Launch of the Clean Energy Week 2022: “Securing our Economic Future”

Remarks by Ms. Alissar Chaker, UNDP Resident Representative

October 20, 2022

Ms. Alissar Chaker (in white dress)

©Australian Embassy, Cambodia

Excellencies, Friends from the Media, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening! Choum Reap Sour!

It is my great pleasure to join His Excellency Ambassador Pablo Kang of Australia, H.E. Keo Rottanak, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister and Managing Director of the Electricite du Cambodge and EnergyLab for the Launch of the Clean Energy Week 2022, under the theme of “Securing our Economic Future”.

Since its inception in 2018, the Clean Energy Week has been a well awaited annual event that brings together clean energy champions, advocates and supporters from the private and public sectors, development partners and the public. UNDP is delighted to be a Founding Sponsor of the Clean Energy Week and to celebrate annually the expanding network of partnerships and efforts for the promotion of clean energy, and the acceleration of the Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) in Cambodia.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The theme of this year’s Clean Energy Week, “Securing Our Economic Future”, is close to the heart and mind of UNDP as development agency. UNDP considers access to energy and just transition as enablers and accelerators for poverty reduction and socioeconomic progress.

Nowadays, the high level of unpredictability, prices hikes and disruption of value chains, heightening food insecurity and loss of livelihoods, slow economic recovery, increasing inequality and debt distress, compounded by climate emergencies, geopolitical conflicts, and the ripples of the pandemic, are driving countries and communities further into an uncertainty complex. New development models, approaches and capacities are needed to anticipate, respond, and recover from such shocks while protecting the most vulnerable.

Cambodia has a unique opportunity to redefine its drivers of economic growth. The kingdom has adopted an ambitious climate agenda and is increasingly realizing the associated opportunities for economic growth and social development. A report published by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and UNDP entitled “The economic impacts of climate change for Cambodia” (2019), indicates that even in a scenario of less than 2°C temperature increase, climate change could reduce Cambodia’s GDP by 10% by 2050, if no measures are taken. Hence, it is crucial to strengthen institutions and incentives, and adopt the optimal energy mix and pricing structures to ensure energy security and just access for all. Sectors such as industry, tourism, construction, and transport would benefit from looking into renewable sources of power, energy efficiency, and clean technology.

UNDP has committed through its ambitious Climate Promise to support countries take bold action to reach their national climate pledge, reduce emissions, increase resilience to climate shocks and accelerate reaching their national sustainable development ambition. UNDP has scaled up its support, including in Cambodia, to turn the NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) targets into concrete action through technical assistance, access to finance and technology and implementation in 12 technical areas, among which energy, just transition and net zero pathways. UNDP’s Climate Promise remains the largest global offer, covering over 120 countries and territories.  

Along the same vein, and in line with SDG7 targets, UNDP interventions in the energy sector aim to increase access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy; increase energy efficiency; and accelerate transition to renewable energy. UNDP has been working with the Royal Government to de-risk renewable energy investments, increase access and clean energy share through investments in solar mini-grids for off-grid electrification, rooftop solar, solar for agriculture, energy efficiency in buildings, and the development of an EV (electric vehicle) roadmap to stimulate green jobs and mobilise investments in infrastructure. The UNDP supported EV fast charging stations at four (4) locations are getting busy. We call private sector to drive the momentum forward.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

UNDP walks the talk. Our office building is the first building in Cambodia to receive the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Operation and Management Platinum Certificate, accredited by the US-based Green Building Council. Our energy share from solar accounts to 35% of our total energy consumption and EVs constitute at least 40% of our transport fleet with plans for further expansion.

It is in this spirit of commitment to the planet and its people and the need to amplify awareness and accelerate behavioural change that we support every year the Clean Energy Week. We are convinced that there is no Planet B and that partnerships are crucial for avoiding a climate crisis.

Finally, I would like to close with a special mention to our financial partners in the areas of climate change and energy, namely, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Wishing you a great Clean Energy Week 2022.

Thank You - Som Orkun!