Monday, 16 April 2012

UN Secretary-General welcomes European Commission’s commitment to Sustainable Energy for All Initiative

BRUSSELS, 16 April 2012 — United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, today welcomed the European Commission’s Energizing Development Initiative to assist developing countries in providing their citizens with access to sustainable energy.  The initiative aims to provide energy services to 500 million people by 2030. 

“I welcome the commitment by the European Commission in support of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.  Its strong leadership in making energy central to its development policies, and for advancing the issue of energy access, helps place energy at the forefront of the global development agenda,” said the Secretary-General during his keynote address to the European Union (EU) Sustainable Energy for All Summit today in Brussels.

During the summit, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, announced that the Energizing Development Initiative will include a new EU Technical Assistance Facility worth 50 million euros over the next two years, which will support those developing partners that "opt in" to the initiative by providing EU expertise in the field; thereby promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth.

The initiative will also focus on refining, expanding and improving energy-related innovative financial instruments and risk guarantee schemes in developing countries in order to unlock greater private investment.

Lastly, in the lead-up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio in June, the EU and Member States will look to mobilize an additional several hundred million euros to support concrete new investments in sustainable energy in developing countries, with the goal of leveraging even greater flows of additional investment from the private sector. 

"The link between energy and development is fundamental. Without energy access, we simply will not meet the Millennium Development Goals,” said President Barroso. “That's why we've organized today's summit. We are committed to the aim of providing universal access to sustainable energy for all by 2030. By bringing together our partners, the private sector and civil society, we will work shoulder to shoulder to make this aim a reality. With today's strong pledge that we will assist developing countries in providing energy access for 500 million people by 2030, we are demonstrating our own commitment and hope that others will join us in making sure that by 2030, energy access is no longer a privilege but the right of all." 

“This is a powerful political commitment.  It takes us nearly half way toward achieving the objective I have set of universal energy access by 2030,” said the UN Secretary-General.  “This objective is critically important if we are to catalyze economic growth, end energy poverty, expand social equity and protect our environment.” 

The Sustainable Energy for All Initiative is catalyzing global action in support of three, interlinked and complementary objectives, all to be achieved by 2030:  ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the global rate of improvement of energy efficiency, and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. 

Led by the Secretary-General, the initiative is a global partnership between governments, the private sector and civil society.  It is designed to scale up action, foster innovative new public-private partnerships and unleash the potential of all stakeholders in order to achieve sustainable energy for all by 2030.

To implement the Initiative, the Secretary-General has appointed a high-level group of distinguished leaders in business, finance, government and civil society, which is co-chaired by UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, and the Chairman of Bank of America, Charles O. Holliday.

The International Energy Agency estimates that 1.3 billion people – one in five globally – lack electricity to light their homes or conduct business.  Twice that number – nearly 40% of the world’s population – rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste to cook food, resulting in toxic smoke that causes lung disease and death.

The European Commission’s early commitment embodies the growing momentum behind the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.   In recent months, private sector companies and civil society groups have also begun to make specific commitments to action in support of achieving the goal of ‘Sustainable Energy for All’.

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Media Contact:

Jean-Luc Onckelinx
UN-EU Desk Officer
Mobile: +32476215485

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