Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remarks to press conference on sustainable energy for all

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), 16 January 2012

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to be here for the global launch of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.

I have come to Abu Dhabi with one simple message.

Sustainable energy for all is both necessary and achievable.

We need to engineer a new energy future, a future that harnesses the power of technology and innovation in the service of people and our planet.

Sustainable Energy for All is good for the economy, good for the environment and good for global equity.

It is the way of the future.

That is why I have created my Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

Our goal is to reduce poverty and provide opportunity to all, to drive global economic dynamism and to combat climate change.

This is a triple win for tough times.

One in every five people on this planet has no access to modern electricity.

This is inequitable and unsustainable. It is time to end energy poverty.

At the same time, our planet is heating up. Climate change threatens lives, peace and prosperity.

We need to turn power on for every household, while turning down the global thermostat.

We must act now to build a clean energy economy.

My Sustainable Energy for All initiative calls for action on three complementary objectives, all to be achieved by 2030. You have heard many times, but let me repeat again:

First: to provide universal access to sustainable energy.

Second: to double the rate that energy efficiency is improved.

Third: to double the percentage of renewables in the global energy mix.

I have appointed a High-level Group to develop an Action Agenda.

It is co-chaired by Kandeh Yumkella, the Chair of UN Energy and Executive Director of the UN Industrial Development Organization, and Charles Holliday, Chairman of Bank of America.

They are with us today.

The Group is working hard to mobilize commitments – in boardrooms, in government ministries and in communities around the world.

Together we can create momentum that is truly game-changing.

The private sector will play a critical role.

It can drive innovation and unleash considerable investments.

But the efforts of the private sector need to be buttressed by governments providing the right enabling policies.

The UN system, for its part, is gearing up for the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in June this year.

We will announce commitments to the initiative at Rio.

And we will publicly track progress toward achieving the objectives.

Accountability is crucial.

Sustainable energy for all will transform lives, economies and the environment.

It will help build the future we want.

Thank you very much and I am now happy to take your questions.