ASEAN: Coping with fossil fuel supplies

Updated On: Feb 23, 2009

Within Southeast Asia, the closest resemblance of institutional efforts to manage energy and climate change is the roadmap laid out at the Cebu Summit.

In the run up to the 12th ASEAN Summit, climate change was not a focus for Southeast Asia.

This however seems to be changing. The Cebu Summit, when convened in Jan 2007, took a significant step forward on the issue of climate change.

It was neither direct nor focused on ASEAN. Rather, the issue was raised in the context of energy security and in the wider East Asian Summit framework, which brings together the “+3” countries of China, Japan and South Korea; Australia and New Zealand; and India, under ASEAN chairmanship.

In the Cebu Summit, these countries pledged to work closely together to mitigate greenhouse gas emission through effective policies and measures, thus contributing to global climate change abatement.

Meeting in Beijing, Southeast Asia hopes to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and boost energy efficiency/safety by curbing greenhouse gas emissions within a framework penned by 16 Asian and Pacific countries.

Some in the Western media has even coined the initiative as an attempt to reduce dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

The Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security was signed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and six regional partners, including China and India, at a summit in Cebu, the Philippines on Monday (15 January 2007); in other words, many of the world’s major energy consumers.

Details include the need for better and more stable energy supply to the region, civilian nuclear power and promoting the use of biofuels (particularly for motor vehicles).

Along with the strategies of clean and efficient energy, the Declaration also calls for more joint investments in regional infrastructure, such as a power grid and gas pipeline that serves all Southeast Asian nations.

When these policies are in place, the hope is that it can promote economic growth and development for the region.

The Chinese State Information Centre in Beijing has pushed the Southeast Asian countries to translate the intention of the agreement into reality.


Ann Florini, Global Governance and Energy September 2008, Working paper 001 [accessed on October 7, 2008],http://www.lkyspp.nus.edu.sg/CAG/Handler.ashx?path=Data/Site/SiteDocumen...,

Wang, Yu, "Southeast Asian nations reach energy agreement" dated 16 January 2007 in the SciDev.Net website [downloaded on 17 Feb 2009], avialable athttp://www.scidev.net/en/news/southeast-asian-nations-reach-energy-agree...