foreword

    The transition to sustainable energy is a cornerstone of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific. Energy is a common thread that connects multiple areas of development for countries across the region. For countries at every stage of development, energy assumes a critical importance. Ready access to affordable energy is essential for both economic growth and social development. Energy powers industry, moves people and goods through the region and underpins key sectors such as healthcare, education and ICT. Our future prosperity and well-being hinges on the capacity to supply an increasing amount of energy that is affordable, accessible and reliable.

  • Executive summary

    Countries in the Asia-Pacific region face multiple energy-related challenges, which are driving them to transform their energy systems. First, there is a need to increase energy supply by some 60 per cent by 2035 to meet the growing demand associated with the rapid urbanization, industrialization and economic growth taking place. Second, achieving national energy security is required to protect economies from price fluctuations and market instability and to reduce dependence on imported energy. Third, energy access needs to be provided to over 420 million people who lack access to electricity and to an additional 2.1 billion people who rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating. Finally, a shift to the use of low-carbon energy resources and diversification of the energy mix are required to enhance energy security, reduce environmental impacts, especially air pollution, and meet global commitments pertaining to climate change. Addressing these energy challenges is an integral part of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.

  • Acknowledgments

    The preparation of this publication was led by the Energy Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) under the overall direction and guidance of Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

  • Explanatory notes

    Analyses presented in the publication Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Energy in Asia and the Pacific are based on data and information available up to the end of March 2017.

  • Acronyms
  • Introduction

    Countries in Asia and the Pacific face multiple energy-related challenges. The first challenge is to increase energy supplies to meet the growing demand in a region undergoing rapid urbanization, industrialization and economic growth. The second is to improve energy access for the millions of people that lack access to electricity and the billions that rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating. The third is to shift to using lowcarbon-energy resources and to diversify the energy mix to enhance energy security, reduce environmental impacts, especially air pollution, and meet global commitments on climate change.

  • Energy transition is vital to sustainable development

    Energy transition is not only essential in order to reach the targets of SDG 7, but indeed, many of the other SDGs can benefit from the spillover effects of affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Moreover, fulfilling the commitments made in the Paris Agreement requires a rapid energy transition in the Asia-Pacific region. Energy transition has the potential to contribute to energy security; it can reduce energy poverty, leading to a wide range of social benefits and it can drastically reduce environmental and health hazards.

  • Progress and challenges towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7

    The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encompasses a vision for a future which is safe, resilient, and sustainable. The 2030 Agenda comprises 17 SDGs, which are integrated and indivisible. SDG 7 aims to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” and has targets to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, and double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, all by 2030. SDG 7 presents interlinkages with the other 16 SDGs. Lack of progress in one sector may hinder the development and growth of other sectors. Therefore, a coordinated and integrated approach to energy transition needs to address social, economic, and environmental dimensions during implementation of SDG 7.

  • Energy transition strategies for Asia and the Pacific

    A common debate in policy circles is whether market forces alone can move the energy transition forward — the position taken by free-market advocates — or whether government interventions are necessary. Considering the need to accelerate the energy transition, and the fact that markets have both inherent and manufactured flaws, the best governance is a strategic blend of market forces and public policies that fix or compensate for market imperfections.

  • Regional cooperation for sustainable energy

    Stronger and deeper regional energy cooperation can greatly contribute to the implementation of the 2030 agenda. Despite the enormous potential benefits, regional cooperation is proceeding at a relatively slow pace because of the need for stronger political will and greater mutual trust among countries, and, often, lack of capital investment (Lee, 2003). Currently, regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific has come mainly from subregional groups dealing with trade, transport, ICT and socioeconomic cooperation. Regional cooperation on energy is a relatively new area, which is gaining more and more attention from different subregions.

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