UN commission hears calls for major policy push to promote energy efficiency
Delegates to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development meeting in New York today proposed a wide range of measures aimed at helping to bring modern energy services to the poor, reduce energy waste and cut climate change-causing greenhouse gases.
“We need a major policy push to promote energy efficiency, to generate new energy technologies, and to promote advanced and cleaner technologies,” said José Antonio Ocampo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, in an opening address to the two-week session.
Long-term energy solutions, together with the interlinked issues of climate change, industrial development and air pollution, are at the core of the Commission’s agenda.
“This gathering can craft thoughtful, focused policy decisions to advance progress on several fronts: providing affordable, modern energy services to the poor, helping countries industrialize on the basis of cleaner production processes, and designing energy systems that contribute to confronting the global challenge of climate change,” Mr. Ocampo told participants.
Underlining the importance of the issues before this year’s session, Commission Chair Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar, reminded delegates of their “historical responsibility to current and future generations to make progress here.”
This session marks the 20th anniversary of the Brundtland Commission report, Our Common Future, which put sustainable development on the map as an integrated process that balances social, economic and environmental concerns.
“Every group has its own agenda, every country has its own interests,” Mr. Al-Attiyah said, adding, however, that he firmly believed that “there is strong political will among Member States to make real progress here during this session, and there exists a lot of common ground.”
Emphasizing the need for action, Mr. Al-Attiyah said that “with one third of the world without access to modern energy, our world is not a sustainable one; neither will our world be sustainable if the current patterns of consumption and production continue.”
Pakistan’s UN representative Farukh Amil, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, called for the provision of new and additional financial resources for development, equitable international trade and financial systems, and the transfer of technology. He pointed out that official development assistance fell 5.1 percent in 2006 compared to 2005.
The meeting at UN headquarters in New York is attended by more than 90 ministers and 1,500 representatives of non-governmental organizations. It ends on 11 May.