Executive Director highlights importance of sustainable recovery at ASEAN Ministerial meeting

IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol spoke today at the 38th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministers on Energy Meeting, sharing the latest insights on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global energy markets and underscoring the strong relationship between ASEAN and the IEA.

The ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting is one of the most important global energy events, bringing together Ministers from ASEAN’s 10 member states for in-depth discussions on progress towards the region’s energy ambitions.

The IEA has worked closely with ASEAN on energy policy since 2011 when the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Their strengthening relationship on energy policy was reflected by ASEAN’s decision to name the IEA as a strategic partner in 2019.

The major economic shock of the Covid-19 crisis has significantly impacted the global energy landscape, raising challenges and concerns for ASEAN member states. At the Ministerial meeting today – which was chaired by Mr Dang Hoang An, Vice Minister of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam – Dr Birol spoke about the scope for ASEAN countries to pursue sustainable economic recoveries from the crisis by putting clean energy at the heart of their policy-making, as outlined in the IEA’s Sustainable Recovery Plan.

In the communiqué from the Ministerial, the ASEAN Ministers expressed appreciation for the IEA’s support and engagement during the Covid-19 pandemic. They noted that the IEA “plays a pivotal role in helping to meet energy security objectives and to accelerate clean energy transitions across the region” and called for a further deepening of the ASEAN-IEA relationship across all fuels and all technologies in order to assist the region in tackling its energy challenges.

Through 2020, the IEA provided valuable support for the development of a power market spanning ASEAN countries, as well as energy policy design and implementation and energy efficiency capacity building across the region. On top of this, the IEA is supporting Viet Nam in a new initiative to mobilise private investment in infrastructure for electricity transmission.

Home to almost 10% the global population, Southeast Asian economies are expected to remain among the fastest growing worldwide. Before the pandemic, the region’s energy demand was increasing by about 7% annually – doubling every 10 years – to power its rapid economic growth. 

“The IEA is committed to further strengthening its engagement with ASEAN,” Dr Birol said. “We will continue to help build the region’s capacity to take on emerging challenges through our world-class analysis, data and policy advice. We look forward to supporting Southeast Asian countries as their role on the global energy stage expands and they map out their paths to a cleaner and more resilient energy future.”