UN urges increased efforts to achieve sustainable energy for all

January 17th, 2012 - 10:06 pm ICT by BNO News  

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (BNO NEWS) — Senior United Nations (UN) officials on Monday called on governments, the private sector and civil society to help expand energy access, improve efficiency and increase the use of renewables.

As the ‘International Year of Sustainable Energy for All’ kicked off on Monday, the UN noted that globally, one in five people still lack access to modern electricity, and more than twice that number - three billion people - rely on wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste for cooking and heating.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking at the opening of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, underlined that sustainable energy for all is within reach. “We are here to build a new energy future,” he said. “A future that harnesses the power of technology and innovation in the service of people and the planet.”

Ban stressed that energy is central to everything, from powering economies to achieve the anti-poverty targets which are known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to combating climate change and underpinning global security.

“It is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity and preserving the environment,” Ban said, noting that widespread energy poverty still condemns billions to darkness, to ill-health and to missed opportunities for education and prosperity.

In order to end the so-called ‘energy poverty,’ Ban underlined the need to scale up successful examples of clean energy and energy-efficient technologies; innovation that can spread throughout the developing world; partnerships with the private sector; and visionary leadership.

MDGs target to slash global poverty by 2015 by combating hunger, disease, illiteracy, environment degradation and discrimination against women. But Ban stressed that energy poverty cannot be allowed to jeopardize such progress.

Last year, the Secretary-General set up a high-level group which is tasked with promoting his Sustainable Energy for All initiative that 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.

Also on Monday, UN General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser noted that more than a billion people continue to live without access to electricity and stressed that there is a more urgent need to ensure the sustainable use of energy today than at any time in the past.

“While international efforts to meet the challenges of development at the global level are continuing, it is increasingly being acknowledged that the provision of sufficient energy is having an increased impact on food security, health, education, transport, communications, water and sanitation,” Al-Nasser said.

As part of the International Year, Al-Nasser also underlined the importance that UN Member States and international organizations take initiatives that are designed to create an environment that will foster access to energy and energy-related services and the use of new and renewable energy technologies, as well as promote innovation and strengthen employment and investment opportunities.

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