Jakarta, May 16, 2023 – As the Chair of ASEAN in 2023, Indonesia can engage civil society in enhancing ASEAN’s relevance in various aspects aligned with global development challenges. These include increasing ambitions for regional climate targets, developing renewable energy, and promoting sustainable development.
The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) believes that following the success of the energy transition agenda at the G20, Indonesia can foster cooperation among ASEAN countries to implement energy transitions in line with the targets of the Paris Agreement. This collaboration can help build joint efforts to strengthen resilience in the face of various threats and impacts of climate change, through sustainable development.
ASEAN already has the ASEAN Working Group on Climate Change (AWGCC) and ASEAN Working Group on Forest and Climate Change (AWGFCC), as well as ASEAN Energy Cooperation. However, achieving climate mitigation targets and advancing renewable energy require additional efforts and collaboration between these working groups, along with civil society organizations and transnational communities, to increase their contribution to the region.
IESR believes that Indonesia, as the Chair of ASEAN, can provide space for civil society at the regional level to be involved in the process of its chairmanship agenda in 2023, particularly regarding energy and climate issues.
“As one of the regional organizations projected to experience 4.7% economic growth in 2023 amidst weakening global demand, ASEAN is a promising region for investment, especially in the renewable energy sector. Leveraging its leadership in ASEAN, Indonesia can encourage and embrace civil society organizations in ASEAN to focus on the energy transition. By initiating concrete collaborations, together we can accelerate the energy transition in the region and tackle climate change,” said Fabby Tumiwa, IESR Executive Director, during the public discussion titled “Making Energy Green and Low Carbon to Support Sustainable Growth: Advancing the Role of Civil Society in Southeast Asia Energy Transition During Indonesia ASEAN Chairmanship 2023,” organized by IESR.
Economic growth in the ASEAN region needs to align with commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions following the Paris Agreement. ASEAN has set a target of achieving 23% of the renewable energy mix by 2025. However, according to the IEA, 80% of the primary energy mix in the Southeast Asian region still comes from fossil fuels. Reducing the cost of renewable energy is predicted by the IEA to increase the penetration of renewable energy in ASEAN by up to 70% by 2040. This can be achieved through intensive coordination and collaboration among stakeholders (government, civil society, and business stakeholders) in ASEAN, especially in the regional policy-making process.
Nevertheless, Arief Rosadi, Coordinator of the IESR Climate Diplomacy Project, highlights that ASEAN currently lacks a formal channel for civil society to express aspirations, particularly on climate and energy issues. Therefore, Indonesia needs to lead ASEAN in providing an inclusive and constructive dialogue space for civil society in the decision-making process within the region.
“One immediate step to take is to increase the intensity of communication between civil society in the region, enabling the sharing of information and the latest developments in each country regarding energy and climate issues. This aims to strengthen solidarity and a sense of ownership of ASEAN as a collective region,” said Arief.
According to him, Indonesia can encourage more public discussions that focus on knowledge exchange and provide data-based policy recommendations that support the acceleration of the energy transition through the development of renewable energy at the regional level. Additionally, this approach can offer opportunities for developing human resource capacity in the renewable energy sector.
“Another important action is to strengthen grassroots collaboration and civil society networks at the regional level. This collaboration can contribute to the achievement of the climate agenda and energy transition in the region by sharing good practices and technical knowledge,” Arief added.