Statement on the Ministerial Roundtable for National Energy Planning and Implementation for Fostering Energy Transition


Statement by Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa‘Utoikamanu, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States

19 January 2021 
New York, USA

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to join your important discussion.

As we all know it is the small island developing states, the least developed countries and the landlocked developing countries are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The irony is of course that they have least contributed to greenhouse gas concentrations.

And notwithstanding their many challenges, they are also at the forefront of climate action.

This was again demonstrated during the Secretary-Generals Summit on Climate Change .

The SIDS and the LDCs made commitments to reach net zero emissions by 2050. 

UN-OHRLLS together with UNDP and UN Energy support the implementation of these initiatives. 

Some of you have heard me say this before but I cannot stress enough how acceleration of the SDG 7 achievement in alignment with SDG 13 on climate change and the Paris Agreement is a top priority for my office.

UN-OHRLLS is committed to mobilize resources and build partnerships to give a helping hand to energy transition in the most vulnerable countries.

Allow me to share one example.

In 2019, together with the Government of Malawi and the Rocky Mountain Institute, OHRLLS launched a study which shows how through whole-system energy investment planning countries such as Malawi can achieve SDG through the use of abundant renewable resources. 

The study identifies least-cost pathways for developing this infrastructure. It shows how US$3 billion of investment, from a range of sources, can make this possible.

We now work with the UN Office in Malawi to support the government to implement the recommendations of this study.

The effort was well received, and we are now looking to scale up this study to cover the LDC group as a whole.

Our aim is to develop broad policy recommendations and advocacy tools so that other countries can benefit from the experiences and approaches adopted in Malawi.

Quite importantly, all this will feed into the thematic preparations for the upcoming LDC5 Conference in Qatar, Doha in January 2022.

The Conference is a strategic  opportunity to place sustainable energy as a thematic priority for a new 10-year programme for the LDCs.

I can already share with you that the private sector track of the LDC5 Conference will have dedicated sessions on Energy and Climate Change.

The goal is to generate new partnerships to support  energy transition and climate action in the LDCs.

If we want to be successful, we must engage with all stakeholders in this important process.

You state that a global energy transition  is underway.

Unfortunately,  the most vulnerable countries to date rarely benefit from the ongoing large-scale investments. Progress remains largely concentrated in the more advanced developing and middle-income countries.

So, we really must do more because there is a tremendous growth potential in the energy sector in the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. Their endowments with natural resources such as solar, hydro, geothermal and wind are tremendous.

What is now required is a radical change of pace, massive investments in the energy sector and capacity building over the next few years.

Let me add that in the context of COVID recovery, there is great  opportunity for governments to center recovery plans on energy transition. We all know how energy transition is a conduit for poverty alleviation,  increasing resilience of healthcare systems including in fighting this and future pandemics and to build back better.

It is now that countries need strong support from the international community.

We must be there to improve access to finance, build capacity and assist developers in the preparation of bankable renewable energy projects.

Urgent action is also required to strengthen or develop enabling environments and institutional frameworks.

I think these are all actions that can help to further expand and deepen initiatives such as  IRENAs SIDS Lighthouse Initiative.

IRENA is indeed a key partner in enhancing support to the most vulnerable countries.

Building on our strong collaboration, IRENA and UN-OHRLLS signed a Memorandum of Understanding on areas of cooperation focusing on energy connectivity, supporting NDCs, just transition and harnessing energys interlinkages with other SDGs over the next few years.

For example, IRENA and OHRLLS partner to prepare a report to be launched this year on Scaling Up Renewables in LLDCs.

As I mentioned earlier, we reach out to stakeholders from the international community and the public and private sector to contribute to the LDC5 conference in January 2022 and to make concrete announcements on energy and climate change.

UN-OHRLLS together with our partners, are committed to make the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS an integral part of the global energy transition that is underway.