Addressing the “Securing Asia’s Energy Future” discussion at the Asia Society in New York yesterday, Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), called for a switch to a “virtuous cycle of sustainable energy.”Such a cycle would entail emphasizing the quality over the quantity of economic growth; increased reliance on renewable energy; and taking action to mitigate climate change, she said.“While energy security is the subject of interest today, its ultimate objective is inclusive and sustainable development that includes all, especially the poor and the women who among them who have been largely left out of the Asia-Pacific economic success story so far,” Ms. Heyzer said, noting that one billion people in the region have no access to electricity. Least-developed and landlocked countries, together with small island developing states, will suffer the most from rising energy insecurity, she noted.ESCAP has identified several key measures that need to be taken in Asia and the Pacific, including research and development to spur technological innovation, removing trade barriers to enhance competition, and better management of energy demand. 17 October 2008Increased political will is needed across the Asia-Pacific so that the region can shift from energy insecurity to a more sustainable form of energy that helps the most vulnerable, a senior United Nations official has stressed.

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