Swedwatch was one of the hosts of a side event at the 10th Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, putting the spotlight on the role of states and business actors in achieving a just energy transition – with particular focus on financial institutions investing in renewable energy projects.  

On March 29, Swedwatch along with Fair Finance Asia, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (UNOHCHR), and Stockholm Environment Institute Asia organised a side event at the 10th Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD). Through moderated dialogue, the event aimed to highlight the importance of duty bearers including states and business actors to adopt environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive energy transition in the Asia Pacific Region to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting global temperature rise as well as achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event was attended by representatives of States, civil society organisations, private sector, journalists, students, and other actors. 

Photo: Kyle Juliene Cruz
Photo: Kyle Juliene Cruz

Speakers including Bernadette Victorio from Oxfam/Fair Finance Asia, Parimita Mohanty, UNEP, Thanida Lawseriwanich at the Bank of Thailand and Pianporn Deetes, International Rivers. The event highlighted the importance of aligning policies and initiatives to accelerate transition away from fossil fuel-based to renewable energy in the region. It was also emphasised in the keynote speech by Dr. Pichamon Yeophanthong, chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, that the region urgently needs a structural transformation, where duty bearers including financial institutions investing in renewable energy projects, not only adopt green standards and responsible investment policies, but also implement actions to safeguard much needed social and climate justice. As noted by Katia Chirizzi, Deputy Representative of the UNOHCHR Regional Office for South-East Asia, time is of essence and no one should be left behind in the energy transformation

It is urgent that the pathway towards a zero-carbon economy must be grounded on a rights-based approach that not only safeguards the environmental integrity of the global commons – one such example being the Mekong River where major developments of hydropower projects are rife – but also recognises both substantive and procedural elements of the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment for all people. For a just energy transition, multi-stakeholder dialogue and civic engagement are key conditions. Furthermore, states and financial institutions have the obligations to implement due diligence in the renewable energy sector and safeguard the protection of the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for all people.

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There must be coherence between policy and action so we need implementation and not just pretty policies and crucially, those furthest behind cannot be asked or forced to bear the costs of this transition.
/Dr. Pichamon Yeophantong, Chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

View a recording from the side event👇🏽

Download the Side Event Summary:



Related materials:

Fair Finance Asia blog about the side event

UN OHCHR Southeast Asia about the side event

UNEP Technical Brief on SDG 7: Hydropower and the Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment

Press contact:
Ami Hedenborg, Media Manager