Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.


Abu Dhabi, UAE, 16 January 2012

(Translated from Arabic)

Your Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.
Your Highnesses,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to address this esteemed gathering at this important forum, and I am honoured to join you today in taking part in the fifth annual World Future Energy Summit, which is being held in Abu Dhabi.

By hosting the world’s largest annual gathering on energy, the United Arab Emirates is demonstrating its firm commitment to the principles of sustainable development; its determined efforts to strengthen capacities in the renewable energy field and keep pace with ever-increasing energy requirements; and its contribution to preserving and protecting the environment. The United Arab Emirates also hosts the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

By declaring 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 65/151, the General Assembly established a key platform from which to raise awareness in the international community of the importance of addressing energy issues, finding ways to develop the renewable energy sector, and promoting efficient energy and water use and waste management.

As part of the International Year, which officially begins today, it is incumbent upon Member States and international organizations to take initiatives that are designed to create an environment that will foster access to energy and energy-related services and the use of new and renewable energy technologies. They should also promote innovation and strengthen employment and investment opportunities in order to keep abreast of the growing need for sustainable energy.

In this regard, I am pleased to draw attention to the initiative by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in support of General Assembly resolution 65/151. That initiative aims to ensure that, by 2030, all parts of the world will enjoy access to sustainable energy, by achieving the following three interlinked global objectives: First, ensuring universal access to modern energy services; Second, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency; Third, doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. To that end, an energy campaign will be launched, and a study will be conducted into ways of encouraging the private sector to play a greater role in this field. I have also chosen sustainable development and global prosperity as one of the four key pillars of my presidency of the United Nations General Assembly, in order to emphasize the importance of this vital matter to the international community.

There is a more urgent need to ensure the sustainable use of energy today than at any time in the past: more than a billion people continue to live without access to electricity to meet the basic energy needs of their daily lives.

The provision of sufficient and low-cost energy is unquestionably an essential component of efforts to alleviate poverty, improve the well-being of mankind, raise living standards and achieve sustainable development.

While international efforts to meet the challenges of development at the global level are continuing, it is increasingly being acknowledged that the provision of sufficient energy is having an increased impact on food security, health, education, transport, communications, water and sanitation. Energy has therefore become an important constituent, if not an essential means, of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Climate change is one of the major challenges currently facing mankind. The whole world must take action to curb its impact by adopting a new strategy that is designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions; devising mechanisms to improve energy efficiency and ensure that clean technologies are applied to fossil fuels; building capacities; and transferring technology.

If those goals are to be reached and the success that has been realized in the field of sustainable development maintained, there must be cooperation between all the interested parties, including Governments, the academic world, companies and civil society. Global energy prices must remain stable and environmentally friendly means of using clean fossil fuels, including natural gas, must be found.

All eyes will be on the Rio+20 Conference, which represents a new opportunity to identify an innovative approach towards a more sustainable, secure and equitable world. However, many developing countries continue to be plagued by serious inconsistencies, challenges and obstacles to the effective application of those technologies, which must be overcome. The Conference will also provide an opportunity to formulate global strategies for increasing access to clean energy, improving energy efficiency and accelerating the spread of renewable energy technologies throughout the world.

In conclusion, I am confident that the outcome of this unique Summit will also contribute to the efforts we are making as part of the work of the General Assembly, by opening for discussion at this institution that is so rich in new ideas one of the most complex and urgent issues of our time.

I am certain that this discussion will contribute to the realization of our joint efforts to preserve our planet and unite us in our endeavours to ensure energy for present and future generations.

Thank you for your kind attention. I wish you every success.


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