Access to low-cost energy vital in fight against poverty – General Assembly President

24 May 2012

The President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, today underlined the urgent need to provide sufficient and low-cost energy to people across the world who lack access, stressing that making energy readily available can boost efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.

“More than a billion people continue to live without access to electricity,” said Mr. Al-Nasser in an address to a conference organized by the Foreign Policy Association on the topic of ‘The Future of Energy.’

“It is clear that the basic energy needs of their daily lives are not being met. Today, more than any time in the past, there is an urgent need to ensure the sustainable use of energy and to address the challenge of energy poverty,” he added.

Mr. Al-Nassir noted that it is widely acknowledged that the more energy is available to communities, the greater the impact on food security, health, education, transport, communications and water and sanitation.

“Energy has therefore become an important component, if not an essential means, of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Unfortunately, over the past decade, the international community has not managed to agree on meaningful action to tackle the challenge of climate change, including energy poverty,” he stated.

The Assembly President called for the adoption of a new paradigm of consumption and production designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions; develop mechanisms to improve energy efficiency and ensure clean technologies are applied to fossil fuels; build capacities; facilitate access to renewable energy; and transfer technology.

Mr. Al-Nasser emphasized that international collaboration in boosting energy availability is a crucial way to ensuring success, adding that the cooperation should be between governments, academia, private sector and civil society.

“I would call for leaders in policy technology and business to work together, to develop new ways to shape the future of renewable energy, while also focusing on sustainability. Environmentally friendly means of using clean fossil fuels, including natural gas, must be found,” he said.

Mr. Al-Nasser also stressed that the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro next month, will be “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure a sustainable future and a more equitable world.”

“My hope is that the international community will formulate global strategies for increasing access to clean energy, improving energy efficiency, and accelerating the spread of renewable energy technologies throughout the world,” he added.


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