Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday called on participants at a forum in Abu Dhabi to help advance the goal of a clean energy future for all, stressing the advantages of renewables for communities, for economic growth and for the planet.
“Now, more than ever, the world needs bold leadership to make the promise of renewable energy a reality,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly.
IRENA, based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was set up in January 2009 and promotes the use of all forms of renewable energy. Its Assembly takes place ahead of the World Future Energy Summit, which opens tomorrow and will also feature the participation of Mr. Ban and the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.
Mr. Ban noted that IRENA members – 84 States and the European Union – recognize that renewable energy can boost competitiveness and growth while combating climate change.
“They see the potential for universal energy access, cleaner air and better public health,” he said. “They understand that we can no longer burn our way to global prosperity.”
He welcomed IRENA's work to transform the global energy system, adding that its efforts complement those of the United Nations. “Together, we can make progress on the twin challenges of sustainable growth and climate change while striking a blow against extreme poverty.”
IRENA's Director-General, Adnan Amin, is a member of the high-level group the Secretary-General set up last year to promote his Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which seeks to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030.
The group is developing an action plan and building a network of governments, companies, investors and civil society organizations that are making commitments that will be unveiled at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this June.
The Secretary-General stated that IRENA's contribution will be invaluable, including through providing timely analysis on renewable energy technologies, and suggesting policy frameworks that can unleash innovation and investment and strategies needed to scale up successful models.
“Doubling the share of renewables is ambitious but achievable,” stated Mr. Ban. “And the benefits far outweigh the costs – which include growing energy insecurity and accelerating climate change. Renewable energy can also address inequity and advance universal energy access.”
He noted that hydro, wind and other renewable energy technologies – large and small, on-grid and off – are expanding opportunity in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. “This is a triple win for communities around the world? for economic growth? and for the planet,” he stated.