Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Fuelling the ASEAN agenda

Rokiah Mahmud

“We must stay on course of economic integration and pool our talents and resources to improve the lives of ASEAN people. Although our energy systems are broad and diverse, we must continue our efforts based on a regional approach towards achieving economic growth and development that is both dynamic and sustainable.”

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof yesterday made this call during the 40th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (40th AMEM) held virtually, with Cambodia as the host.

“With that, we must also continue to uphold ASEAN-centric frameworks and constructively engage with our dialogue partners, international organisations and other external parties in a pragmatic manner so as to keep ASEAN open, inclusive and progressive,” the minister added, in his capacity as AMEM leader and outgoing AMEM chairperson.

He highlighted ASEAN’s continued collective efforts in advancing the energy sector – with lowering carbon emission in mind, including local-led initiatives during Brunei Darussalam’s chairmanship of the 39th AMEM last year.

“ASEAN has continued to focus on strengthening cross-sectoral and cross-pillar coordination and complemented the work of other actors across the ASEAN sectoral bodies within the ASEAN community in advancing AMEM’s low-carbon, energy transition agenda.

“These actions reflect our clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, and more importantly the AMEM spirit of staying relevant, being cohesive and forward looking,” he said.

Photos show Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof during the meeting. PHOTOS: SIM YH

“One significant achievement is progress made on the Laos-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Interconnection Project (LTMS PIP) that will undoubtedly improve energy security and enhance energy transition efforts in the region.

“We hope to be able to replicate this level of success in other programme areas,” Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi said.

A significant deliverable achieved was the adoption of the Bandar Seri Begawan Joint Declaration of the 39th AMEM on Energy Security and Energy Transition, which reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment in ensuring energy security and accelerate energy transition, as well as, recognising the cross-sectoral and cross-pillar strategies to further advance ASEAN’s community-building efforts, particularly, the ASEAN Economic Community.

“Supplementing the joint declaration, we have also managed to create platforms for cooperation and dialogue through initiatives that include the AMEM-Wide Education and Training Exchanges on the role of natural gas in advancing a low-carbon energy transition; the AMEM workshop on hydrogen economy and carbon capture, utilisation and storage; ASEAN energy establishments and climate change organisations cooperation on energy issues; and the upcoming ASEAN Energy Interaction programmes.

“These Brunei-led initiatives have solidified our role in ASEAN community building efforts. It also highlights the importance of a people-centred and people-oriented community as we look forward to the future. Furthermore, our achievements in AMEM have been duly recognised and endorsed by our leaders. This was reflected in the chairman’s statement during the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits last year.

“Collectively, our leaders looked forward to AMEM’s endeavours in the future to exploring and achieving an aspirational regional target towards lower emission energy systems in the region that can contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of each and every ASEAN member state,” Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi said.

The 40th AMEM and its associated meetings continue until today, seeing the participation of ASEAN energy ministers and heads of delegation of dialogue partners and international organisations.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen yesterday officiated the meeting, themed ‘Accelerating Energy Transition: Economy Recovery and Sustainable Growth’, while Cambodian Minister of Mines and Energy cum 40th AMEM Chairperson Suy Sem chaired the AMEM.

The meeting discussed the progress of seven programme activities implemented under the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) Phase II (2021-2025) including activities reported under the ASEAN Power Grid (APG); Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP); Coal and Clean Coal Technology, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Conservation; Regional Energy Policy and Planning; and Civilian Nuclear Energy.

Ceremonial events were held on the same day, with two key documents launched – the 7th ASEAN Energy Outlook (AEO7) and the 2nd ASEAN Renewable Energy Outlook.

The ministerial meetings will see the adoption of 40th AMEM joint ministerial statement, 19th AMEM Plus Three (19th AMEM+3) joint ministerial statement and 16th East Asia Summit Energy Ministerial Meeting (16th EAS EMM) joint ministerial statement.

Over the course of two days, a number of associated ministerial meetings were conducted including the 19th AMEM+3, 16th EAS EMM, AMEM and the United States (AMEM-US) Exchange, 8th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting – International Energy Agency Dialogue (8th AMEM – IEA Dialogue) and 6th AMEM – International Renewable Energy Agency Dialogue (6th AMEM – IRENA Dialogue).

Other sideline events included the 5th East Asia Energy Forum (5th EAEF) and the ASEAN Energy Business Forum (AEBF) 2022.