High-level event on Sustainable Energy for the Least Developed Countries, New York, Monday, 23 September 2013

Sustainable energy holds the key to resolving the two major challenges of our time, namely poverty and climate change. At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), Member States expressed their determination “to act to make sustainable energy for all a reality and, through this, help to eradicate poverty and lead to sustainable development and global prosperity”.

The commitments expressed in Rio+20 are most critical in the context of the least developed countries (LDCs), which constitute the poorest and most vulnerable group of countries in the world. Nearly four out of five people in LDCs do not have an electricity connection in their homes and nine out of ten lack access to modern fuels for cooking. These rates are much lower than for other developing countries, and demonstrate the large “energy gap” faced by LDCs.

The Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the decade 2011-2020 (IPoA) recognizes that access to affordable, reliable and renewable energy and related technologies, as well as the efficient use and distribution of energy will be critically important for accelerating growth, improving livelihoods and advancing sustainable development. It sets the ambitious objective of ensuring access to energy for all by 2030.

To achieve this objective, a global goal on sustainable energy along with implementation mechanism should be established as part of the post-2015 development agenda, as was highlighted in the High Level Meeting on Energy and the Post-2015 Development Agenda held in Oslo earlier this year.

On 23 September 2013 the governments of Ethiopia, Liberia and Norway co-chaired an event at the Head of State / Government level on Sustainable Energy and LDCs, with the collaboration of OHRLLS. Background information about the event can be found below.