United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Bhutan, Thailand and Viet Nam

At the Fifth Session of the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals
(New York, 25 -27 November, 2013)


Mr. Co-Chairs,
I have the honor to make the remarks on behalf of the Troika consisting of Bhutan, Thailand and Viet Nam. I would like to align our group with the statement delivered by Fiji as Chair of the Group of 77 and China.
Mr. Co Chairs,
I take this opportunity to thank the Technical Support Team for preparing an informative document on this important issue.
First, we share the view that energy is central to sustainable development. Energy is often considered as the “oxygen” of the economy and the life-blood of growth. It affects all aspects of life and all dimensions of development from social, economic, environmental to ecological. Energy also has a close link with food and water security, and particularly climate change which is one of the priority topics at the COP19 in Warsaw last week. According to the UNDP, none of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be met without major improvement in the quality and quantity of energy services in developing countries.
Therefore, the shaping and implementation of the SDGs for the next phase should be supported by sustainable energy strategies with two key components: renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Second, we underscore the importance of addressing energy issue through a balanced and integrated approach. Whether energy is incorporated into other SDGs or identified as a dedicated goal, there is a need to consider all of its cross-cutting aspects with due account given to different energy demands and national capacities as well as specific conditions of each country group. This approach should be applied to the shaping of the goals on energy as well as their monitoring and implementation.
Third, from that view, our group would like to raise the following points:
• Facing an estimated increase in the world’s energy demand by 47 per cent by 2035, we support, as appropriate, the increased use of new and renewable energy resources, more efficient use of energy, greater reliance on advanced energy technologies, including cleaner fossil fuel technologies, and the sustainable use of traditional energy resources.
From the common targets, each country can work out appropriate energy plans as well as legal, rule-based mechanisms aimed to boost energy efficiency and conservation, support renewable energy sources, reduce dependence on oil and other fossil fuels as well as to facilitate energy trade, investment and services. The national plans and regulations also need to be in line with regional commitments or globally agreed targets, such as keeping global warming under 2oC.
• It is crucial to promote modern energy services for better human living condition and poverty reduction. Greater access to sustainable sources of clean, reliable and affordable energy in every household and business is important to facilitate economic growth, social progress and mitigate greenhouse gases.
• Technology transfer, financing and investment are essential to help developing countries or LDCs fully tap the largely unexploited renewable energy resources and develop efficient energy systems in transition to clean energy and green growth.
Given the fact that more than 95 per cent of people without access to modern energy services live either in sub‐Saharan Africa or developing Asia, much needs to be done to help the regions to strengthen energy supply and benefit from financing, technology, knowledge and partnerships in sustainable energy.
• It is necessary to avoid over-burdening the developing and poor countries with energy-related goals that may impede their competitive advantages, economic growth, and industrialization, which are also key factors for sustainable development.
At the same time, more internationally coordinated policies and measures are required to make global energy systems more efficient economically, more friendly environmentally and more equitable socially.
Mr. Co-Chairs,
In our region, for example, ASEAN reiterated commitment to strengthen joint efforts in addressing climate change and enhancing energy cooperation towards a greener ASEAN energy sector and low-carbon economy. We are working to enhance ASEAN Green Connectivity and improve Regional Power Trade toward establishing ASEAN Power Pool in the future.
For its part, the Government of Viet Nam adopted the National Green Growth Strategy with strong measures to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 1-1.5% per year and greenhouse gas emissions from energy activities by 10% to 20% compared to the business as usual level.
We will also host the 2nd Summit of the Mekong River Commission in April, 2014 with focus on “Water, Food and Energy security in the context of climate change”. We expect that the important event will further enhance regional cooperation in energy development and sustainable management of trans-boundary water resources.
At the global level, we commend the UN’s leading efforts to promote sustainable energy, for example, the General Assembly’s declaration of the 2014‐2024 decade as the “UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All” and the UNIDO’s Green Industry initiative for sustainable development. We are ready to continue further exchange of views, experiences and make contribution to these efforts.
Thank you, Mr. Co-Chairs.