The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) recently participated in the Belt and Road Global Energy Interconnection Forum of the Arab League Countries in Beijing, China, which aimed to promote energy exchange and cooperation between China and Arab countries.
Following an announcement by China in 2013 to revive the ancient Silk Routes, the Belt and Road Initiative was born in 2015. Ever since, global efforts have been exerted to avail from the connection between Asia, Europe and Africa by promoting and facilitating global interconnectivity at all levels.
As part of its engagement to serve Arab countries to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ESCWA was represented by the Chief of Energy Section, Radia Sedaoui, at a time when the forum sought to promote accelerating the development of clean energy and power grid interconnection in Arab countries.
Sedaoui highlighted the role of the regional commission in promoting sustainable energy and in the promotion of Chinese-Arab cooperation in terms of building a transcontinental electricity grid and promoting “Belt and Road” Energy Infrastructure.
According to ESCWA, modern renewable energy remains a largely untapped resource in the Arab region which is characterized by high solar irradiance and vast desert lands that are semi-flat and mostly uninhabited. Many of its countries also enjoy a wind speed that is suitable for electricity production.
In her address, Ms. Sedaoui outlined key priority actions to be taken in the Arab region, namely the exploitation of economic potential of energy alternatives; the development and enforcement of integrated and proactive policies and institutional frameworks; the increase of the private sector involvement; and the enhancement of interregional Arab cooperation and trade.
According to the ESCWA expert, many other actions are necessary including a better promotion of pan-Arab integration projects and initiatives focusing on smart grids and green corridors as well as the development of local manufacturing processes of clean energy technologies components.
The Forum brought together over 100 delegates from the Chinese government and other international organizations such as LAS, ESCWA, and the Arab Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), in addition to other experts and embassies representatives who provided insights about their countries perspectives.