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Development Account Projects

Strengthening South-South cooperation to increase the affordability of sustainable energy options in Asia and the Pacific

Background:

Developing countries need adequate, clean and affordable modern energy services to sustain high economic growth rates essential for eradicating poverty and achieving the MDGs. Historically, they have depended on the continued availability of biomass and fossil fuels, such as oil, gas and coal, for fuels and electricity at moderate prices. However, overexploitation of biomass resources, declining economic feasibility of remaining fossil fuel reserves and rising international concern with carbon emissions mean these sources of energy will become less and less affordable in the future. LDCs, LLDCs and SIDSs that lack the economic capacity to pay will be the most affected by biomass fuel scarcities and steep increases in fossil fuel prices.

The proposed project responds to resolutions of ESCAP member states at: (a) the 63rd Commission Session in 2007 calling for establishment of a regional cooperation framework on energy security and widening access to energy services by LDCs, LLDCs and SIDSs; (b) the 64th Commission Session in 2008 calling for cooperation among members and associate members to promote rapid dissemination of renewable energy technologies, products and services in a cost-competitive manner; (c) the 65th Commission Session in 2009, calling for analytical studies and experience-sharing to improve energy security, and (d) the 67th session of the Commission held in Bangkok in May 2011, calling for the promotion of regional energy cooperation and the sustainable use of energy in Asia and the Pacific. The 67th session of the Commission also resolved to convene, in 2013, the Asian and Pacific Energy Forum (APEF) at the ministerial level to discuss the progress achieved in the Asia-Pacific region in addressing energy security challenges at the regional, national and household levels, and to facilitate continuous dialogue among member States with a view to enhancing energy security and working towards sustainable development. The project contributes to GA Resolution 62/197 calling for increased use of new and renewable energy resources, more efficient use of energy, greater reliance on advanced energy technologies, including cleaner fossil fuel technologies, and the sustainable use of traditional energy resources, which could meet the growing need for energy services to achieve sustainable development; and GA Resolution 65/151 declaring 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.

The project would be implemented by ESCAP in partnership with DESA, FAO, UNDP, UNEP and UNIDO. At a 2010 interagency meeting under the Asia-Pacific Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM), the partner organizations agreed to work together on a joint regional initiative to strengthen energy security cooperation through sustainable energy options, pooling together the respective strengths of each organization: energy security and green growth (ESCAP), sustainable energy indicators (DESA), bioenergy (FAO), energy access (UNDP), energy efficiency and demand management (UNEP), and scaling up renewable energy and low carbon technologies and services (UNIDO). Work under the project will be coordinated with regional renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives of ECLAC and ECE, and project activities will be implemented through ESCAP’s sub-regional offices at the sub-regional level and UN Country Teams at the national level.

The proposed project is intended to develop the basis for a regional South-South cooperation framework while this window remains open. It follows up on the ESCAP Secretariat's 2008 theme study on Energy Security and Sustainable Development by consolidating ongoing and new work within a coherent and focused framework for actions in the areas of energy trade, investment and finance, innovation and competiveness, regional and subregional cooperation. It is aimed at helping Member States to develop common and coordinated strategies/policies to expand energy affordability and increase community incomes. In particular, the project will draw from the lessons learned by ESCAP in promoting access to energy services, through integrated energy security and social development policies and programmes, and creating inductive policies for improving affordable energy services in Asia and Pacific. The project will also draw on the lessons learned by regional renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives of ECLAC and ECE, as well as by relevant UN agencies in their attempts to build awareness of cleaner energy technologies in Asia and Pacific.

 

Objective:

To increase the affordability of sustainable energy options through enhanced South-South cooperation in Asia and the Pacific

Expected Accomplishments:

  • Strengthened national capacities to assess opportunities and barriers to transform national industries to increase the affordability of sustainable energy services.
  • Enhanced energy security among selected poor communities and households through increased affordability of sustainable energy services.
  • Improved awareness of policy coordination possibilities to enhance regional/sub-regional energy connectivity to reduce costs of sustainable energy technologies.

Implementation Status:

This project is in early stages as the project period of 18 months is from July 2012 to December 2013.  Added to this, the project funds transfer from New York HQ to ESCAP in Bangkok only occurred in December 2012, effectively extending the project period into early 2014.

In 2012, ESCAP invested significant staff resources into project planning, including the preparation of key activities in early 2013 such as the regional assessment study, regional expert group meeting and the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework, as well as re-engaging project partners like UNIDO, UNDP and other members of UN-Energy Asia-Pacific as part of building an effective partnership for the project.