1 June 2004 Renewable sources of energy hold the key to tackling the twin scourges of poverty and ecological degradation, the head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said today.
Calling these threats the "two-headed hydra threatening the very fabric of our economic and democratic systems," Klaus Toepfer issued a strong appeal to provide clean energy to the poorest of the poor.
"Even small improvements to the type and quality of energy available for rural communities in developing countries can produce significant environmental, economic and social outcomes," Mr. Toepfer said in a statement released in connection with the opening today in Bonn of the International Conference for Renewable Energies.
The UNEP chief stressed the need for a financial and political commitment to change, calling for investments in technology, people and skills for sustainable development.
"Let's be very clear: the many different forms of renewable energy will not enter the mainstream without substantially more support for research and development, better incentives, and further developed markets where the environmental and social costs are included in the price of energy," he said.
Governments gathered in Bonn to discuss the potential of renewable energies would have the chance to "learn about rapidly evolving technologies, exchange ideas, discover new opportunities, and 'invent' a new future," he said.