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Friday, 16 September 2011

Climate change efforts and an energy revolution should walk hand in hand, says UNIDO Director-General

JOHANNESBURG, 16 September 2011 - The Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Kandeh K. Yumkella, said today that meeting climate change goals requires nothing short of an energy revolution that would provide sustainable energy for all.

Speaking at a meeting of African Energy Ministers in Johannesburg, which is working towards improved integrated energy planning and ensuring the design and development of sound energy projects that can alter Africa's energy pathway, he said: “We cannot solve climate change without an energy revolution - they are interconnected. Although both are often portrayed in terms of challenges, there are also huge opportunities for Africa's economy and its people.”

According to South African Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, only 42 per cent of the continent's population has access to electricity, with the rate for sub-Saharan Africa being as low as 31 per cent - the lowest rate of any region in the world. At a minimum, the Ministers aim to double the existing generating capacity in sub-Saharan Africa in the next 7 or 8 years.

Yumkella also emphasized that Africa will not be able to develop socially or economically without ensuring that all people have access to modern, clean energy services. This requires a clear focus on providing sustainable energy. He urged leaders to focus on practical energy projects, and set clear goals and targets at global climate negotiating forums and beyond.

The two-day conference, which ends today, adopted the Johannesburg Declaration, which includes an initial list of priority energy infrastructure projects.

The Declaration has identified a range of priorities, among them to dramatically expand access to modern, clean, high-quality energy services; develop  energy security by scaling-up regional power supply and transmission; reduce climate change vulnerability; prioritizing clean energy; secure financial resources; and build the technology and innovation capacity.

Participants at the event also agreed to support the expansion of generation capacity with emphasis on regional projects; enhance funding for policy and institutional development activities; and cooperate closer on energy planning and international cooperation, as well as on regional trade and energy resource development.

To download the Johannesburg Declaration (PDF), please click here

To read Michael Liebreich's speech, click here

For more information on UNIDO, please contact:

Mikhail Evstafyev
UNIDO Advocacy and Communications Coordinator
Telephone: (+43-1) 26026-5021
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-7329
E-mail