United Nations

A/52/175


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

18 June 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                A/52/175
                                                E/1997/75
                                                


GENERAL ASSEMBLY                      ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
Fifty-second session                  Substantive session of 1997
Item 12 of the preliminary list*     Geneva, 30 June-25 July 1997
REPORT OF THE ECONOMIC AND            Item 6 (d) of the provisional
  SOCIAL COUNCIL                        agenda**
                                      COORDINATION, PROGRAMME AND
     * A/52/50.                         OTHER QUESTIONS:         
                                        COORDINATION OF THE ACTIVITIES
                                        OF ORGANIZATIONS OF THE 
                                        UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM IN THE
                                        FIELD OF ENERGY
                                           
                                           ** E/1997/100.


            Possibilities of strengthening the coordination of the
            organizations and bodies of the United Nations system 
            in the field of energy within the framework of the    
                   Administrative Committee on Coordination

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                   CONTENTS

                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION .........................................    1 - 3      3

II.   ENERGY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ...................    4 - 10     4 

III.  ACTIVITIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM IN THE FIELD
      OF ENERGY ............................................   11 - 22     5

      A. Mandates and policies ............................    11 - 13     5

      B. Overview of programmes and activities ............    14 - 17     6

      C. Assessment of the linkage between energy 
         activities within the United Nations system and
         sustainable development ..........................    18 - 22     7

IV.   STRENGTHENING COOPERATION IN AND COORDINATION OF
      ACTIVITIES IN THE FIELD OF ENERGY ....................   23 - 31     9

 V.   RECOMMENDATIONS AND PROPOSALS FOR ENHANCING THE
      CAPABILITY OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM IN THE FIELD
      OF ENERGY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ................   32 - 36    11

VI.   OPTIONS FOR HIGH-LEVEL DISCUSSION ON ENERGY ..........   37 - 42    12


                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   The Committee on New and Renewable Sources of Energy and on Energy
for Development, at its second session (12-23 February 1996),
requested the Secretary-General to prepare a report on the activities
of the United Nations system in the field of energy for consideration
by the Committee at its third session in 1998. 1/  The Economic and
Social Council, when considering the report of the Committee at its
substantive session in 1996, requested the Secretary-General to
prepare a report, taking into account, as appropriate, the views of
the Committee, on the possibilities of strengthening the coordination
of the organizations and bodies of the United Nations system in the
field of energy within the framework of the Administrative Committee
on Coordination, and to submit the report, through the Council, to the
General Assembly for consideration at its fifty-second session.  The
Council further requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with
regional commissions and other entities within the United Nations
system, to address in the same report the need to enhance the
capability of the system in the field of energy for sustainable
development and to explore all possible options for a high-level
discussion in this context, taking into account the results of the
fifth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (7-
25 April 1997) and of the nineteenth special session of the General
Assembly (23-27 June 1997). 2/ 

2.   The present report has been prepared in response to that request. 
It is based on information compiled in-house as well as that provided
by the relevant entities within the United Nations system.  It draws
heavily on the report of the Secretary-General to the fifth session of
the Commission on Sustainable Development, entitled "Inventory of
ongoing energy-related programmes and activities of entities within
the United Nations system, on coordination of such activities and on
arrangements needed to foster the linkage between energy and
sustainable development within the system", 3/ requested by the
Commission on at its fourth session, in 1996.  The present report
benefited from inputs by the entities within the United Nations system
concerned with energy; discussions at and the report of the Expert
Workshop on fostering the linkage between energy and sustainable
development within the international institutions, which was hosted by
the Austrian Ministry for the Environment, Youth and Family Affairs
and held at Vienna from 22 to 24 January 1997; 4/ the report of the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Energy after Rio: 
prospects and challenges, 5/ as well as the discussions on the subject
at the fifth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
(7-25 April 1997).  Comments on the outline of the report were also
received from members of the Committee on New and Renewable Sources of
Energy and on Energy for Development.

3.   The report consists of a description of activities, assessments,
recommendations and proposals.  Section II contains a brief discussion
on the relationship between energy and sustainable development. 
Section III provides an overview of mandates and the activities of the
organizations in the field of energy as well as an assessment of the
linkage of those activities to sustainable development.  Section IV
deals with cooperation and coordination of energy activities within
the system.  Section V presents recommendations and proposals on
enhancing the capability of the United Nations system in the field of
energy for sustainable development.  Section VI contains options for a
high-level discussion on energy.


                    II.  ENERGY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

4.   A more detailed discussion on the topic of energy and sustainable
development is contained in the report of the Secretary-General to the
Commission on Sustainable Development at its fifth session on energy-
related programmes and activities. 3/ 

5.   Energy plays a key role in achieving environmentally sound
economic and social objectives that lead to sustainable development, a
point which has been underscored by the Commission on Sustainable
Development.  Agenda 21 6/ and other internationally agreed plans of
action adopted at major United Nations conferences, as well as
relevant conventions, provide a global framework containing goals and
objectives for sustainable socio-economic development and specified
actions related to energy production, transmission, conversion and use
to realize those goals and objectives.

6.   The development and use of energy resources and technologies
should be realized in a socially acceptable manner.  It should be
clean and safe, should not exceed the carrying capacity of existing
ecosystems and thus should not endanger the quality of life of the
present and future generations.  The use of scarce resources to meet
current energy service requirements should not jeopardize the ability
of future generations to meet their needs for the same services. 4/  It
is critically important that short-term options for the development
and use of energy resources be in harmony with those options that, in
the longer term, better contribute to sustainable development.  The
supply of energy should be reliable and secure - at reasonable costs. 
Access to and therefore adequate availability of energy service is a
prerequisite to achieving the socio-economic development required to
improve quality of life and satisfy basic human needs.  An adequate
supply of energy services is urgently needed in many developing
countries, particularly in the least developed countries, remote rural
areas and small island developing States, where more than two billion
people have little or no access to commercial energy services. 1/ 

7.   The current policies for and patterns of production, conversion,
distribution and use of energy are, in general, unsustainable,
characterized as they are by a strong emphasis on energy supply rather
than demand, including demand-side management, and lack due regard to
the social, economic and environmental consequences of such
approaches.  As was affirmed by the Commission on Sustainable
Development, advances towards sustainable energy use are taking place. 
The Commission also underscored that it is necessary to ensure
international cooperation for promoting energy conservation and the
improvement of energy efficiency. 7/ 

8.   The development and use of energy are highly capital-intensive
activities.  Estimates of capital investment requirements for the
development and use of energy resources in developing countries, while
not exhaustive, are nevertheless enormous.  Substantial investments
will also be required to replace ageing plants to improve efficiency
and to reduce environmental impacts of the development and use of
energy, in particular, fossil fuels.  There are also many other
competing requirements for financial resources. 3/ 

9.   Current energy prices favour the development and use of
conventional energy sources over renewable ones.  At the same time,
current practices in fuel pricing do not encourage energy efficiency. 
In most cases there is little or no regard for the external social and
environmental costs of energy supply.  Subsidies in the energy sector
for conventional energy sources and nuclear power tend to hamper
widespread development and application of renewable energy sources. 
Policy changes leading to the full internalization of environmental
costs in prices through the use of economic and fiscal instruments and
to the removal of permanent subsidies are required in order to
establish an enabling policy environment and to achieve a sustainable
energy future. 3/ 

10.  It is evident that the challenges of achieving a sustainable
energy future are enormous and that they require the contribution of
all concerned parties.  It is imperative that all of those concerned -
governments, the international community, the private sector and
non-governmental organizations - develop strategies that include
increased efficiency in energy production, transmission, distribution
and, in particular, energy end-use; a shift towards environmentally
sound energy sources and technologies, including expanded use of
renewable sources of energy; and a shift towards environmentally
sound, safe and cost-effective production, conversion and use of
depletable sources of energy, making full use of advances in
technology in those areas.  All concerned parties should pursue the
promotion, development and implementation of policies and programmes,
as appropriate, designed to ensure that such strategies achieve the
desired goals.


               III.  ACTIVITIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM IN THE
                     FIELD OF ENERGY

                           A.  Mandates and policies

11.  The policies and programmes of the entities within the United
Nations system in the energy field form an integral part of the
overall objectives of the United Nations organization.  The United
Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy, held at
Nairobi in 1981, provided explicit energy-related policies and
programmes.  The United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, held at Rio de Janeiro in 1992, also discussed energy and
concluded that energy was essential to economic and social development
and improved quality of life.  The United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change relates its implementation to the energy policies of
the parties to the Convention.  In the subsequent major conferences,
energy received attention as one of the key factors for furthering
sustainable development.  The United Nations Global Conference on the
Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, held in
Barbados in 1994, adopted the Declaration of Barbados and the
Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island
Developing States, which includes a chapter on energy resources that
identifies issues, problems and constraints facing the States and
recommends ways and means of ensuring adequate, environmentally sound
energy supplies for meeting their social and economic development
objectives.
12.  Policy discussions on energy take place in various
intergovernmental bodies.  The Committee on New and Renewable Sources
of Energy and on Energy for Development addresses a wide range of
issues on energy and sustainable development, including the
development of energy resources in developing countries, the
development and use of renewable sources of energy, energy efficiency
improvement, environmentally sound development and use of fossil
fuels, the development and implementation of rural energy policies,
energy and transportation and coordination of energy activities within
the United Nations system.  For its deliberations, it is provided with
in-depth reports by the Secretary-General.  The Committee reports to
the Economic and Social Council.

13.  General discussions on energy also take place among other
intergovernmental bodies, such as the Commission on Sustainable
Development, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) (in relation to energy and environment issues), the
General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
(in relation to nuclear energy and related environmental issues), the
Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change (in relation to the emission of greenhouse gases),
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Executive Board of
UNDP and the United Nations Population Fund (energy for sustainable
human development) and the Statistical Commission (energy statistics). 
The World Bank's energy activities are based on the objectives
approved by the Bank's Board of Executive Directors.  The Global
Environment Facility (GEF) has produced an operational strategy. 
Policy discussions on energy also take place in the regional
commissions, which have standing committees on energy or on energy and
natural resources.  The High-level Advisory Board on Sustainable
Development addressed energy policy issues in its report to the fifth
session of the Commission on Sustainable Development entitled
"Critical issues and policies for sustainable development:  energy,
transport and water". 8/ 


                   B.  Overview of programmes and activities

14.  A wide range of activities has been reported, reflecting, as they
do, the mandates, policies and programmes of the respective entities. 
For more details see the annex to the report of the Secretary-General
to the Commission on Sustainable Development entitled "Inventory of
ongoing energy-related programmes and activities of entities within
the United Nations system, on coordination of such activities and on
arrangements needed to foster the linkage between energy and
sustainable development within the system". 3/  The means of
implementing the programmes and activities have varied widely and
have, on the whole, involved the preparation of studies and reports;
technical assistance, including advisory services by experts in
specific fields; the organization of training workshops, seminars,
meetings and conferences; institution- and capacity-building for
assessment of resources, planning, analysis and data management,
policy formulation and implementation; and provision of financial
assistance.  The magnitude of the financial resources allocated to
each project varies widely, from millions of dollars for financial
assistance projects to a few hundred dollars for specific studies or
expert services.  The World Bank, UNDP, GEF and IAEA are the main
sources of funds for energy projects.  The regional development banks
also have substantial lending programmes in support of energy sector
development.

15.  The entities within the United Nations system are active in all
the stages of the energy cycle at the national, regional and global
levels.  There are activities in energy development and supply,
including assessment exploration, production, conversion and
distribution of energy resources; promoting the development of
renewable sources of energy; and electricity generation and
distribution, including rural electrification.

16.  Activities and programmes related to energy use include energy
conservation, improved energy efficiency and demand-side management
and improved management techniques for energy institutions and
enterprises.  Associated activities include energy planning
encompassing policy development, energy analysis and projections,
development of methodologies and analytical techniques including
models for energy studies and evaluation, and environmental impact
assessment.  Energy planning has in most cases been taken up as a
sectoral activity; however in some instances a more integrated
approach is taken, for example, through the integration of energy
policies into overall socio-economic development, the integrated
assessment of energy and sustainable rural development, the
integration of environmental, social and health concerns into energy
planning and analysis, energy and environmental planning in urban
areas and as part of an integrated resource planning approach. 3/ 

17.  Activities in capacity- and institution-building, awareness-
raising, education and training have been pursued through workshops,
seminars and dissemination of information (publications and field
surveys).  Those in technology transfer have been mainly related to
the development and commercial application of renewable sources of
energy, promotion of energy efficiency and demonstration projects. 9/ 


          C.  Assessment of the linkage between energy activities within
              the United Nations system and sustainable development

18.  The activities of many organizations within the United Nations
system have over the past years underscored the relation between
energy and sustainable development.  The policies and mandates of the
respective entities, both before and especially since the United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development, have espoused this
trend.  The United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of
Energy, which adopted the Nairobi Programme of Action for the
Development and Utilization of New and Renewable Sources of Energy,
has had an impact on the programmes and activities of many
organizations:  several have introduced or expanded their programmes
and projects in the field of new and renewable sources of energy. 3/ 

19.  More recently, the General Assembly, in its resolution 46/235 of
13 April 1992 establishing the Committee on New and Renewable Sources
of Energy and on Energy for Development, indicated that in addition to
implementing the Nairobi Programme of Action, the Committee would
consider energy in relation to the environment.  Many entities have
been pursuing that mandate.  With the adoption of resolution 47/190 of
22 December 1992, in which the Assembly endorsed Agenda 21 and urged
the adoption and entry into force of the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change, the stage was set for linking energy and
sustainable development.  Entities within the United Nations system
have, as a result, adjusted their programmes and projects in varying
degrees to reflect the objectives of Agenda 21.

20.  Achieving a sustainable energy future demands a concerted effort
by all actors concerned, including the United Nations system.  In
response to the demands and priorities of the countries that they
support, the organizations of the United Nations are involved in a
broad range of activities, which in general terms are commensurate
with the goals of realizing a sustainable energy future.  Increasing
attention is being given by a number of entities to energy efficiency,
conservation, demand-side management and pricing policies.  Several
organizations contribute to the promotion and dissemination of clean
energy technologies, including clean coal technologies.  Support for
the further introduction and application of renewable energy sources
is increasing, with a special emphasis on improving access of the
rural population to energy services.  In the area of capacity-building
and institutional development, energy-planning activities are
increasingly linked to the broader context of socioeconomic or
environmental planning and plan implementation. 3/ 

21.  The nature and level of energy activities linked to sustainable
development by entities within the United Nations system vary widely. 
The following developments are of special importance.  GEF places
strong emphasis on environmentally sound technologies, which tends to
favour the development of renewable sources of energy.  The World Bank
is by far the largest source of funding for environmental programmes
and projects, including those related to energy.  It is integrating
social and environmental dimensions into all its operations, including
energy, and all energy projects are screened for social and
environmental impacts.  UNDP places special emphasis on sustainable
energy through the pursuit of more efficient energy patterns and
support for major shifts towards renewable sources of energy; it links
its energy projects to the overall objectives of the programmes
related to poverty alleviation, gender equality and environmental
sustainability.  The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO) continues to stress the need to mobilize energy to
fulfil the needs of the food production chain as a means of achieving
sustainable rural development.  The United Nations Conference on Trade
and Development is providing assistance to developing countries in
capacity-building in the use of oil futures markets; it has also
undertaken a study on the tradeable carbon emission entitlements
scheme.  The World Solar Summit, initiated by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and held at
Harare on 16 and 17 September 1996, attracted considerable political
attention to the potential of renewable sources of energy, and
follow-up activities have been initiated on the development of the
World Solar Programme 1996-2005, including a review of the structure
and funding of projects.

22.  The activities of the United Nations and its organizations while
modest compared to the overall investment in the energy sector,
nevertheless have an important role to play as catalysts or models for
new developments aimed at achieving a sustainable energy future.  The
United Nations system has a significant interdisciplinary potential in
the energy field that can be effectively used to support sustainable
energy development in developing countries and economies in
transition.  


             IV.  STRENGTHENING COOPERATION IN AND COORDINATION OF
                  ACTIVITIES IN THE FIELD OF ENERGY          

23.  The merger of the three United Nations Departments working in the
economic and social fields the Department for Development Support and
Management Services, the Department for Economic and Social
Information and Policy Analysis and the Department for Policy
Coordination and Sustainable Development provides a good opportunity
to bring together the United Nations Secretariat's analytical,
normative and technical capacities.  The resulting synergies will
enrich both the policy and the technical-cooperation dimensions of
United Nations activities in those fields.

24.  Through the Statistical Commission Working Group on International
Statistical Programmes and Coordination and the Administrative
Committee on Coordination Subcommittee on Statistical Activities, the
United Nations Secretariat has continued to cooperate and coordinate
with entities in the United Nations system in the collection, analysis
and application of energy data and information.  The Secretariat also
addresses energy issues in the context of the World Economic and
Social Survey.  The Secretariat and other entities of the United
Nations system are cooperating in the preparation of reports for the
Committee on New and Renewable Sources of Energy and on Energy for
Development, the Commission on Sustainable Development and other
intergovernmental bodies.

25.  The Secretariat, the World Bank and UNDP are cooperating in the
implementation of GEF-funded projects at the national, regional and
global levels.  The United Nations Secretariat, UNDP and the Economic
and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) are also
cooperating in the implementation of sustainable energy projects, such
as one on the enhancement of capacity for sustainable energy services
for rural development in Asia.  The International Research and
Training Institute for the Advancement of Women closely cooperates and
coordinates its efforts with the regional commissions, the
International Training Centre of the International Labour
Organization, the United Nations Secretariat and other entities within
and outside the United Nations system in its research and training
activities related to energy.

26.  UNDP and the World Bank have over the years been cooperating in
the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme, with the latter
implementing the projects.  UNDP, UNEP and the World Bank are the
implementing agencies for GEF, which has been providing incremental
costs for projects having global environmental benefits.  The World
Bank, UNDP and a number of other entities within and outside the
United Nations system are jointly funding the Financing Energy
Services for Small-scale Energy-Users programme.  UNDP and the World
Bank's Asia Alternative Energy Unit are also cooperating in a project
to mainstream renewable energy and energy efficiency activities into
the lending operations of the World Bank in the Asia and Pacific
region.

27.  UNESCO, with the active support of Economic Commission for Europe
(ECE), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
and IAEA, initiated the high-level World Solar Summit Process with the
objective of promoting the development and deployment of renewable
energy technologies as a contribution to sustainable development. 
Summit participants adopted the Harare Declaration on Solar Energy and
Sustainable Development and the outline of the World Solar Programme,
1996-2005.  Follow-up activities have been initiated in consultation
with other entities of the United Nations system on the development
and implementation of the World Solar Programme.  The Programme could
constitute an important element of a broader system-wide programme on
renewable sources of energy, in which other entities outside the
United Nations may also wish to take part.

28.  IAEA is coordinating an inter-agency project on databases and
methodologies for comparative assessment of different energy sources
for electricity generation in cooperation with a number of regional
commissions, the World Bank, UNIDO, the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO) and other international organizations. 3/  The
project, which is aimed at enhancing capabilities for the competent
assessment of different sources of energy, could form a basis for
system-wide cooperation in the development of methodologies for
planning, policy formulation and implementation.

29.  WMO and UNEP are cooperating in the work of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change.  The United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change secretariat is cooperating with several
intergovernmental organizations and bodies such as the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, UNIDO, the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Energy
Agency on scientific and technological issues and on issues related to
national communications (methodological issues, analysis and
participation in reviews).

30.  At the regional level, ECE and other entities within and outside
the United Nations system have been cooperating in implementing the
Energy Efficiency 2000 Projects, while ESCAP is executing the
UNDP-funded Programme for Asian Cooperation on Energy and Environment. 
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, ESCAP,
FAO, the World Bank, regional development banks and other
international and regional organizations have been cooperating in the
development of rural energy and related rural development projects. 3/ 
The regional commissions are well-placed to coordinate policy
development and system-wide involvement in the implementation of
energy-related activities and programmes.  This seems to be well under
way in ECE and ESCAP, both of which should provide valuable models for
other regional commissions.  There is, in addition, scope for
cooperation among the regional commissions, the respective regional
development banks and other regional entities.  

31.  Many activities in energy are undertaken at the country level,
during which cooperation and coordination are pursued in various
manners in response to the local situation.  Such efforts would
benefit from a common strategy and enhanced sharing of experiences.  


              V.  RECOMMENDATIONS AND PROPOSALS FOR ENHANCING THE
                  CAPABILITY OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM IN THE 
                  FIELD OF ENERGY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

32.  This section draws heavily on and is similar to the
recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General to
the fifth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development on
ongoing energy-related programmes and activities, 3/ which were
supported by the participants of the Expert Workshop on fostering the
linkage between energy and sustainable development within the
international institutions. 4/

33.  Major changes are required in the current energy systems in order
for them to contribute to sustainable development worldwide.  This can
only be achieved if all actors involved, including the United Nations
system, redouble their efforts in a concerted manner to ensure the
development, promotion and implementation of policies and programmes
aimed at realizing a sustainable energy future.

34.  The entities within the United Nations system have an important
role to play in developing a reference framework for the
energy-related activities of the United Nations system based on a
common understanding of a sustainable energy future, and thereby
providing synergies to the activities. 3/  Such a framework would
promote a balanced and mutually reinforcing approach to economic,
social and environmental aspects of sustainable energy development and
foster partnerships for sustainable energy development with relevant
actors outside the United Nations system, particularly with non-United
Nations intergovernmental organizations dealing with energy and the
private sector.  It should be built on the experiences so far gained
in inter-agency cooperation and coordination in the energy field.

35.  The Commission on Sustainable Development provides a central forum
for high-level discussion of issues that are crucial to achieving the
goals of sustainable development, including that of a sustainable
energy future, at the policy level.  The Commission affirmed its
functions in coordination with other subsidiary bodies of the Economic
and Social Council and other related organizations and institutions. 
It also stated that the work of the Committee on New and Renewable
Sources of Energy and on Energy for Development should be more
compatible with and supportive of the work programme of the
Commission, and that the Economic and Social Council,in carrying out
its functions related to the implementation of General Assembly
resolution 50/227, should consider the most effective means of
bringing this about. 7/  The Committee on New and Renewable Sources of
Energy and on Energy for Development addresses all aspects of energy
and should continue to play a valuable role in furthering United
Nations policy discussion on energy in the years ahead.  To that end,
its effectiveness would need to be enhanced, through, inter alia,
better representation of Governments, improved dissemination of
reports to the Committee and of the Committee and increased
participation of the organizations of the United Nations system,
including regional commissions in the work of the Committee.

36.  Inter-agency cooperation and coordination in the field of energy
have been rather ad hoc in previous years.  The preparation of the
report of the Secretary-General on energy activities 3/ for the
Commission on Sustainable Development has marked the beginning of
enhanced cooperation and coordination that will be pursued along the
following lines:

     (a)  Convening ad hoc meetings of the entities within the United
Nations system dealing with energy in order for them:  to elaborate a
common reference framework for actions in the field of energy and to
achieve coherence and effectiveness in energy activities that
contribute to sustainable development (this issue was discussed by the
Commission and recommended for further consideration by the General
Assembly at its nineteenth session in June 1997 7/); to enhance the
exchange of information on the different aspects of energy      development
and use including policy issues; and to    help in the improvement of
energy data and information systems of the respective organizations;

     (b)  Devoting part of the agenda of the sessions of the
Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development to energy on a
regular basis and ensuring linkages with energy-related aspects of the
work of other Administrative Committee on Coordination bodies;

     (c)  Cooperating with organizations outside the United Nations
system;

     (d)  Encouraging joint programming and implementation of energy
activities of common interest to the entities within the United
Nations system.


               VI.  OPTIONS FOR HIGH-LEVEL DISCUSSION ON ENERGY

37.  In the continuing debate on the crucial role that energy plays in
sustainable development and the continuing need for enhancing energy
supplies and improving living conditions in developing countries, a
number of suggestions have been made for a high-level discussion on
the subject.

38.  The Committee on New and Renewable Sources of Energy and on Energy
for Development, at its second session, invited Member States and
entities within the United Nations system to consider convening a
United Nations conference on energy for the twenty-first century in
the year 2001 to mobilize world opinion for supporting actions at
different levels on energy in relation to sustainable development.  In
that connection, the Committee requested the Secretary-General to
prepare a report examining the feasibility and the scope of the
proposed conference, in consultation with experts, as necessary, and
to submit the report to the General Assembly for consideration at its
fifty-second session. 1/

39.  The Economic and Social Council, when considering the suggestion
of the Committee, requested the Secretary-General, in consultation
with regional commissions and entities within the United Nations
system, inter alia, to explore all possible options for a high-level
discussion on energy, taking into account the results of the fifth
session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (7-25 April 1997) 10/ 
and of the nineteenth special session of the General Assembly. 2/

40.  The Vienna Expert Workshop on fostering the linkage between energy
and sustainable development within the international institutions
suggested that there be a dedicated session of the Commission on
Sustainable Development towards a sustainable energy future; such a
session might be organized in 2001 or earlier, given the needs and
possibilities of a major change in current energy systems.  The
Workshop stressed that appropriate preparation for the proposed
session on energy be ensured upon the approval of the 1998-2002 work
programme of the Commission on Sustainable Development. 4/

41.  Options for a dedicated session of the Commission on Sustainable
Development, possibly in 2001, were discussed by the Commission and
put forward for consideration by the General Assembly at its
nineteenth special session. 7/  In the multi-year programme of the
Commission on Sustainable Development for the period 1998-2002 that
has been forwarded by the Commission on Sustainable Development to the
General Assembly for consideration at its nineteenth special session,
energy and transport issues are among the subjects proposed for
consideration in 2001. 7/

42.  Given the fact that options for a high-level discussion on energy
are still being considered, no proposals are given at this time.


                                     Notes

     1/  Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1996,
Supplement No. 4 (E/1996/24), chap. I.

     2/  Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first Session,
Supplement No. 3 (A/51/3 (Part II)), chap. V, sect. B.1, resolution
1996/44.

     3/  E/CN.17/1997/7 and Corr.1.

     4/  E/CN.17/1997/16, annex.

     5/  Energy after Rio:  Prospects and Challenges (United Nations
publication, Sales No. E.97.III.B.11).

     6/  Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992 (A/CONF.151/26/Rev.1
(Vol. I and Vol. I/Corr.1, Vol. II, Vol. III and Vol. III/Corr.1))
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     7/  A/S-19/14-E/1997/60.

     8/  E/CN.17/1997/17/Add.1.

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