United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon‑taek, arrived in Denver, Colorado, in the late morning of Wednesday, 24 August, for an overnight visit.
Upon arrival, the Secretary-General attended a luncheon round table with various executives of the energy sector, including those involved in wind and solar power and natural gas, to discuss sustainable energy for both the developed and developing worlds, as well as the United Nations “sustainable energy for all” initiative, which will be launched in September. In his remarks, the Secretary-General underscored the importance of sustainable development, highlighting the need to lift people out of poverty, create jobs and provide a dignified life for all while preserving the planet. (See Press Release SG/SM/13755-EN/257.)
Also as part of his focus on climate change, the Secretary-General then visited the United States Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, the United States’ only federal laboratory dedicated to the research, development, commercialization and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. There, the Secretary-General stressed that, with 3 billion people around the world today still relying on solid fuel as the main source of everyday household energy while 1.4 billion people have no access at all to electricity, the implications of the widespread energy poverty are enormous and are jeopardizing achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. He added that just 3 per cent of current global energy investment could finance access to modern energy for all. (See Press Release SG/SM/13756-EN/258.)
In the evening the Secretary-General delivered a keynote speech at the fourteenth annual Korbel Dinner hosted by the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. There, the Secretary-General received the University’s Global Advancement Award in recognition of his efforts to strengthen the United Nations, empower women and promote sustainable development. (See Press Release SG/SM/13757.)
The Secretary-General truncated his programme in view of pressing developments in Libya and returned to New York in the morning of Thursday, 25 August.