EU ambassador Charles Whiteley speaks at Regional Climate Summit 2023

The ambassador of the European Union (EU) in Bangladesh Charles Whiteley has said the EU stands firmly committed to supporting regional energy connectivity under its Global Gateway strategy. Through a Team Europe approach, EU is prepared to provide both technical expertise and financial assistance to facilitate the development of cross-border electricity trade.

Ambassador Charles Whiteley said this at a keynote speech during the session "Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Energy: A New Architecture for Regional Energy Governance" 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, says a press release.

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. 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.

In this regard, the EU Ambassador mentioned that “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.”

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

The panel featured five members of parliament (MPs) from Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

The MPs are Gyem Dorji, chairperson of the parliamentarian committee on environment and climate change in Bhutan; Vincent Pala, chairperson of the climate estimates committee in India; Madhav Sapkota, a member of parliament representing Nepal; Eran Wickramaratne, member of the parliament committee on National Economics and Physical Plans in Sri Lanka and Ahsan Adelur Rahman, MP, Bangladesh.

The 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, organised 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.

Over the course of three days, the summit hosted 16 parallel sessions, with the EU actively participating in two key sessions: "Energy Policy: Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services" and “Regional cooperation for sustainable energy: new architecture for regional energy governance.”

During the summit’s closing ceremony through a few reflections on the event, ambassador Whiteley said, ”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.