ACCEPT In-house Sharing Session Phase #3 Episode #2: Tracking SDG 7 by UNESCAP

Jakarta, 8 Jun 2021

The in-house sharing session phase #3 continues to its second episode. This time, ACCEPT invites Kimberly Roseberry, the principal author of Regional Energy Trends Report 2020: Tracking SDG 7 in the ASEAN Region. The report is a joint publication of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) and ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE). The sharing session was led by ACCEPT Project Manager, Mr. Beni Suryadi.

Kimberly started the session by showing highlights of the “Tracking SDG 7” report. There are four key targets of SDG 7, whose aim is to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” Related to the energy access, the first two targets are on electrification and clean cooking access.

Electrification progress in Southeast Asia is quite positive, with several countries already achieved 100% electrification. Challenges, though, remain in the twenty-nine million people in the region who are yet to be electrified, many of those are the “last mile” communities in rural and island areas. Beyond electrification, the growing urgency of improving the quality of electricity service is noted as well.

The second energy access target, the clean cooking access, remains huge challenge in the region. Around 219 million people still cook with traditional biomass, which mainly in form of solid biofuels such as wood and charcoal. The shift to modern and clean cooking fuels and technology has been hampered by economic and cultural reasons, among others.

The next SDG 7 target is to increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the energy mix. On this, it is noted that the regions still and would continue to rely on fossil fuels. Positive progress, such as that of Viet Nam, has been seen in the region. Noting its increasing importance as well to the climate target, the share of renewable energy in the region, especially in power and transportation system, must expand more rapidly.

The energy efficiency target of SDG 7, which is measured by the improvement on energy intensity, has seen encouraging progress in the region. Even so, the projected improvement rate might fall below the required target.  In comparison to the world, though, the ASEAN region has an overall lower energy intensity to begin with, thus its improvement is more challenging.

An open discussion session then followed. A question was raised on the challenge faced by region on clean cooking front. It is noted that such challenge is not unique to the region; similar cases are also observed in other developing regions, such as Africa. A unique feature of clean cooking shift is the fact that it is basically an economic decision—purchase of new products—which needs to be made by the consumers. Such decision needs to be made amidst the availability of cheaper alternatives. These challenges are not there, in the case of electricity.

Another question was raised in the relation to the parameters in measuring the energy access, especially electricity. It is noted that the access to energy should not be the end point, and the quality is becoming more important to ensure the better impact to economic well being of the community. To address those, a new concept of Multi-Tier Framework for Measuring Energy Access has been developed.

SDG 7 is a crucial issue for ACCEPT, as it clearly addresses the energy-climate nexus. Noting the progress, challenges, and opportunities in the region, ACCEPT will continue to support regional energy transition to achieve the SDG 7 targets, in coherence with regional targets outlined in the APAEC Phase II.


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