Copenhagen, Denmark, 11 October 2011 - Secretary-General's Remarks to the Global Green Growth Forum [As delivered]t is my great privilege to visit Denmark again. I was here for the last time in 2009 during these very important Climate change negotiations. I am very grateful for the leadership of the Danish government and their great contribution to adopt this Copenhagen Accord which has been built upon by Cancun and we expect to have further progress in Durban this year.
Sustainable development is the imperative of the twenty-first century.
Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “It is better to light a single candle than to curse the dark.” She was absolutely right. But now we need to think of new ways to bring light into darkness.
We need a different path. A sustainable path. This is our message to leaders around the world.
And that is why we are here in Copenhagen today.
This 3G Forum comes at a crucial time.
We are racing to reach the Millennium Development Goals.
We are preparing for next year's Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
And we are coping every day with global threats to lives and livelihoods.
The three Gs of Global Green Growth must respond to social, economic and environmental challenges equally.
Because we live in an era of three Fs: crises on Food, Fuel and Finance.
So we need to enhance the three Es: the Economy, the Environment and global Equity.
This month, we expect the seven billionth citizen of our planet will be born. We don''t know if it is a boy or a girl but most experts predict this will be a girl from a developing country. She will be born, if this will be a girl, she will born into world with full of paradoxes. A world where we have enough food but at least one billion people suffering from hunger. Every day a billion people will go to bed hungry. There are many other paradoxes.
Instead of singing, “Happy birthday,” we have to give this child, and its whole generation, a sustainable future.
We have to embrace sustainable agriculture so she has enough food to eat.
We have to expand clean energy so that he can reap the benefits of modern productivity without suffering the drawbacks of climate change.
And we have to ensure greater opportunities and decent jobs so that people can enjoy lives of dignity and fulfilment.
The old economic models are not working for the countries and companies that embraced them.
New models show tremendous promise. I have seen examples around the world.
Prime Minister Meles, I saw Ethiopia is driving a low-carbon pathway by expanding hydropower and providing clean cooking solutions.
Prime Minister Odinga of Kenya, I have seen in Kenya how geothermal, wind and solar power are driving progress.
I launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative because energy access, efficiency and clean energy are essential to building a healthier and more prosperous world.
On the one hand, 20 per cent of all people on earth lack basic electricity services. Nearly 3 billion people burn biomass.
On the other hand, far too many people rely on depletable energy sources – and use them unsustainably.
This world of plenty and poverty cannot be sustained.
We need to marshal all forces to power progress in a way that protects our planet and promotes the welfare of all people.
We need to come together – rich and poor.
We need CEOs, investors, utility companies and renewable energy businesses. Government officials and research scientists.
We need bold and bankable solutions.
With that kind of action, with that kind of energy, we can realize our vision for 2030.
By 2030 we must be able to provide, we must have access for all the people that lack energy, who lack access to energy. We must double the efficiency of our energy and by that time we must double the share of renewable energy in the global mix.
These are three targets that I am setting as our common effort, our common targets that was recommended by a High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change and Energy which was chaired by Mr. Yumkella who is now here with us, and I thank you for your leadership.
There are excellent examples of progress in Denmark, Mexico and Korea – the three countries that helped make this Forum possible.
The Danish company Maersk is designing the world's most efficient container ships – they cut carbon emissions by half.
The Eurus wind farm in Oaxaca, Mexico will supply one quarter of the country's energy needs.
In the Republic of Korea, LG Electronics has announced plans to invest $7 billion in electric car batteries, LED lighting, solar panels and other green technologies that can create 10,000 jobs.
I appreciate this engagement. But my message to all countries is the same: we need to do more.
Much has been achieved but much more must be done by all the countries and the private sectors too.
Next year's Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development provides an opportunity for tangible results.
This Global Green Growth Forum can help pave the way for success in Rio.
And you can start today.
I encourage you to address difficult issues.
There are those who fear green growth can lead to trade barriers and ''green'' aid conditionality.
You also have to consider entrenched interests that may resist progress, claiming that sustainability is a luxury we cannot afford this time.
The opposite is true: that depleting our natural resources will actually deplete our chances of true prosperity.
Guiding the world toward green growth, however, will lead to substantial gains and benefit the majority of humanity and our shared planet.
This Forum should be a chance for thoughtful reflection – and also determined action.
Make plans. Form alliances. Commit to engagement long after we leave Copenhagen.
Together, we can generate a clean energy transformation, set the world on course for low-carbon growth, and create conditions for a truly sustainable future.
That is why I have made sustainable development as top priority for the United Nations for the coming five years. Thanks to the very generous support of the Member States of the United Nations I will continue my job as Secretary-General for the next five years. I reported last month to the world leaders that my primary vision, my top priority was sustainable development.
The global green agenda can help drive the advancement of sustainable development for the twenty-first century. It is good business – good politics – and good for society.
The sustainable development agenda provides a compelling model for generating prosperity on a planet under multiple pressures: climate change, species loss, desertification and pollution, food crisis, lack of water and other challenges.
At Rio, next year, our vision must be clear: we need to move quickly toward a sustainable economy that is equitable and inclusive.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The late Wangari Maathai had many titles in her life, including Member of Parliament, Nobel Laureate and United Nations Messenger of Peace.
Wangari Maathai understood green growth from the perspective of the world's poor.
She said, “Poor people will cut the last tree to cook the last meal. The more you degrade the environment, the more you dig deeper into poverty.”
The global movement for sustainable development is about more than economic growth and environmental protection. It is about providing a life of dignity for all people, so that instead of digging deeper into poverty, they can build toward greater levels of prosperity.
I count on you commitment and vision to help power this movement for sustainable development.
And I want to take this opportunity to thank in particular our distinguished Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark who has just become Prime Minister of this great country and I wish you all the best and a great success and I am looking forward to working very closely with you. Thank you very much for taking the initiative of convening this very important event today to make this world better for all.
Let us all work together. The United Nations is ready to work with governments, business leaders, private sectors and civil societies and I think to realize our common dreams, common visions, we need a tripartite partnership of governments, business communities and civil communities without this tripartite partnership nothing can be done
I am very much encouraged to see all these distinguished leaders get together today to start to achieve this green growth.
Thank you very much.
Statements on 11 October 2011
- New York, 11 October 2011 - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the 9 October 2011 presidential election in Cameroon [scroll down for French version]
- New York, 11 October 2011 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the elections in Liberia
- New York, 11 October 2011 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on attack against UNAMID peacekeepers in Darfur
- Seoul, Republic of Korea, 11 October 2011 - Secretary-General's video message to Asia Pacific Regional Conference on Business and Human Rights for National Human Rights Institutions
- Astana, Kazakhstan, 11 October 2011 - Secretary-General's video message to the International Conference on a World Free of Nuclear Weapons (11-13 October 2011)