Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called today for a “clean energy revolution” to help the estimated three billion people that lack modern power and urged countries to recognize the impact that energy security has on all aspects of development.
“Three billion people rely on charcoal or wood for cooking and heating. They are energy-poor. And energy poverty translates into grinding, dehumanizing poverty,” he told participants at an energy conference in Oslo, Norway.
“We need energy not only to be universal, [we] need it to be clean – to be sustainable as well. We cannot continue to burn our way to prosperity. The only way to minimize the risks of dangerous climate change is by ensuring that energy is sustainable.”
The Secretary-General stressed that sustainable energy is critical for all aspects of human progress and said a departure from existing practices is needed to achieve the goal of universal energy access by 2030.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), financing universal access to modern energy services would cost only about three per cent of total global investments in energy.
“Energy poverty is a threat to the achievement all of the MDGs. It holds back economic growth and job creation. We require a radical departure from current practices and existing realities.
That is why we are calling for practical and large-scale action,” he said.
To achieve the universal energy access goal, Mr. Ban launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative last month, which has three global targets: providing universal access to modern energy services, doubling energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy supply. The initiative will have input from the private, government and civil society sectors to develop its agenda for the next two decades.
Participants at the “Energy for all – financing access for the poor” conference explored innovative financing mechanisms that can help countries and regions implement their energy plans.
“This is a good example of the readiness of leaders from the business world, governments, international organizations and civil society to come together and form new public-private partnerships to implement United Nations Secretary-General Ban’s new global energy initiative,” said the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Kandeh K. Yumkella.
In addition to organizing the conference, Norway launched its Energy+ Initiative, which aims to help mobilize private capital and public resources in support of Sustainable Energy for All.
Mr. Yumkella said the partnership with Norway would be an important step towards Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to be held next year.
“This is a milestone on the road to the Rio+20 summit in June in Brazil and in achieving our ultimate goal of providing Sustainable Energy for All by the year 2030. Finance is a fundamental area where the international community can play an important role. The Sustainable Energy for All initiative is a great step in that direction.”