The Final Project Management Update and Closing Workshop of the Project "Inclusive Renewable Energy Access in Rural Areas"

Remarks by Mr. Shakeel Ahmad, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Cambodia

February 19, 2024

•    Excellency Dr Ty Norin, Permanent Secretary of State, Ministry of Mines and Energy
•    Mr Kuribayashi Takanori, First Secretary, Ambassy of Japan to Cambodia
•    Excellency Heng Kunleang, Director General of General Department of Energy
•    Excellencies, esteemed colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen.

Good morning, Chum reap sour!

I am very pleased to be here this morning to share and discuss the achievements of the project, “Inclusive Renewable Energy Access in Rural Areas”.  Since project’s inception two years ago, the project has achieved many of its key milestones. I have learnt from the project team about the impact of this project on the lives of communities living in hard-to-reach locations, especially its impact on women and girls in those newly electrified villages. 6 solar mini grids have been installed to electrify 8 villages, 2 in remote indigenous villages in Ratanakiri and 6 island villages in Kampong Chhnang. And another solar mini grid is being installed in one remote floating village of Phat Sanday commune, Kampong Thom province.  

Access to energy is fundamental not only to economic development, but also to promote social justice. This project has made a special focus on the left-behind communities, such as indigenous, and hard-to-reach communities, who are often let behind in the race for prosperity. 

I thank the Royal Government of Cambodia for its persistent efforts in closing the energy access gap. I would also like to thank the Government of Japan for its financial support to this project. 

This project has promoted the development of mini-grids powered by solar PV which has provided access to clean energy for the off-grid communities. We believe that the access to clean energy for the off-grid communities will a key deriver of reducing poverty, expanding opportunities, improving health, productivity, and living standards. This investment in clean energy will also help reduce the negative impact of climate change and will contribute to the government’s Long-term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality.

Ladies and gentlemen!

This project supplements the efforts of the Royal Government of Cambodia in providing access to energy to all its citizens. I congratulate the Royal Government of Cambodia for having successfully connected almost 99% of the total villages to affordable and reliable electricity supply by the end of 2023. Through this project, we have worked with the Royal Government to provide access to the remaining 1% or about 160 villages located in the most difficult to reach locations of Cambodia. Many of these villages in Ratanakiri province and islands in Tonle Sap Lake have benefited from this project. These locations are home to indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, and some of the most vulnerable populations that include women, girls, children, youth, people living with disabilities, older persons, and displaced populations. I look forward to visiting these communities. 

Ladies and gentlemen!

Facilitating access to clean energy is one of the transformational objectives of UNDP’s work globally. UNDP endeavours to help national institutions, communities, private sector, and other stakeholders to enable 500 million additional people access sustainable, affordable, reliable energy by 2028. Lack of access to energy is a major driver of inequality because energy serves as an input for economic and social development such as healthcare, education, jobs, and others. At the same time, clean solar energy would help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutions and other environmental hazards. 

Ladies and gentlemen!

I would like to thank the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Government of Japan once again for their collaboration with UNDP on this and many other projects. I would particularly like to thank the Ministry of Mines and Energy for hosting this meeting and the project team for helping communities to have access to clean energy. I wish all of you success in this endeavour. 

Thank You!  
Akun Chraun!