IRENA, ESCAP Ramp Up Efforts to Improve Clean Energy Accessibility in APAC Region amid Covid-19

This is significant as the Asia-Pacific region is home to almost half of the world’s population, and is largely dependent on fossil fuels.

IRENA

With an aim to jointly work towards improving access to sustainable energy across the Asia-Pacific region, Abu Dhabi-headquartered International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), a regional intergovernmental platform, have joined hands and will provide recommendations to governments on positioning energy transition as an integral part of the immediate response to the coronavirus crisis.

Further, the two organizations will seek to bolster the provision of low-cost, sustainable energy to prepare health systems for vaccine delivery and rebuild economies.

Suggesting on various measures to be taken by policymakers towards sustainability during Covid-19, Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, said that “the pandemic is an opportunity for us to rethink our economic growth path that has come at a heavy cost to the people and planet.”

This is significant as the Asia-Pacific region is home to almost half of the world’s population, and is largely dependent on fossil fuels.

She further added “to bring about a fundamental shift for the energy transition, we need to adopt the motto of ‘no more business as usual’ for all stakeholders. Policymakers should not lose sight of the looming climate crisis, but rather design economic stimulus packages with social inclusion and environmental sustainability built into every decision in particular sustainable energy development.”

Also, nearly 200 million people in the Asia Pacific region live without electricity and 1.2 billion people without access to clean cooking fuel, according to ESCAP.

Commenting on the Asia-Pacific region’s energy challenges, Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, opined that “we are living in truly unprecedented times, calling for decisive and cooperative action among the international community to save lives and support livelihoods all over the world.”

He added “the Asia-Pacific region faces unique energy challenges that undermine the ability of governments to respond to this crisis and build economic resilience. Renewables can underpin these efforts and therefore can play an instrumental role in both the response and the recovery.”

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