Statement by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs to the International Forum on Innovation and Brand Building of High-Tech Enterprises
Beijing, 21 May 2008

I am very pleased that you have invited me to join you for the Innovation Forum. This is indeed a timely and relevant event. Energy, environment and innovation are today in the international spotlight as seldom before.

The world is witnessing a greatly intensified interest in energy and its contribution to socio-economic development, as well as in addressing the environmental aspects of energy use. The issue of climate change has risen high on the agenda of the international community.

Meeting energy needs, promoting clean energy and tackling climate change are interconnected challenges that must be approached in the wider context of sustainable development.

We face climate change together as a global problem yet recognize differentiated responsibility in addressing it.

All countries face the challenge of moving towards a low-carbon economy. This will require forward-looking policies and the accelerated development and deployment of cleaner technologies.

However, clean and climate-friendly technologies remain expensive, rendering them unaffordable to many developing countries, or are often otherwise inaccessible to them.

We need policies that promote the transfer and diffusion of climate-friendly technologies. In this respect, we should explore a range of incentives to realize the full potential for the transfer, deployment and diffusion of climate mitigation and adaptation technologies. At the same time, there is a need to reward those who own, invent and develop technology.

It is clear that the environment is under threat on many fronts. And we have learned the importance of safeguarding the natural resource base that underpins all economic and social development.

But our actions still lag behind our understanding and our commitments. In the long run, our prosperity cannot come at the expense of the natural environment.

I am very encouraged by the energy, creativity – in a word, innovation – that is so tangible at this gathering. The contribution of scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators – of you and your counterparts around the world – will be absolutely critical in overcoming the global problems of today and in securing a more prosperous and sustainable future for all.

I look forward to fruitful and stimulating discussions.

Thank you.