16 World leaders sign energy pact as summit ends
CEBU, Philippines – Sixteen world leaders meeting here for the 2nd East Asian Summit today signed an agreement on a concerted region-wide effort to harness alternative sources of energy to ensure continuous energy supply for their growing economies in the face of dwindling world oil reserves.
The leaders of the 10 member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam -- and ASEAN dialogue partners Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand, signed the pact at the conclusion of the 2nd East Asia Summit (EAS) here at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).
The East Asian leaders said the development of alternative sources of energy is needed to sustain the momentum of the region's economic expansion.
Reliable, adequate and affordable energy supplies are essential for strong and sustainable economic growth and competitiveness, they added.
"Fossil fuels underpin our economies, and will be an enduring reality in our lifetimes," the East Asian leaders stressed in the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security.
They cited the need to strengthen programs to develop renewable energy sources such as bio-fuels and hydropower sources since "these resources are important aspects of our national energy policies."
In the face of energy supply problems confronting mankind, the leaders pointed out that renewable energy and nuclear power have to be tapped to meet an increasing demand for energy, particularly in the region where economies are booming because of stronger demand for goods and services from their population and the rest of the world.
While noting the limited global reserve of fossil energy and the unstable world oil prices, they also recognized "the worsening problems of environment and health, and the urgent need to address global warming and climate change."
At the same time, the leaders stressed the importance of open trade, facilitation and cooperation in the sector and in related industries.
To achieve these goals, the 16 leaders declared to work together closely to improve the efficiency and environmental performance in fossil fuel use, reduce dependence on conventional fuels through intensified energy efficiency and conservation programs, hydropower, expansion of renewable energy systems and bio-fuel production/utilization, and for interested parties, civilian nuclear power.
The agreement also called for an open and competitive market both regional and international markets to provide affordable energy for all.
To mitigate the effects of greenhouse gas emission, the leaders stressed the need for an effective policies and measures to check global climate change.
They urged private sector participation to invest in energy and infrastructure development.
The leaders have adopted concrete actions and mechanisms to ensure implementation of these ambitious projects, including intensified research for new and renewable energy resources and technologies and through investments in regional energy infrastructure such as the ASEAN Power Grid and the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline.
The leaders of the 16 countries present in the EAS represent more than half of the world population. China and India alone have a combined population of almost three billion, while ASEAN has 467 million as of 2005.
The seven-page document was signed by Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, Laos Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Myanmar Prime Minister General Soe Win;
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabo, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.
The energy pact was one of several agreements signed by ASEAN leaders over the past four days.