14 January 2013

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

‘We Have No Time to Lose and Much to Gain’ in Spreading Benefits of Renewable

Energy Far and Wide, Says Secretary-General in Message to Abu Dhabi Meeting


Following is Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the third session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) assembly, delivered by Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, in Abu Dhabi, 13 January:

Sustainable energy is essential to achieving sustainable development, the overarching priority of the United Nations.  My Sustainable Energy for All initiative aims to mobilize Governments, the private sector and civil society behind a transformation of the world’s energy systems.  This effort has three ambitious but achievable objectives:  to provide universal energy access; to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030.

I welcome IRENA’s leadership and support.  IRENA has developed a 2030 Renewable Energy Roadmap to advance action on this part of the initiative, and will serve as the hub for the initiative’s renewable energy efforts.  I encourage you to work through IRENA and with the initiative’s other partners to increase the use of renewable energy to meet the world’s escalating energy demands.

IRENA members recognize the significant opportunities that renewable energy provides for building a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for all.  Greater use of renewable energy can reduce local pollution and improve human health.  It can generate new jobs in the growth industries of the future while strengthening energy security.  It will also help reduce the risks of runaway climate change.  For many countries, including many developing countries, renewable energy represents one of the best options for sustainable modern energy services.

As you know, last month, the United Nations General Assembly declared a Decade of Sustainable Energy for All to commence in 2014.  This is an important step forward.

We have no time to lose, and much to gain, in spreading the benefits of renewable energy far and wide.  We must find a more sustainable pathway to growth, one that provides for the needs of today while preserving the planet and its resources for future generations.  The Rio +20 Conference has called for a fundamental rethink on development, and sustainable energy transformation would be central to this effort.

Since its founding, IRENA has contributed to the assessment and improvement of political, economic and regulatory environments for investments in renewable energy.  I welcome IRENA’s significant achievements in the areas of knowledge management and technology cooperation, policy advisory services and capacity-building, and innovation.

This Third Assembly provides an opportunity to review progress and identify new areas for international cooperation.  I wish you a productive discussion, and look forward to your continued valuable contribution to global renewable energy efforts.

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For information media • not an official record