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Initial Meeting between ACCEPT II Team and NIRAS and GOPA to Explore Collaboration Activities for EU-ASEAN Green Initiative – Clean Energy Stakeholder Consultations
18 April 2023
Bernard Mayhofer, Karl Goeppert, Arum Sari, and Levina Masli from NIRAS and GOPA, which are the consortium to implement the EU-ASEAN Green Initiative, visited the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) office on 3 April 2023 to explore the possibility of collaboration with ASEAN Climate Change and Energy Project Phase II (ACCEPT II) team on having joint activities (studies, capacity buildings, etc) for the EU-ASEAN Green Initiative.
The ACCEPT team was represented by Senior Researcher Aldilla Rakhiemah, Senior Researcher Muhammad Shidiq, and Researcher I Dewa Made Raditya Margenta.
Figure 1. NIRAS and ACCEPT II teams during the discussion at ACE Office
Bernard Mayhofer introduced NIRAS and GOPA as international consulting firms committed to sustainable progress and service delivery in this meeting. Currently, NIRAS and GOPA are implementing an EU-funded project, namely the EU-ASEAN Green Initiative, to enhance the EU-ASEAN partnership and reduce negative environmental impacts, as well as climate-related and disaster risks covering key areas of the European Green Deal. The Green Initiative is a four-year project that started from 2023 to 2026. The Green Initiative addresses four elements:
Climate change, environment and disasters, which are characterised by GHG emissions and air, water and soil pollution, pressure on the natural environment, waste volume and wastewater discharge, exposure to natural hazards and vulnerability factors.
Biodiversity. Biodiversity in the ASEAN region is facing diverse challenges, such as rapid changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation, pollution, and climate change. Due to recent regulatory restrictions, these pressures have resulted in limited options for nature-based solutions and trade relations with other regional blocs. It is noteworthy to mention that during the biodiversity summit (COP 15), 200 countries agreed upon a new set of goals and targets to address and reverse biodiversity loss by the end of the decade.
Food systems: Food systems are facing challenges due to population growth and rapid urbanisation, leading to a growing demand for food. Moreover, increasing food wastage has made it difficult to maintain food quality, as production and supply chains have not always kept up with this trend. Additionally, the negative impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on crop yields and nutrient content further exacerbate these challenges.
Energy: Energy consumption in all ASEAN Member States (AMS) has steadily increased since 2005, reaching 1.6 times the levels of 2005 by 2019. Fossil fuels continue to dominate the energy mix in the region, accounting for approximately 83% of primary energy, while renewables only make up around 14% as of 2020. This growing reliance on fossil fuel imports could pose serious challenges to ASEAN’s energy security. Despite efforts towards renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grids, and achieving the targets of the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC), progress has not been as rapid as initially projected.
In addition, the Green Initiative also has cross-cutting components on gender equality, human rights, disability, democracy, conflict sensitivity, and digitalisation. From those mentioned components, it is expected through this initiative that:
Cooperation with and within ASEAN for developing and implementing ambitious climate policies is improved;
The equitable and sustainable management of regional natural capital and landscapes is made more effective;
The transition towards sustainable and climate-resilient food systems in ASEAN is promoted; and
The transition towards clean energy and greater energy efficiency is accelerated.
Furthermore, accelerating the clean energy transition and greater energy efficiency needs various strategic actions, such as:
Capacity building and strategic renewable energy roadmap planning;
Renewable energy support through financing and partnerships; and
Project visibility and youth engagement.
This is where collaboration plays a crucial role in approaching the project through technical assistance, and it is expected that ACE and NIRAS-GOPA could collaborate on implementing the Green Initiative.
In response, Aldilla Rakhiemah briefly introduced ACE and the ACCEPT project. She emphasised the achievements of the first ACCEPT project, which has successfully enhanced the awareness of energy-climate intercorrelations, addressed in the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) Phase II: 2021-2025. She also expressed optimism that the second ACCEPT project will replicate the success by supporting ASEAN member states and ASEAN’s capacity to advance knowledge sharing on energy and climate nexus in ASEAN, enhance ASEAN’s capacity as Low-Carbon Economy towards carbon neutrality (net zero), and strengthen the regional structure, capacity, and gender equality on energy-climate nexus.
Muhammad Shidiq also welcomed and supported any potential collaboration to enhance more awareness on the interplay between energy, economy, and climate in ASEAN through strategic actions. One of them is by conducting a collaboration workshop related to carbon pricing mechanisms or just energy transition in ASEAN. It is essential since the ACCEPT II project is open to constructive collaboration, exchanging knowledge and resources to help achieve a better and sustainable future in ASEAN. During the discussion, the parties noted that there is room for collaboration which may include, but not limited to, joint studies on an agreed theme, capacity building, workshops, training and FGD, and site visits to increase practical knowledge for ASEAN Member States on any areas related to energy and climate.
Moving forward, all parties look forward to discussing further details regarding the collaboration agreement and its detailed activities.