Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this special event on: The role of Renewable and Clean Energy in Promoting Green Economy in the Context of Poverty Eradication & Sustainable Development in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS.
We are happy to co-host this event with NGO Sustainability (Mrs. Roma Stibravy).
We have two excellent presenters from UNIDO and IRENA whom we will hear from soon.
But let me first say that in the build-up towards Rio+20, I have been advocating for greater access to sustainable energy for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. My office had identified access to sustainable energy as one of the two core issues (the other being access to water) that should feature prominently in any outcome from Rio+20 process.
I am pleased to see that energy and access to it has been prominent in the drafts currently being considered. There is no doubt that access to energy cuts across all three pillars of sustainable development, be it the social, economical, or environmental pillar. Indeed the mantra we have been promoting rightly states that “there can be no development without energy”.
There may need to be shift in this mantra that would read: “there can be no sustainable development without sustainable energy”.
Access to clean, efficient, affordable and reliable energy services are indispensable for global prosperity, including those of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. Indeed these groups of countries can “leapfrog” the past trends of unsustainable energy practice and consumption by adopting sustainable energy services. To do so, expanded access to reliable, clean, efficient and modern energy services is needed if these countries are to reduce poverty and increase productivity, enhance competitiveness and promote sustainable development.
The development of policies that link economic, social, environmental considerations in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS may in themselves call for more innovative approaches and thinking. These could be premised, among other things, on the following questions:
Are there any best practices and success stories on access to energy in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS? What are these successes and how were they obtained? Can they be replicated? What are the constraints and challenges faced by LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS in providing sustainable energy services to their citizens? How can resources be mobilised to support the efforts of these vulnerable countries achieve access to sustainable energy solutions for their populations?
The answers to some of these questions inevitably leads to further questions that are generally based on partnerships. These could include: How can partners, both governmental, civil society and corporations, including from the north/south and south/south, be encouraged to invest in promoting sustainable energy objectives in these vulnerable countries?
While I understand that the global policy measures that could be developed towards responding to some of the questions posed above are still being considered in the negotiations towards an outcome for Rio, some of these could centre around the following thoughts:
· Increase investment and technical support in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS energy services that is delivered through approaches that are sustainable, that develop capacity and incentives underpinning affordability and efficiency, and that mobilize and optimize the contributions of governments, local communities, civil society and the private sector.
· The recognition that development strategies that are biased towards urban areas have also influenced the physical location of energy services and access to energy and that this may need to be seriously reconsidered.
· The recognition that despite the noble efforts, systematic under-investment is widespread in sustainable energy services in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS and therefore Governments of these countries and development partners need to significantly increase their investments in sustainable energy services to improve prospects for realizing green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS.
· Innovative mechanisms such as SIDS-DOCK which promotes individual voluntary renewable energy targets for SIDS need to be supported.
On the part of the United Nations, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is leading a global initiative on Sustainable Energy for All to mobilize action from all sectors of society in support of three interlinked objectives to be achieved by 2030. The three interlinked objectives are: 1. providing universal access to modern energy services; 2. doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and 3. doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
I have briefly raised some issues that deal with access to modern energy services. The other two presenters, UNIDO and IRENA, will be touching on energy efficiency and renewable energy respectively.
Once again, I thank you all kindly for attending this special event and sincerely hope that our discussions here today will add further food for thought in the ongoing dialogue as we move forward towards Rio and a successful outcome this June.