Welcome Remarks ASIA Panel

Welcome Remarks by Lavan Thiru, Executive Director, Infrastructure Asia at the Asia Panel Networking Reception on 26 October 2023

Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance, and Second Minister for National Development,

Your Excellency Ervan Maksum, ASEAN LIB-SI Chair, and Deputy Minister for Infrastructure Affairs, Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS), Republic of Indonesia,

Your Excellency Meas Soksensan, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Kingdom of Cambodia,

Ambassadors, High Commissioners,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Good evening. Let me first extend a warm welcome to all of you, especially our overseas guests, for this evening’s Asia Sustainable Infrastructure Advisory Panel networking reception.

Climate Change Disproportionately Impacts Asia

2. We are all acutely aware that climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Asia, as one of the most vulnerable regions in terms of climate risks, has seen this keenly in the recent years.

3. There were 81 weather, climate and water-related disasters in Asia1, with economic damages estimated to be more than US$ 36 billion.

4. However, amidst these challenges, there are bright spots for which we at Infrastructure Asia are optimistic about.

High Growth Asia is Key to Secure a More Sustainable Future

5. First, the world’s fastest growing cities can be found in Southeast Asia and South Asia with a large population that is increasingly focused on sustainability.

6. Second, many Asian economies have established net zero targets that align with the 1.5°C target2.

7. Third, there is an abundance of capital looking for well-structured green projects. Five years ago, about an equal amount was invested in fossil fuels and clean energy. Today, for every $1 invested in fossil fuels, $1.70 is going to clean energy3.

8. There is therefore a corresponding window of opportunity for Asia to decarbonise in a globally meaningful manner, and we are glad to see that the governments in our region are stepping up to the challenge.

9. Every regional government we engaged this year has requested for support in scaling up sustainable infrastructure. Besides the public sector, we are also working with private sector companies in the region to prepare bankable projects, especially in energy and circularity.

Infrastructure Asia’s Role in Capacity Building and Facilitating Connections

10. So how has Infrastructure Asia been able to support our stakeholders? Let me give you some examples.

11. First, the Growing Infrastructure Course which is a capacity building programme launched by Infrastructure Asia, the World Bank Group and Singapore Management University. This programme is specifically designed to equip the regional government officials with knowledge and skills to create an environment that is conducive for private sector investments into infrastructure.

12. To-date, 360 regional government officials have benefitted from this programme. We are excited to relaunch the programme in 2024 with the first run to be held in February and focused on water and waste management.

13. Second, this year we launched Asia Infrastructure Forum Conversations or AIF Conversations. These are bite-sized events centred around various sustainable infrastructure themes that have been held both in Singapore and in the region.

14. One of the first AIF Conversations was a market sounding exercise for the Philippines Green Energy Auction Program. This exercise aimed to increase international participation in the Philippine Government’s ambitious target for renewable energy to comprise 35% of the country’s energy mix by 2030 and 50% by 2040.

15. This and our other road show platforms have helped increase the visibility of sustainable infrastructure projects in the region, and have helped project owners gather project feedback from international players across the value chain, from developers to financiers to professional services.

Partnerships Key to Meeting the Climate Challenge

16. Partnerships are central to what we do here at Infrastructure Asia, and we are immensely grateful to the Singapore-based ecosystem for working with us to advance the cause of sustainable infrastructure in Asia.

17. We look forward to continuing our partnerships, especially in working together with all of you for the next Asia Infrastructure Forum to be held from 4th to 5th June 2024. Please save these dates in your calendars.

18. With that, I wish you a pleasant evening and I look forward to meeting you during the networking reception. Thank you.

[1] State of the Climate in Asia 2022, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), [Link]
[2] New Report | Getting Asia to Net Zero: Benchmarking Asia’s Climate Action, ASIA Society, [Link]
[3] World Energy Investment 2023, International Energy Agency, [Link]


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