(BRF2023) Interview: BRI to advance renewable energy adoption across Global South, says UN official

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 19, 2023
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BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) can advance renewable energy adoption across the Global South countries, said Damilola Ogunbiyi, special representative of the UN secretary-general for sustainable energy for all, on Wednesday.

"As the world's largest manufacturer of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles, China is well-placed to help enable the adoption of low-carbon technologies at scale in emerging economies and developing nations through the BRI," Ogunbiyi told Xinhua in an interview on the sidelines of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

"The BRI has opened new paths for all humanity, and we have seen its significant impacts on emerging economies and developing nations," she said.

Ogunbiyi noted that the concept of the Green Silk Road has set up various guidelines and partnership agreements with participating countries. "For me what has made the BRI transform itself to a greener and more sustainable initiative is the introduction of the Green Silk Road as a key pillar of the BRI," she said.

A white paper released ahead of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation said the BRI embraces the global trend of green and low-carbon development, emphasizes respecting and protecting nature and following its laws, and respects the right of all parties to pursue sustainable and eco-friendly growth.

China has been committed to making energy investments in the BRI regions more sustainable, which has been executed in two ways, namely reducing coal-related investments and increasing green energy investments, said Ogunbiyi.

"In the next 10 years, I see the BRI focusing on the two sectors with the largest investment needs -- transport and energy infrastructure," she said.

"I foresee more investment in the development of green and renewable energy technologies as well as greater cooperation to retire thermal power plants across the Global South and the electrification of transportation including electric two- and three-wheelers," she said.

Sustainable Energy for All is a multi-stakeholder partnership between governments, the private sector, and civil society. It aims to support governments with evidence-driven approaches of energy transition and investment plans that provide decarbonization opportunities.

Ogunbiyi said she sees a great opportunity for renewable energy manufacturing in Southeast Asia, as it already produces 9-10 percent of the world's solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, 50 percent of global nickel output, and 6-10 percent of all electric two-wheelers today.

China is a major leader in clean energy technologies, she said. "This ability to manufacture at scale has seen China being instrumental in bringing down costs worldwide for renewable technologies, with multiple benefits for clean energy transitions globally."

The rapid scale-up of renewable energy manufacturing in China can offer opportunities for Africa and Southeast Asia to ensure benefits accrue to local communities, she said.

"China has been a firm advocate of economic globalization, and over the past decade, the BRI has delivered real gains across the world," said Ogunbiyi.

It also "offers an invaluable opportunity to forge new paths for global economic growth, drive international economic cooperation, and contribute to sustainable development worldwide," she said.

According to a World Bank report, increased trade via the Belt and Road cooperation is expected to raise global real income by 0.7 to 2.9 percent, and BRI projects could help lift 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty. Another report by global economic consultants Cebr estimated that the BRI, whose benefits "are widespread," is likely to boost world GDP by 7.1 trillion U.S. dollars per annum by 2040. Enditem

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