Major fossil fuel exporting and importing nations in the Asia-Pacific, meeting at a United Nations forum, agreed today to enhance cooperation to promote energy self-reliance in a region where high food and oil prices threaten economic recovery.
Representatives of 60 countries attending a Bangkok conference of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) adopted a set of resolutions on issues ranging from bridging wide development and infrastructure gaps to cooperating on energy security and disaster preparedness.
They agreed “to invest in building a ‘social protection floor’ offering a minimum level of access to essential services and income security to all,” ESCAP said in a statement.
“Priority must be given to improving physical connectivity and building institutional linkages between the energy-surplus and energy-deficit countries,” the nations said, according to ESCAP
Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of ESCAP, said: “Energy security is a high development priority for Asia and the Pacific, where nearly a billion people lack access to electricity and about 1.7 billion depend mainly on traditional biomass with enormous socio-economic costs in terms of environmental degradation, persistent poverty, poor health, increasing child mortality and weakening social services.”
“This session has broken new ground in strengthening political commitment to advancing the social dimension of development,” Ms. Heyzer said. “Countries of our region are progressively moving towards more comprehensive social protection systems that would guarantee a minimum level of security for all citizens.”