Bringing Southeast Asia Perspective to Virtual Consultation Roundtable on ADB 2021 Energy Policy
Bringing Southeast Asia Perspective to Virtual Consultation Roundtable on ADB 2021 Energy Policy

14-18 June 2021

Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) is an annual event of Asian Development Bank (ADB) for 16 years. Taking the theme of “Accelerating the Low-Carbon Transition in Asia and the Pacific”, ACEF 2021 was held on 14 – 18 June 2021 and comprised of two plenaries, six regional sessions, six thematic sessions, four spotlight sessions, two energy policy consultations, seven deep-dive workshops, and a Financing Clean Energy in Developing Asia book launch. 

ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) was invited to one of the sessions, the Virtual Consultation Roundtable with Global Energy Experts, which was organised on 17 June 2021. The event is designed to discuss and provide feedbacks to the 2021 Energy Policy document of ADB through consultation of experts in the region. Consistent with ADB’s Strategy 2030 that sets to achieve a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific and to align with the goals of Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement, the 2021 Energy Policy has five guiding principles: 

Policy principle 1: Securing Energy for a Prosperous and Inclusive Asia.  

Policy principle 2: Building a Sustainable and Resilient Energy Future 

Policy principle 3: Engaging with Institutions and Framing Policy Reforms 

Policy principle 4: Promoting Regional Cooperation to Enhance Energy Security 

Policy principle 5: Cross Sectoral Operations to Maximize Development Impact 

Priyantha Wijayatunga, Chair of Energy Committee, ADB provided welcoming remarks and Yongping Zhai, Chief of Energy Sector Group, ADB served as moderator of the consultation roundtable. Sakari Oksanen, ADB Consultant of Energy Policy and Strategies in MDBs, provided the scene setting presentation, which was focused on the 2021 Energy Policy draft. 

The invited experts are Hongpeng Liu, Director of Energy Division, UNESCAP; Xavier Chen, President of Beijing Energy Club, Ashivini Kumar, Former Managing Director of Solar Energy Corporation of India, Ltd.; Toshiyuki Sakamoto, Managing Director of The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, Zulfikar Yurnaidi, Senior Officer of Sustainable Energy, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Department, ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE); and Maria Pastukhova, Senior Policy Advisor of Energy Diplomacy, E3G. 

Bringing the Southeast Asia perspectives to the discussion, Zulfikar started with congratulating ADB for the comprehensive document of Energy Policy that cover various aspects of energy transition. He noted, though, the potential challenge in prioritising various sectors. He also reminded the spirit of ADB as development bank. Thus, it is important that the policy and financing of ADB really support the development on the region and complement the national-specific plan. He noted that Southeast Asian countries have differing status and conditions, but as a region united and guided by the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC).  

Further, there are many discussions on energy transition, including net zero targets. But what is important is not how big the target, but how to achieve that through step-by-step and specific strategies. Such roadmap would be critical for ASEAN member states, noting that it has to be ambitious but cautious.  Another point to be considered is to have people-centred approach, which is based on socio-economics consideration. It is the reality that many ASEAN member states, as well as other Asian countries, still relies on fossil fuel the energy transition will bring structural change to the region. Noting the challenges, it is important to have proper incentives, on the people, the infrastructure, and others. Last, intersectoral discussions would be critical. Through ACCEPT, we have learned such importance. It is advisable, then, for ADB to design programs/packages that could answer beyond energy sectors. This includes education and training, as well as development of supporting business sectors. Again, the sustainability of energy transition must be the centre, so that countries can have strong ownerships. Just Energy Transition would be very important. 

Other experts provided as well critical inputs to the discussion, such as how to address the clean cooking issues, the critical role of innovation, more focus on capacity building, and others. You may find the recording of the event here.

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