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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's Joint Press Conference with Mr. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission [scroll down for Q&A]

Brussels, Belgium, 16 April 2012

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
 
It is a great pleasure to visit the European Union at the early stage of my second term as the Secretary General.
 
Let me thank President Barroso, Commissioner Piebalgs and Danish Development Minister Bach for hosting this important event.
 
The European Union is a key strategic partner of the United Nations across the whole spectrum of the United Nations ideals and goals and objectives, starting from peace and security, development and Human Rights. In that regard, I am particularly honoured and pleased to participate in this Sustainable Energy for All initiative summit meeting which was hosted by President Barroso.  
 
Sustainable energy is essential for development. It is critical for ending energy poverty and generating economic growth. And it is necessary for reducing the dangerous warming of our planet.
 
That is why I launched this initiative in November last year.
 
My vision is for a world with universal access to modern energy services for all the people of the world by 2030.  
 
A world with significantly improved rates of energy efficiency and a doubling of renewable energy in our global energy mix.   
 
Today, the European Commission has made groundbreaking commitments that will go a long way toward meeting these objectives, especially on the issue of energy access. I am grateful and highly commend this very ambitious initiative which was announced by President Barroso this morning. This energizing development, and again already existing 20-20-20 initiative, is in line with the Sustainable Energy for All initiative which I have initiated.  
 
President Barroso has just provided details of the Commission’s commitments and his leadership in raising sustainable energy to the top of the development agenda is bold and far-sighted and ambitious. I encourage other countries to follow this example.
 
The world faces two energy challenges today.  We need to turn on the lights and power for every household and at the same time, while turning down the global thermostat.
 
The solution is to provide a sustainable energy for all.
 
One in five people in the world still do not have access to electricity.  
 
Two out of five – three billion people -- still rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating.
 
In the 21st century, this is inequitable… and unsustainable.
 
Sustainable Energy for All is a true global partnership between governments, the private sector and civil society. This is the biggest Public-Private partnership.  And for that reason, I am going to establish a partnership facility within the United Nations.
 
It can take actions to scale and unleash the potential of all stakeholders.
 
I encourage everyone to join us.
 
Together we can create momentum that is truly game-changing.  
 
Next week in London, we will release the initiative’s Action Agenda at the close of the Clean Energy Ministerial. We anticipate commitments that can drive innovation and unleash massive investment flows.
 
This Initiative is about actions that catalyze a sustainable energy revolution that benefits all the countries.
 
Through their actions here today, the Commission is pointing the way to the future.  
 
Mr. President, thank you for your leadership and your colleagues for showing yet again why the European Union is one of the UN’s key strategic partners.
 
I look forward to deepening our ties.  I look forward to working closely with you to realize the great potential of this initiative, and to ensure an ambitious outcome at the Rio+20 Conference in June.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr President,
 
Before I conclude this press conference, I would like to say a few words about the coordinated attacks launched yesterday across Afghanistan by Taliban insurgents.
 
I condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms. They targeted state institutions and international organisations, including foreign diplomatic missions, in Kabul and in other parts of the country. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, is monitoring the situation.
 
We need to strengthen the capacity of counter-terrorism efforts and of Afghan national security.
 
These issues will be discussed in detail at the forthcoming NATO summit in Chicago in May.
 
The UN remains committed to supporting the efforts of the Government to consolidate peace and democracy.
 
For other issues, security issues which was stated by President Barroso I share exactly what he said. We will be very closely working together with the European Union and other key partners in addressing many issues for countering terrorism and restoring constitutional orders in those countries, in Mali and Guinea-Bissau.  We will try our best efforts in restoring peace and stability in Sudan and also we are working very hard to keep this cessation of violence in Syria. The advance of the monitoring team has arrived yesterday already.  They are already operating their missions to observe the situation.  I hope that with the deployment of this observer mission which will be enlarged in near future, we will able to insure that there is cessation of violence and an inclusive political dialogue will be able to continue to meet the aspirations and wishes of the Syrian people, led by Syrian people. At the same time, we will continue to generate and mobilize necessary humanitarian assistance to many needy people in Syria.  It is very important that cessation of violence should continue, must continue. The Syrian authorities must exercise maximum restraint. And again the opposition forces also should fully cooperate so that the cessation of violence will continue.
 
Thank you very much.
 
Q: [translated from the French]
 
Secretary-General, would you have a first evaluation of the Observer mission in Syria? Since two Syrian villages have been shelled in the morning, do you see a need of a military protection for the humanitarian aid?
 
SG:  As I said, the advance observer mission has arrived yesterday. I know that the six members of the advance team have arrived and they have just begun their mission. I have not yet received any report at this time, at this early stage. I believe that they will be able to observe this situation. Our plan is that this advance team will be increased to thirty people, unarmed, and I'm requested by the Security Council to propose a concrete proposal by the 18th of April, that is Thursday of this week, on the basis of which the Security Council is expected to authorize a formal official monitoring team of 250 or so people, who will be unarmed. There is a question of how their security and safety should be protected. It is the Syrian government's responsibility to guarantee freedom of access, freedom of movement within the country; they should be allowed to freely move to any places where they will be able to observe this cessation of violence.
 
Again on the humanitarian team, their freedom and their safety should also be protected by the Syrian authorities. We are not contemplating any such a military protection at this time because we believe that these teams should be guaranteed for their freedom of movement.

Q: What assurances have you had, if any, from the Syrian authorities on the access and safety of your observer mission in Syria and are you confident that because it's a succeed by the mission from the Arab League failed and why? Thanks
 
SG: As you know Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan has been negotiating for the realization and implementation of a six-point proposal with the Syrian authorities and he has been also able to get all the political and diplomatic support from key stakeholders including Russia, China and Iran and all other countries, members of the League of Arab States; he visited Saudis and Qataris who might have been proposing some different ideas. In that regard, it is encouraging that the Syrian authority has also committed to this deployment of [the] observer mission. What is important at this time is that this cessation of violence process is very fragile, that requires full support and cooperation by all the parties concerned, Syrian authorities and operation forces. Just any small unintended gunfire may break all this very fragile process of cessation, that's why I'll ask to all the friends of Syria as well as all these operation forces [that] they should fully cooperate so that this can hold. Only on that basis the political negotiation can continue in an inclusive way. If violence continues even in a sporadic way like as we have seen during the last three four days, that's very precarious and it will hamper the smooth operation of monitoring teams. They are not armed, they are just unarmed, they are there to observe, so let these monitoring teams be able to help maintain the cessation of violence. I'm sure that they will make daily and hourly reports to me and the Joint Special Envoy and to the Security Council, so let us help this process continue.

Q: With reference to the Summit a question to both the Secretary-General and European Commission President Barroso: now we talk about clean energies, sustainable energy and renewable energy. Is it always the same or how do you distinguish between these?
 
SG: Let me add a few different perspectives to what President Barroso said. We are preparing for the Rio+20 Summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro in June this year. This should be a generational opportunity for us to work for humanity. Then energy will be one of very important tools to address all the global challenges that we are facing. As you will agree, the international community has been addressing many global challenges, starting from climate change, food security, water issues, global health issues and gender, in all different venues, in different forums. Now the concept, vision of sustainable development is to address all these global challenges in a more comprehensive, broader perspective, in an integrative manner. We have to address all these issues. But among all these issues, energy can play the most effective, important, tools - this is a cross cutting issue! Without energy you cannot resolve all these problems which we have in the world. Climate change, how can you increase the production of agriculture, how can you address the food crisis, how can you address global sanitation, global health issues when there is no electricity or energy in the bank, in the hospitals, and how can you promote further this global communication without energies? Therefore energy, electricity, this is basics of the basics that can even have an effect on reducing violence against women. Many women have to go out to get firewood or whatever they may want to start fires. We have seen much violence, because of this. Therefore this has broader dimensions affecting all spectrums of our humankind. That is why we are taking this as one more priority while addressing many global issues. This should involve how we can make green energy, how we can make technology development to further push the efficiency of energy. And we have to invest wisely more on renewable energy which can be continuously replenishable, without much foreign investment. Our goal is to double this rate of use, share of renewable energy in our global energy mix by 2030 while doubling the efficiency of energy again by 2030. But first and foremost let everyone, every citizen in the world have access to energy by 2030. This can be done. Thank you.

Off-the-Cuff on 16 April 2012