|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General Stresses Need to Work in ‘Common Cause’ as He Outlines Global
Objectives at Investor Summit on Climate Risk and Energy Solutions
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Investor Summit on Climate Risk and Energy Solutions, delivered by Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning, in New York on 12 January:
It is a pleasure to greet the private sector representatives and all others taking part in this important event. Thank you for your leadership and engagement. The Investor Summit has a remarkable track record. In just a brief period, your membership and the assets you manage have grown dramatically. Your decisions carry enormous weight, and we welcome your voices inside these halls.
During my first term of office, I saw again and again how partnerships with the private sector have made a crucial difference, most notably on maternal and child health. I intend to build on that experience to realize my top priority for the next five years: sustainable development.
In six months, Governments will gather for the “ Rio+20” Sustainable Development Conference. I hope to see many of you there, including at the Corporate Sustainability Forum being organized by the United Nations Global Compact initiative.
All the issues that will be on the table in Rio — climate change, energy, water, food, global health, women’s empowerment — are intertwined. We cannot make progress in one without progress in the others. Rio offers a tremendous chance to expand economic opportunity, strengthen equity and protect the environment — the three “E’s”. But to make the most of this moment, we need global investors who take the long view and invest for sustainable prosperity.
Government budgets are shrinking. Belts are tightening everywhere. And yet there is no lack of capital in the world. Our shared challenge is to find the mix of policies, frameworks, regulations and incentives that will best drive investment flows toward long-term sustainable ends.
Climate change is a prime example. I commend the Investor Network on Climate Risk and the other investor groups worldwide for their leadership in calling for action on climate change and sustainable energy.
As you know, global climate negotiations made progress both in Cancun and at last month’s Durban Climate Conference. We now have the commitments and the agreed process to reach a comprehensive climate agreement with legal force by 2015. But we are still a long way from a comprehensive global solution that adequately responds to the scientific imperative. Therefore, we must simultaneously achieve significant action on the ground around the world to reduce emissions and improve resilience.
Energy is central to climate change. It is also at the heart of our efforts to advance development, health and security. To make progress on all these issues, we need to bring sustainable energy to all. That is why I created my Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. At its core, it seeks to mobilize the ingenuity and resources of the private sector to forge a more accessible, efficient, clean-energy economy over the next two decades.
I have set three global objectives, which are linked and complementary: first, ensuring universal access to modern energy services; second, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and third, doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. We need everyone at the table — investors, CEOs, Governments, civil society groups, technical experts and practitioners – working in common cause.
Towards that end, I have created a High-level Group to spearhead our efforts to obtain bold commitments that can help realize these three objectives. The Group is co-chaired by Chad Holliday, the Chairman of Bank of America, and Kandeh Yumkella, the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, both of whom will speak to you later today. The Group is developing an ambitious Action Agenda, and we hope to announce a full slate of commitments at the Rio+20 Summit. I encourage you all to contribute.
In these times of austerity and economic uncertainty, public sector efforts alone will not be sufficient. Limited public sector resources will need to leverage much larger pools of private sector financing and know-how. We need investors who can provide seed money for clean technologies or invest in other solutions in untapped new markets. Already, solar power stations are providing clean, safe and reliable electricity to impoverished rural communities across Africa and Asia.
I am pleased to note that investors are increasingly evaluating companies on their climate and energy footprint, and are urging corporations to advance energy efficiency in their operations and supply chains. Such scrutiny reflects a growing and very welcome embrace of the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment. The efforts of the Principles for Responsible Investment and other such projects are helping to sensitize capital markets to the importance of sustainability, and are becoming a major force in driving a green economy and carbon reduction.
Thank you again for your presence here at United Nations Headquarters and your deepening engagement in our efforts to build the future we want.
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For information media • not an official record