Experts Call for Clean Energy in Post-COVID-19 Recovery

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Greater investment in clean energy infrastructure will contribute to Asia and the Pacific’s recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and make economies more resilient against future shocks, participants at the Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) 2020 heard..

“It is clear 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.

“However, the situation offers opportunities and we must now seize the chance to rebuild smartly. As the region’s leading clean energy event, ACEF is the ideal forum to discuss these opportunities and ensure that clean energy plays a core role in helping Asia and the Pacific emerge stronger than before.”

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

On its 15th anniversary, ACEF is being held as a virtual, live streamed-only event in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure energy efficiency.

This year’s theme ‘Vision 20/20: Cross-sectoral Innovations for a Sustainable Future’ explores the roadmap for achieving countries’ energy-related nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement, innovations at the nexus of energy, transport and urban development, and building energy sector resilience particularly in fragile and small island countries.

In his keynote address, International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol stressed 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 (ISA) Director General Upendra Tripathy explored the prospects for development finance and capacity building in the region.

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

ADB invested more than 23 billion dollars in clean energy from 2008 to 2019. Last year, ADB’s climate financing reached a record 6.56 billion dollars, meeting its target of doubling its annual climate investments from 2014 one year ahead of schedule.

Under Strategy 2030, ADB is targeting 80 billion dollars in cumulative climate financing from its own resources by 2030 and for at least 75 per cent of its country operations to feature climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives.

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