ISTANBUL, 31 May 2012 - The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, today visited the International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technologies (UNIDO-ICHET) in Istanbul and test-drove some of the vehicles developed at the Centre that run on hydrogen as a replacement for conventional fossil fuels.
Ban’s visit was in preparation for this month’s Rio+20 Conference which has as one of its main topics the use of alternative energies for environment protection.
The Secretary-General was accompanied by the Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor, Kadir Topbaş, officials from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representatives from industry (Koç, Arçelik, Siemens, IBM, Okan Enerji and Zorlu Enerji), the consuls of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Norway and Poland, the mayor of the Zeytinburnu municipality, and by the U.N. Resident Coordinator for Turkey, Shahid Najam.
Welcoming Ban, UNIDO-ICHET acting director James Wetherilt outlined the principles of hydrogen energy and the role of the Centre.
"It's a great honour for me to visit this UNIDO International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technologies. I'm very much impressed by what I've seen,” said Ban Ki-moon.
Commending the Centre’s scientific achievements in the field of hydrogen energy technologies, Ban said that sustainable energy was one of the top priorities of the United Nations. “Sustainable energy will be one of the top issues which world leaders will discuss in Rio de Janeiro in just 3 weeks time,” he added.
The International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technologies (ICHET) is a project of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) founded in Istanbul in 2004 and supported by the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. Its role is to support, demonstrate and promote viable hydrogen energy technologies with the aims of enhancing future economic development, particularly in emerging countries, and of preventing the widening of the energy and technology gap while helping skipping over the fossil fuel phase.
For more information on ICHET and for more photos from the visit, please see: