At UN gathering, Asia-Pacific nations agree to cooperate on renewable energy

1 May 2008

Asia-Pacific countries reached an agreement at a United Nations meeting in Bangkok to boost their collaboration on developing renewable energy in a bid to decrease their reliance on fossil fuels and enhance their long-term energy security.

The decision to share experiences and disseminate developing renewable energy technologies was taken yesterday before the closing of the annual session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), which this year focused on the theme of energy security and sustainable development.

A recent ESCAP study showed that the region cannot rely on ongoing increases in the energy supply to spur economic growth. If the region's energy needs continue growing at the current rate, it will account for half of the world's energy demand by 2030, 80 per cent of which will be for oil, coal and other fossil fuels, which will result in massive carbon emissions.

Some 1.7 billion people in the region rely on traditional biomass fuels – the largest number of victims from indoor air pollution caused by burning these fuels is in the Asia-Pacific – and 1 billion do not have access to electricity.

At the meeting, Asia-Pacific countries asked ESCAP to collaborate with multilateral funding agencies, research institutions and public-private partnerships, among others.

Representatives from roughly 50 countries attended the session, which also adopted resolutions on boosting resilience to disasters, transport and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets to be met by 2015.

“Sustainable agriculture and food security” was selected as next year's session focus.

“The new theme reflects the serious concern that many delegates have expressed over the rocketing food prices,” ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer said in her closing remarks to the gathering.

 

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