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Robust regional cooperation in electricity sector to help increase renewable energy integration: Whiteley

Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley on Sunday said an increased regional cooperation in the electricity sector can unlock the scaling up of renewable energy integration, bringing significant economic benefits, including power reliability and competitive pricing.

Also, with reference to the EU role, he said the EU stands firmly committed to supporting regional energy connectivity under its Global Gateway strategy and through a Team Europe approach, is prepared to provide both technical expertise and financial assistance to facilitate the development of cross-border electricity trade.

Forging a path to sustainable regional energy governance in South Asia, the EU held a high-level discussion during Regional Climate Summit 2023.

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Ambassador Whiteley delivered a compelling keynote speech during the session “Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Energy: A New Architecture for Regional Energy Governance”, held in Dhaka as part of the prestigious Regional Climate Summit 2023.

The EU-led session’s primary focus was directed towards the regional dimension of energy connectivity in South Asia, with a particular emphasis on its governance structure.

This gathering provided a platform to convene high-level political figures from the region to engage in discussions concerning the optimal governance framework required to realize a sustainable energy future in South Asia.

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Such a framework necessitates a holistic approach that takes into account economic, social, and environmental factors while promoting regional collaboration to harness the diverse energy resources and markets, thereby ensuring energy security, climate resilience, and sustainable development.

Following the speech, the session transitioned into a panel discussion expertly moderated by Nahim Razzaq, MP and Convenor of Climate Parliament Bangladesh.

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The panel featured five Members of Parliament (MPs) hailing from Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka- Gyem Dorji, MP: Chairperson of the Parliamentarian Committee on Environment and Climate Change in Bhutan; Vincent Pala, MP: Chairperson of the Climate Estimates Committee in India; Madhav Sapkota, MP: a Member of Parliament representing Nepal; Eran Wickramaratne, MP, Member of the Parliament Committee on National Economics and Physical Plans in Sri Lanka; and Ahsan Adelur Rahman, MP, Bangladesh.


These panelists contributed their expertise and perspectives to a vital conversation that explored innovative approaches to regional energy governance, providing a significant step towards achieving a sustainable energy future in South Asia.

The overarching three-day Regional Climate Summit 2023, organized by the Climate Parliament, had three strategic partner line Ministries: the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; the Ministry of Power, Energy; and the Ministry of Water Resources, and was supported by several development partners and private entities.

The event counted on a diverse participant base, including Members of Parliament from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, as well as prominent national and international speakers, government stakeholders, sector specialists, Ambassadors, and other key actors.

Over the course of three days, the summit hosted 16 parallel sessions, with the EU actively participating in two key sessions: i. “Energy Policy: Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services.” Edwin Koekoek, Team Leader of Green Inclusive Development, was among the esteemed panellists, drawing light on the EU energy policies and Green Energy Transition principles; ii. Regional cooperation for sustainable energy: new architecture for regional energy governance”, co-led by the EU and introduced by the Ambassador’s keynote speech.

The EU Ambassador intervened during the summit’s closing ceremony through a few reflections on the event.

He highlighted that ”Looking ahead, it is essential that we do not merely see this declaration as a conclusion but as a beginning. The follow-up to the outcomes of this summit will be critical to ensure that the commitments made here are translated into concrete actions…. No country can tackle climate change by itself. As the European Union, we stand ready to support and collaborate with our South Asian partners in this crucial endeavour.”

The Regional Climate Summit 2023 was a pivotal event, setting the stage for transformative climate action and sustainable development across the South Asian region.



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