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Highlights from the Special SOME and 26th ACE Governing Council under Lao PDR’s ASEAN Chairmanship

14 February 2024

The Special Senior Officials Meeting on Energy (Special SOME) 2024 and the 26th ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) Governing Council Meeting were convened on 31 January and 1 February 2024 in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. These back-to-back meetings brought together senior officials on energy from ASEAN Member States (AMS). 

This year’s Special SOME was held under the leadership of Lao PDR as the SOME Chair and ASEAN Chair. The meeting discussed the follow-up requirements and directions from relevant ASEAN Meetings and the 41st ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM-41) as well as the accomplishment status and work plans under the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) Phase II: 2021-2025. 

The Special SOME adopted the Lao PDR’s Chairmanship Energy Priority Deliverables in 2024, including the finalisation of substantive drafts of the ASEAN Power Grid (APG) Successor Agreement, Trans ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP) Memorandum of Understanding, and extension of ASEAN Petroleum Security Agreement. Additionally, progress on the 8th ASEAN Energy Outlook (AEO8) was reported which aimed for adoption by the 42nd AMEM in Vientiane, Lao PDR in September 2024.  

Moreover, this Special SOME also commenced the development of the APAEC Post-2025, through the conduct of 1st APAEC Drafting Committee Meeting, aiming for the endorsement by the 43rd AMEM in Malaysia. Additionally, the Meeting also reiterated their commitment to the continued implementation of APAEC Phase II: 2021-2025, emphasising the strengthening of engagement and partnerships with Dialogue Partners (DPs) and International Organisations (IOs). 

The Special SOME was followed up with the 26th ACE Governing Council Meeting, which was also chaired by Lao PDR. 

During the opening remarks, Dr. Akhomdeth Vongsay, SOE Leader of Lao PDR and ACE GC Chair, highlighted the importance of addressing the challenges in transitioning to renewable energy and low-carbon solutions in the ASEAN region. Given the energy challenges, ACE’s role is crucial in supporting ASEAN Member States. 

Following up on that, Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of ACE, presented his annual report on ACE’s operational work programme and budget.  The Council also discussed the Centre’s future plans as part of the Work Programme and Budget for 2024. The Council provided guidance for ACE to ensure the fulfilment of its mandates as Catalyst, Think Tank, and Knowledge Hub in facilitating ASEAN to address challenges in energy security, affordability, accessibility and accelerating energy transition through the implementation of APAEC. 

Both meetings concluded with valuable insights, recommendations, and commitments aimed at enhancing energy security, sustainability, and resilience across ASEAN region.