Welcome Remarks by Lavan Thiru, Executive Director, Infrastructure Asia at Asia Infrastructure Forum 2022 on 2 August 2022
Guest-of-Honour Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and National Development, Singapore,
Your Excellency Pheng Sovicheano, Secretary of State, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Kingdom of Cambodia,
Your Excellency Hem Vanndy, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Kingdom of Cambodia,
Honorable Salman Rahman, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to Prime Minister, Bangladesh,
Mayors, Ambassadors, High Commissioners,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good morning and welcome to the Asia Infrastructure Forum 2022. This year marks the third edition of the Asia Infrastructure Forum or AIF, and I am happy to see familiar faces in the crowd, as well as excited to meet with new ones.
2. I am pleased that over 1000 delegates have registered to attend this event in person with a few hundred joining us virtually. We are honoured that you have taken time away from your busy schedule to discuss the important issues that we have lined up over the next two days. When we got together last year, the world was learning how to recover and the AIF highlighted the role of sustainable infrastructure to aid Asia’s recovery.
3. So, a year on, where exactly are we? Well, according to the Energy Policy Tracker, since the pandemic began, globally new investments in fossil fuels continue to be high. The share of fossil fuels in the world's total energy mix is as high as it was a decade ago. But there is also cause for optimism. Investment in renewable energy projects soared to new heights in 2021, thanks to new solar and wind power installations. To achieve the targets under the Paris Agreement and limit global climate change, energy transition needs to include a mosaic of solutions beyond renewables to include technology and innovative forms of financing as well.
4. The growth outlook for renewables remains positive, with considerable effort and progress by policy makers and leading energy companies in committing to energy transition. But, there is still much to be done. Energy transition and decarbonisation do not happen overnight – investments need to be made, projects need to be structured, sustainable infrastructure needs to be designed and built. In other words, we have lots to do and to do so quickly.
5. As such, this year’s AIF will focus on “Scaling Up Sustainable Infrastructure.” It will focus on bringing together collaborators from both the public and private sectors to accelerate the region’s sustainability efforts. The various roundtables and panel discussions will discuss key themes and issues within sustainable infrastructure.
6. As an office, Infrastructure Asia has continued to facilitate and ensure the success of infrastructure projects. Our pipeline continues to see good growth with over 70 projects. We are confident that many of these projects will be catalysed and developed as we continue to work closely with you.
7. I am also happy to share that we have forged new partnerships with regional counterparts, as well as continuously invested in existing ones. In the past year, Infrastructure Asia has inked Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with Japan, Cambodia, Philippines and Indonesia to catalyse more sustainable infrastructure opportunities as Asia look towards infrastructure as a key economic growth driver.
8. Another important part of what Infrastructure Asia does is to play a role in fostering a common level of understanding of public-private partnerships among regional government officials. We do this through the Growing Infrastructure Course, partnering with the World Bank Group and the Singapore Management University. This programme helps build capabilities to attract greater private sector participation in various infrastructure projects. To date, 155 regional government officials have attended the course and we look forward to welcoming more in future runs to come.
9. The pathway to a sustainable future requires the right partnerships to overcome the gaps and challenges. We hope that AIF 2022 will provide a platform for more connections and partnerships to be formed.
10. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude towards our distinguished guests, speakers, partners and sponsors, for your strong support in making this event possible. Thank you.