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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Clean energy, a requirement in Post-COVID-19 era

15th Asia Clean Energy Forum highlights strategies in post-COVID-19 recovery and resilience

MANILA – Bigger investment in clean energy infrastructure will boost Asia and the Pacific’s recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. It is also expected to make economies more resilient to future shocks.

“It is velar that the COVID-19 crisis has made tackling climate change and other development issues an even bigger challenge,” said Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa in his opening remarks. He said the situation offers opportunities and different countries need to seize the change to rebuild better. He added the region’s leading clean energy event, Asian Clean Energy Forum, is the ideal forum to discuss the opportunities and ensure that clean energy plays a core role in helping Asia and the Pacific emerge stronger.

Co-hosted by ADB, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Korea Energy Agency, ACEF takes place from June 15-19 welcoming more than 4,000 delegates to the online-only event, including policymakers, energy specialists, private sector participants, and members of civil society organizations from all over the world.

Now on its 15th edition, ACEF is being held as a virtual, livestreamed-only event in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure energy efficiency. Registered delegates can access all 28 sessions and side events and participate in Q&As, and network with other participants through a dedicated web app and state-of-the-art technology. The current format ensures the participants’ health and safety and reduces the costs and greenhouse gas emissions associated with holding a physical event.

In a statement, the ADB said this year’s theme, Vision 20/20: Cross-sectoral Innovations for a Sustainable Future looks at the roadmap to achieve countries’ energy-related nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement, innovations at the nexus of energy, transport and urban development, and building energy sector resilience, specifically in fragile and small island countries.

ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Bambang Susantono welcomed participants and underscored the forum’s emphasis on energy challenges in Asia and the Pacific amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his keynote address, International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol highlighted the importance of addressing climate change and air pollution in the recovery. A panel discussion, including Sri Lanka’s Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Power and Energy Wasantha Perera and International Solar Alliance Director General Upendra Tripathy explored the prospects for development finance and capacity building in the region.

ACEF 2020 will launch a new innovation challenge: Digitizing Waste Colleciton through Handling, Tracking and Recycling to Disposal. Proposals are invited for digital solutions to improve waste management, reduce the amount of material send to landfills, and increase sustainability to create more resilient communities.

Interested parties may visit Open Innovation Challenges platform, sponsored by ADB’s Digital Innovation Sandbox Program.

ADB said they have invested more than US$23 billion in clean energy from 2008 to 2019. ADB’s climate financing reached a record of US$6.56 billion, meeting its target of doubling its annual climate investments from 2014 one year ahead of schedule. Within its Strategy 2030, ADB is targeting US$80 billion in cumulative climate financing from its own resources by 2030 and fore at least 75% of its country operations to feature climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives. (Melo M. Acuña)

Asian Development Bank entrance and exit for guests and officials. (Melo M. Acuna Photo)

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