First BIMSTEC Energy Ministers’ Conference
4th October 2005, New Delhi
Speech of H.E. Brigadier General Lun Thi
Minister of Energy, Myanmar

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

It gives me great pleasure to join you here in the Republic of India, and take part in this BIMSTEC Energy Minister’s meeting.

At the outset, I wish to express our thanks to the Government of India for organizing this important meeting which provides an opportunity for the BIMSTEC Energy Ministers to meet for the first time.

We would also like to express our appreciation to His Excellency, the honorable Minister of Power of India for his initiative in bringing about the realization of this important event.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

As you are all aware, the BIMSTEC regional group is in its ninth year of existence. It is a fully-grown regional group in terms of years, member states as well as in terms of population and area coverage in the South-east Asia region and the Indian sub-continent.

Out of the six priority sectors for cooperation in the BIMSTEC agenda, the cooperation in the energy sector has been particularly active. Myanmar as the lead country in the energy sector have accomplished in organizing the Experts/Officials Group and its annual meetings, formulated plans of action for the Energy Infrastructure and the Renewable Energy Development projects, identified as the two main areas for cooperation. It has also managed to establish task forces for the respective projects and has established close relationships with the energy institutions of project coordinating countries such as the Department of Alternative Energy and Efficiency of Thailand and The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) of India.

I am proud to mention that the first phase of the Trans BIMSTEC gas pipeline study has been completed and the second phase, which include Nepal and Bhutan in the study has already been initiated. In the field of new and renewable energy, some new projects are being implemented and several on going projects are in progress.

Plans are also being made to expand the scope of the area for cooperation into development of hydropower, cross border power connections, development of coal resources and the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation in the region.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

BIMSTEC member countries are presently at different levels of social and economic development. Consequently energy being one of the most important ingredient for the development of the economies of member states, it is crucial for the development process and its stable supply is essential for maintaining the economic growth of the member countries as well as the region as a whole.

Moreover countries in almost all regions around the world are presently experiencing the impact of rising oil prices on their economies while fragile conditions developed from political tensions’ emerging from political hot spots has been a constant threat to their energy security. Due to these situations, the Trans-BIMSTEC Gas Pipeline connection, the Electricity Power Grid connection network and the development of hydropower resources in the region should be given great emphasis and priority in order to build up energy security for maintaining economic growth in the region.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

Approximately, about three-quarters of the population of the BIMSTEC region live and work in the rural and some remote areas. The vast majority of these people are dependent on non-commercial energy supplies such as fuel-wood, animal dung and crop residues. Further, the utilization of primitive and inefficient energy technologies and outdated appliances worsen the use of these resources and cause high indoor pollution that severely effect the health of the rural population, particularly on women and children in most cases. Therefore promoting the systematic use of non-conventional sources of energy through modern technologies, particularly for the production of clean fuels from biomass is one of the important issues. This issue has been properly addressed and measures have already been taken in the plan of action for the development of renewable energy resources. Although the sharing of experience and knowledge base among the member countries have been undertaken, I would like to take this opportunity to stress the need for further promotion of activities in this area and strengthening of on going programs so as to help improve the quality of life of the rural populations.

Energy efficiency and conservation measures are gaining more and more recognition and acceptance as an effective tool for energy management especially at a time of rising oil prices such as, today. This practice brings numerous benefits including those related to the environment. Thus the sharing of experience and knowledge of energy efficiency and conservation practices including modern technologies within the BIMSTEC member countries should be initiated without further delay.

Excellencies, Distinguished delegates

Over the years, many efforts have been made by governments of the nations of the region to formulate sound policies and programs for the development and utilization of conventional and non-conventional energy resources within their nations. Depending on the situation in the particular countries, most of these policies and programs perform very well. However, in some cases these have not been effective enough to bring about expected results. It is in this context that BIMSTEC member countries require to undertake a regional energy policy consultation and analysis program in order to share experiences in policy reforms, restructuring and in establishing harmonized rules, regulations, codes and standards concerning all aspects of energy production, processing, transportation, utilization and trade.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

Before I conclude. my statement, let me again take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Government of the Republic of India for organizing this important event. And to the Honorable Minister of Power for the generous hospitality extended to me and to my delegation during our stay here in New Delhi.

I thank you all for your kind attention.

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