A lack of political will is the real obstacle to ensuring all people have access to affordable and reliable sources of energy for their daily lives, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling on countries to work together to provide the necessary funding, technology and partnerships.
Mr. Ban told a high-level event this evening in New York, held on the margins of the United Nations summit on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), that universal energy access must be a priority item on the agenda of global leaders.
At least 1.6 billion people worldwide are currently estimated to live without access to electricity, while even more people have either intermittent or inadequate access.
Stressing that a lack of access slows economic growth, hampers poverty eradicates and affects education, health care and other vital services, Mr. Ban said it obstructs progress towards all the MDGs.
While better technology and more money for research and development would help, the Secretary-General said, he added that “by and large we already have the means to meet the needs of the poor. The real barriers stem from a lack of broad-based political will and commitment.”
Mr. Ban’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change has set a target of universal energy access and a doubling of the rate of increase of energy efficiency, all by 2030.
“I urge countries to work together – along with the UN-Energy programme – to create energy access initiatives,” the UN chief said in his address.
“We need dedicated funding sources… technology-sharing… mechanisms for sharing lessons and best practices at a global level. And we need a wider range of stakeholders to get involved – broad-based partnerships between the UN, governments, the private sector and the scientific community.
“In particular, governments need to create a stable and predictable policy platform for the private sector to invest in low-carbon technologies and providing affordable energy to the rural poor. Let us build on promising new partnerships.”