Secretary-General's remarks to the press at the launch of Norway's Energy+ initiative
Oslo, 10 October 2011Thank you very much Mr Prime Minister and thank you for organizing this meeting and press conference,
And I'm particularly honoured to participate in this important launch of Energy + as the UN is going to focus on providing sustainable energy for all by 2030, and I really appreciate the Norwegian government led by Mr. Stoltenberg in all the initiatives he has been taking, starting from working as co-chair to make UN systems [operate more] coherently and also he led, as co-chair, this High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, and he also has shown extraordinary visionary leadership in reducing deforestation and land degradation, known as REDD +.
This is a very important basis now now he is taking leadership in energy, sustainable energy, and I really appreciate your leadership. I hope many leaders around the world will emulate the Norwegian initiative.
And I also thank Minister Solheim for his commitment and leadership as Minister for Development. It's not necessary to define and to explain further
Energy is central to every major challenge we face today: relieving poverty spurring economic recovery combating climate change.
Prime Minister Stoltenberg understands very well and I'm very much grateful for you raising this, what is termed as a 50-50-50 challenge' which you have just mentioned, he has eloquently explained the urgency and seriousness of our challenge we have to address this 50-50-50 challenge. I again thank you for your leadership.
We discussed how we can work together to make this sustainable energy a reality.
Next year, in June, in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders will gather to discuss and to demonstrate their leadership, how they can work together to make our sustainable development. Sustainable energy is crucial for sustainable development, as you know I have made sustainable development as a top priority of the United Nations at least for the coming five years, during my second term as Secretary General.
This is a generational opportunity to shape the world of tomorrow by the decisions we make today. In that regard I highly commend your leadership again, your initiative, this is a visionary initiative to launch Energy+ today.
Saving our planet, elevating the poor from poverty, and achieving balanced global economic growth are one and the same cause.
We will not achieve any of these goals without energy sustainable energy for all.
This is not what we are launching today, we have already done a great work in the past, I have established as you may remember a high-level advisory group on climate change and energy, led by our distinguished [Kandeh K.] Yumkella here, he is the general director of UNIDO, that they made the good recommendation, three targets, and as I said this morning, that we must provide universal access to all the people by2030 and we have to double this improvement of energy efficiency and by that time we have again to double this renewable energy in global the global energy mix. These are our targets, maybe ambitious, but it can be done and it must be realized for the whole world.
The goal is to generate commitments from governments and the private sector to achieve all this three linked global objectives by 2030.
Norway has consistently been among the strongest and most innovative leaders – as I said, for example, through its support for the REDD-plus programme to reduce emissions from forest loss and degradation.
Energy-plus builds on this innovative approach.
It will help to mobilize private capital and public resources in support of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.
I would like to thank Norway for its generous contribution to this initiative, for its trailblazing leadership and for helping to bring energy for all to the top of the political agenda.
Now more than ever, the world needs to ensure that the benefits of modern energy are available to all and that energy is provided as cleanly and efficiently as possible.
We need to act now.
Let us use this Conference in Oslo and also international year, the 2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, and also the Rio+20 summit meeting to build political momentum around this critical agenda.
I thank you very much
Q: There has been a lot of talk about funding, how it should be balanced between public and private funding, in a lot of these countries where the need is greatest there is also often a poor human rights record and political situation that is not necessarily in tune with what is wanted by the UN and nations like Norway. How do you prevent that increased state funding can also in a way legitimize regimes like this and how do you ensure that human rights are respected?
SG: This is a very important question, and at the same time a little bit sensitive. In every initiative funding plays a crucially important role. I know we're going through a very difficult economic crisis, in most of the developed world, Norway has been an exception and you are doing very well. In climate change there is important funding questions. [Prime Minister] Stoltenberg has proposed some different options for funding it's in the hands of the Member States.
On the energy issue, as I understand from the international energy agency, it will only cost 3 per cent of the global energy investment to get energy for all if there is a political will, commitment by the leaders, and if there is a global partnership between private and public sector and then it should not be a big issue. Sustainable energy provides a generational opportunity for resuscitating the economy, to provide clean and green growth, and it can generate jobs, therefore investing in energy can be a very smart investment and that conviction I hope will be spread worldwide.
Now it depends upon the leaders, where they will put their policy priorities. Energy, after all, is a cross-cutting initiative. It can affect all aspects of our lives and it will continue to be so, therefore we will have to have the right perspective, then I think we can resolve this issue. And on other related issues, of course human rights is a fundamental issue in the UN Charter providing energy access will be part of improving human rights. Look at so many people: how can you ensure, how can you talk about human rights when they are completely out of access? Then there is no health issues, no gender empowerment, no schools? then I think this will be very important in even creating some social and political atmosphere to protect human rights.
Q: You said providing energy for poor people is not an academic question for you, because you experienced lack of electricity as a child. I was wondering if you could give a few examples of your own upbringing and childhood in Korea, and your experiences. Secondly, we would like to know what kind of framework, what kind of private-public partnership is it the UN sees as necessary to make it attractive to private capital to invest in energy in poor countries?
SG: I mentioned briefly about my own experience when I was a young boy. I was born before the end of World War II, and when I was growing up Korea had to go through the Korean War and abject poverty. Until I was a freshman in college, in 1963, I had to study with the help of candlelight. When there was an examination I had to buy candles, and before that a small kerosene lamp. This is what I had to endure. There was no idea of what was a refrigerator or even fans [are]. That is what I experienced: complete darkness. Whenever I've been traveling around the world, particularly in Africa, then I felt very humbled when I couldn't see any light. I felt very sad and humbled. One point four billion people do not have any access. If we expand this scope then there is 3 billion people, that's almost 40 per cent of the total world population. If we do not take action on this, then what should we do? The United Nations and countries like Norway and developed world should really think about these people. This is why we are launching this very aggressive imitative.
In Rio+20 next year we hope that world leaders will be able to agree on a framework, but not only that but on practical action. There will be many ways? investing more in energy, investing more in research and development, and in renewable energy. I have been trying to visit many facilities where renewable energy is being studied and researched and I have seen many, in developing worlds, where people are investing, if you go to China, India or even in Kenya or Ethiopia, they are spending a lot of money, but as you have heard from the Kenyan Prime Minister they need support, private investment or public support. There may be some limit in government public support but if there is private sector investment for the future, that will be the best way to help all these very helpless people.
Q: Your view on the human rights situation in the Ogaden province, as have been addressed by the demonstrators outside the building.
SG: Ethiopia is one of many very important countries not only in the region but in the African Union in promoting peace and security and also development. With regards to the situation in Ogaden, the UN has been working very closely with the Ethiopian authorities in two areas. First, helping those people who are suffering from extreme humanitarian difficulties. We have been sending missions and providing necessary humanitarian assistance, also helped in the cause of democratization, addressing many political issues discussing and raising these human rights issues, not only with the Ethiopians but throughout the world wherever the human rights are not properly protected and promoted.
Human rights are one of the top priorities, one of the three pillars of the UN Charter. As Secretary-General I have not spared any effort to first discuss with the world leaders to ensure that human rights are properly protected.
Off-the-Cuff on 10 October 2011