United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) joined hands with International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to work towards endorsing sustainable energy solutions in Asia Pacific. The two organisations emerged as a joint force to help the governments of the region beat coronavirus crisis with medium-to-long term sustainable solutions aimed at rebuilding economies.
Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, said,“The pandemic is an opportunity for us to rethink our economic growth path that has come at a heavy cost to the people and planet. To bring about a fundamental shift for the energy transition, we need to adopt the motto of ‘no more business as usual’ for all stakeholders. Policymakers should not lose sight of the looming climate crisis, but rather design economic stimulus packages with social inclusion and environmental sustainability built into every decision in particular sustainable energy development.”
“We are living in truly unprecedented times, calling for decisive and cooperative action among the international community to save lives and support livelihoods all over the world,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. “The Asia-Pacific region faces unique energy challenges that undermine the ability of governments to respond to this crisis and build economic resilience. Renewables can underpin these efforts and therefore can play an instrumental role in both the response and the recovery.”
Both the organisations realised the dire need to restructure the policies of Asia Pacific, the region which is home to about half of the world’s population largely dependent on non-renewable sources like fossil fuels to meet its energy needs. According to ESCAP, 200 million population in the region has no access to electricity and about 1.2 billion people live without clean cooking fuel. IRENA said that renewable energy setups would put economy back on the path of growth rather a sustainable one.
Due to the pandemic crisis, the rural economies are on the brink of collapse and without any financial assistance in sight, it is all the more necessary to switch to sustainable energy sources. Renewable energy sources being cheaper than the traditional energy sources, would help governments save up costs and boost environmentally sustainable solutions. It would also empower rural health care system, and even medical supply chain network, which is the need of the hour.
IRENA in its recently launched Global Renewables Outlook report, said that renewable energy sources can meet more than half of all power demands in Southeast Asia alone by 2030. Besides, it also forecasted that, if switched to renewables, the regional growth would increase to over 4.4 per cent and job opportunities would rise by about 50 per cent.