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Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General

NOVEMBER 1, 2011

SECRETARY-GENERAL’S REMARKS TO MEDIA ON SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL


Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,


As you know, the UN system is gearing up for next year’s Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.


Nearly twenty years after Rio, we see more clearly than ever that economic growth, environmental protection, and social equity are one and the same agenda: the sustainable development agenda.


Energy is the golden thread that runs right through all.


It powers our economies, and makes prosperity possible.


But fossil-fuel based energy also contributes significantly to climate change, which hurts the poor and vulnerable first – and worst.


So we must do two things -- we must ensure that all people have access to modern energy services.


And we must move very rapidly toward a clean energy economy to prevent the dangerous warming of our planet.


We need to turn on the lights for every household, while turning down the global thermostat.


That is why I have launched the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.


As we all know, the economic crisis is foremost on the minds of many.


Sustainable energy –clean, affordable and accessible to all -- is a win-win-win.


It helps us reduce poverty, drive economic dynamism, and reduce the risks of climate change all at the same time.


Today, I am pleased to announce the members of the High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All.


The Group is co-chaired by Kandeh Yumkella, the Chair of UN Energy and Executive Director of UNIDO, and Charles Holliday, Chairman of Bank of America.


The Sustainable Energy for All Group includes key players from around the world – business, finance, governments, civil society.


Its job is to catalyze partnerships, commitments and action – in corporate board rooms, in government ministries, and on the ground in thousands of local communities.


I have set three objectives to support the overall goal of “Sustainable Energy for All.”


They are described in my vision document, which I am releasing today.


I am calling for all three of my objectives to be achieved by 2030.


First: universal access to modern energy services.


Second: doubling the rate at which we improve energy efficiency.


Third: doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.


Together, these goals can help to end energy poverty and catalyze a clean energy revolution that benefits all humanity.


I now turn the floor over to Mr. Yumkella, who will describe some of the Initiative’s next steps.


Thank you for your attention.


Q: On behalf of the UN Correspondents Association, Mr. Secretary-General thank you very much for this press conference. I’d like to know from you, one of the things that I have noticed especially coming from a country like Pakistan where there have been developing these resources, but most of the time, the sustainable energy sources developed in the developing countries are affected by the corruption that is manifest in most of the developing countries. Do you have some sort of options wherein there is corruption in the system which are inherent, are somehow avoided, so that energy reaches the people who deserve it, the poor people, where it is not going at all?


SG: All available resources for MDGs - sustainable development, for energy, climate change, whatever development project, I think all these resources should be used [for] their true purpose without any waste, without being involved in any corrupt practices. That is why the United Nations also puts a higher importance on good governance, fighting against corruption and encouraging all the government leaders and business communities to do all business with the highest level of accountability, transparency - this is good governance. This may not be the case only in Pakistan. Unfortunately, we see such corruptive practices which really hamper all of our development projects. The UN is paying great attention and focus on this matter.


Q: The US announced yesterday that it would stop a $60 million dollars payment to UNESCO. Are you concerned about similar reverberations throughout the UN system, that the US might de-fund other UN agencies?


SG: Yesterday, I expressed my position. As Secretary-General of the United Nations naturally you may understand that I am concerned about the viable financial situation of all the United Nations agencies and programmes, including UNESCO. I expect that practical measures will be taken by Member States. It is [up to] Member States to ensure that all the United Nations agencies receive political and financial support from the Member States. I have been discussing this matter with the Director General of UNESCO and also other key Member States, [on] how the UN can ensure viable financial and political support from the Member States. We will continue to discuss this matter.


Q: Will the United Nations itself compensate for the loss that is going to be suffered by the United States cutting off the funds? Can the United Nations as a whole help UNESCO with this loss that it is going to incur with the United States stopping the funding?


SG: I do not have much to add to what I have said today and yesterday. Since it happened yesterday, even though we knew that it might happen that way, but still this is something which happened yesterday. I need to discuss this matter with the Member States.

SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES CONFIDENCE IN ACHIEVING COMPREHENSIVE SETTLEMENT ON CYPRUS

  • Following his meeting with the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, the Secretary-General told reporters that he is confident that a comprehensive settlement can be achieved.

  • He noted that both leaders have assured him that they believe that they can finalize a deal.

  • The Secretary-General said that he has invited the two leaders to meet wit him again in January 2012, adding that by then, he expects that the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem will have been resolved so that we can move to the multilateral conference shortly thereafter.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY RELIEF SUPPLIES REACH TURKEY

  • The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that planes carrying relief items from its emergency stockpiles have touched down in Turkey to help victims of the recent earthquake there.

  • The Agency has sent some 4,000 tents, 50,000 blankets and 10,000 sleeping mats.

  • In addition to helping the authorities with the shelter needs of the local population, the Agency is also focusing its operation in Turkey on the well-being of some 2,000 refugees and asylum-seekers living in the area at the time the earthquake struck.

D.P.R. KOREA: U.N. CHILDREN’S FUND CALLS FOR URGENT FUNDING TO SUPPORT MILLIONS OF VULNERABLE PEOPLE

  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) calls on the international community to fund its nutrition programme for millions of vulnerable people – especially malnourished children and pregnant and nursing women – in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

  • So far, UNICEF has received only $4.6 million of the more than $20 million it has asked for for the emergency response in the country.

  • Bijaya Rajbhandari, UNICEF’s Representative in DPRK, cautions that if the funding is not received and the Fund cannot treat severely malnourished children, these children will suffer irreversible consequences on their growth and development capacity.

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