Welcome remarks of OIC Secretary Zenaida Monsada at the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting

EMM Usec. Monsada

12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting

13 October 2015

OIC-Sec. Zenaida Y. Monsada

Welcome Remarks and Introduction of Guest Speaker

Your Excellencies, distinguished delegates and guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning, on behalf of the Department of Energy and the Philippine government, it is my distinct honor to warmly welcome all of you to Cebu and to the 12th APEC Energy Ministers Meeting (EMM12).

As the overall APEC 2015 theme revolves on “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World” we agreed to hold the various APEC meetings in the different provinces to show the world that every part of the Philippines has something wonderful to offer and to contribute not only to the growth of our economy but of the APEC region as well.

Cebu is one of the Philippines’ urban cities with the highest GDP, thus opportunities abound in this side of the archipelago called the Queen City of the South. Anchoring on our tourism slogan, “It’s More Fun In the Philippines,” that has become viral in social media, you can view smiling faces of Filipinos captured after the catastrophic event of typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda as known locally, which “The Manila Times” described as a magnificent tapestry of human resilience.

The theme of this year’s EMM highlights the thrust for resiliency of APEC communities.

Resiliency has been a buzzword for APEC 2015. In the APEC Study Centers Consortium Conference 2015, it was noted that there is a need to establish the resilience of businesses even the small and medium scale enterprises in times of disasters to ensure continuity of operations.

Our finance ministers also highlighted the importance of financial resilience, along with infrastructure development to sustain economic gains of the region in their Cebu Action Plan. APEC Senior Disaster Management Officials are also working on a disaster risk reduction framework to improve resiliency of economies.

We are very much aware of the ill consequences brought about by natural and man-induced disasters to people’s lives, property, businesses, and the economies’ resources. The higher levels of frequency and intensity of these disasters has caused an alarming call even for the most advanced and most prepared economies. The APEC Senior Disaster Management officials actually call these part of “the New Normal.”

Thus, today’s agenda bring to the forefront APEC economy initiatives and collective efforts to ensure energy-secured and sustainable communities capable of withstanding the unpredictable environmental changes and adverse effects as economies modernize and expand.

Moves to attain energy security however, must now take into consideration incalculable effects of disasters especially to energy infrastructures. We have seen how communities are paralyzed during disasters when such infrastructures are affected and damaged. We all recognize that energy serves as the bloodline of economies and without reliable energy supply, economies will recover slower or worse, will not function at all.

We hope therefore that APEC Member-Economies will come up with innovative measures and avenues to foster greater cooperation to ensure energy security, sustainability and now resiliency, especially that APEC accounts for about 60% of the world’s energy demand.

Cooperation is extremely important at this day and age, given the rapid economic landscapes that are being built and developing between and among economies.

As an example, information from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center shared with local communities that will be affected is a significant step towards fostering disaster-awareness, preparedness and mitigation.

Communication of relevant and accurate data is an effective solution in addressing disasters and will enable economies to save more lives and minimize impacts economically and socially.

We are happy to note that our economies are working together to double renewable energy use in APEC economies by 2030 and a 45% reduction in energy intensity through improved energy efficiency systems by 2035.

We are now looking at exploring the utilization of next generation transport system, developments in building and grid codes and green industries, under the APEC Energy Smart Communities Initiative. It is also notable that we started the APEC Low Carbon Model Town Project which allows us to showcase new technologies and best practices in urban planning and in terms of energy efficiency and conservation.

For this reason, EMM12 will be tackling four sub-themes: 1) climate proofing energy infrastructure; 2) improving energy trade and investment in APEC; 3) advancing cutting-edge energy efficient technologies; and 4) promoting community-based clean energy use in energy poverty stricken areas.

Given the future of the energy development in the APEC region, member-economies are encouraged to conduct a vulnerability assessment of energy infrastructure to determine the costs of disasters to energy infrastructures and to be able to avoid them as well as to create cooperation and share best practices that will guide policy and program decisions to ensure reliable and sustained production; thus enabling delivery of energy products within APEC to mitigate adverse supply disruptions.

Fostering energy-resiliency also need not be too costly. We encourage the utilization of available energy efficient technologies with the most cost-effective impact. This, hopefully, will also translate to positive impacts to the public by encouraging energy performance standards in the building codes, energy appliances, smart metering devices, industrial equipments, fuel quality and vehicle efficiency.

Of course energy resiliency should be a priority for all communities, thus we will also discuss strategies to establish energy infrastructure in poverty-stricken areas or far-flung provinces to encourage development for a more inclusive growth.

We would also like to welcome the international industry experts to expound on energy resiliency to address the twin challenges of energy security and sustainable development.

At the end of the day, we hope that APEC economies will also learn, aside from protecting the energy infrastructures, how to get up, recover, and build more resilient economies and train people to be more proactive for the benefit of their communities and cities.

Yesterday, our senior officials have worked hard to refine the draft of the declaration that we will issue later. But before we focus on finalizing our declaration, let me introduce our guest speaker who will share with us some local energy scenarios and valuable insights in line with our theme.

For the past three decades, she has dedicated her life and work to serving the Filipino people as a lawmaker and as a passionate advocate of green growth and sustainable development. She has authored and sponsored landmark laws on environmental protection, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation, namely, the Clean Air Act (RA 8749), the Solid Waste Management Act (Ra 9003), the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act (RA 10121), the Climate Change Act and the People’s Survival Fund Law (RA 10174), among others. She is also the co-author and co-sponsor of the Renewable Energy Act (RA 9513).

In 2000, the World Economic Forum named her as among the Global Leaders for Tomorrow. The year after, the United Nations Environment Programme named her its Laureate and included her in the Global 500 Roll of Honor. In 2008, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction appointed her as its champion in the Asia and the Pacific region with a high-level mission to enthuse world leaders and lawmakers to mainstream disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into development. In 2012, the United Nations recognized her as a Hero of Resilience in line with the celebration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction.

She is also the only female to top the Philippine Senatorial election twice, and the only woman to serve as majority floor leader. Now on her third term, she chairs the Senate Committees on Finance, Climate Change, and Cultural Communities. So, we’ll expect a sexy budget this year.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, our guest speaker, it is my distinct to introduce our keynote speaker the Honorable Senator Loren Legarda.

[Read speech of Senator Loren Legarda]

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