Secretary-General's remarks to the World Future Energy Summit
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 18 January 2016
Sustainable energy is the thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and our efforts to combat climate change.
So I am very happy to be here at the Future Energy Summit, as we celebrate last year’s landmark global agreements on the Sustainable Development Goals and on Climate Change in Paris.
The Paris Agreement is a triumph for people, the planet, and it is a triumph for multilateralism. For the first time, every country in the world pledged to curb their emissions, strengthen resilience and act internationally and domestically to address climate change.
I take this opportunity to commend the leadership of President [François] Hollande of France and Foreign Minister [Laurent] Fabius as President of COP 21.
The Sustainable Development Agenda captured the imagination of the world as countries came together and committed to a transformative vision for prosperity, peace and partnership.
The universality of these agreements, and their inclusive nature, mean that we have a clear way forward.
Now is the time for action. Governments, the private sector, regional and international organizations, must start working to implement the 17 ambitious Global Goals.
The SDG7 is very clear: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
This will have an enormous impact on climate change. By reducing emissions, it will improve public health and safeguard economic growth, indirectly saving millions of lives.
To keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees and even 1.5 degrees centigrade, we need to urgently scale up clean, sustainable energy. In Paris, developed countries agreed they must continue to lead in providing support to developing countries to enable them to make this rapid transformation.
But clean, sustainable energy will not only help to safeguard the future of our planet. It will also directly save an estimated 4.3 million lives every year. That is the estimated number of people who die prematurely from pollution resulting from indoor cookstoves that use fire, coal, charcoal or animal waste.
Most of these people are women and children, who spend their time near wood-burning stoves and open flames. It is women and girls who bear the brunt of collecting firewood and fuels – time-consuming activities which limit their work and education opportunities.
SDG7 on sustainable energy is at the heart of development, since more than one billion people in the world have no access to electricity.
Achieving SDG7 well before 2030 will vastly improve our chances of achieving the Global Goals on food security, health care, education, employment, sustainable cities and more.
We have made a good start. There has been remarkable progress on many fronts.
The fall in prices for renewable energy, especially solar energy, and the emergence of new business models, are bringing sustainable energy within reach of the world’s poorest people.
A new generation of energy-efficient appliances is giving people access to the lighting, heating, communication and other tools that they need.
The Paris Agreement on climate change has given us an unprecedented opportunity to create – already today – the clean energy and sustainable solutions of tomorrow.
The Sustainable Energy for All initiative that I launched in 2011 has been a great success. Thousands of partners from Member States in all regions and at all stages of development have joined. It welcomes public sector, private sector and civil society and includes utilities and regulators, innovators and entrepreneurs, huge multilateral institutions and grassroots non-governmental organizations.
I recently appointed Ms. Rachel Kyte, who is here with me today, as my new Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All, to spearhead efforts in support of SDG7.
My request to you here in Abu Dhabi, as we move to implement the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goalss, is that you keep the sense of urgency and the spirit of partnership that guided us to success last year.
We need to start transforming the world economy. Emissions must be cut drastically. Counterproductive subsidies must end.
Governments and the private sector will need to align their decisions.
Every dollar of the trillions that will be spent on new infrastructure in the next 15 years must be invested in climate-friendly projects that will drive the growth of low-carbon goods and services.
The United Arab Emirates and Masdar are a perfect example of the kind of public-private action that is needed. I congratulate Abu Dhabi on bringing together so many different partners.
The event designed to showcase Women’s contributions to sustainability is particularly welcome and important.
WiSER -- Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy, WiSER – aims to promote women’s role in seeking sustainable solutions.
Women are often the primary managers of energy in their households and communities and so can be powerful agents of change in the transition to sustainable, clean, green energy.
We have a vision which we have created and adopted in New York last year in September and in Paris last year in December. We have goals. There is political will.
We are the first generation with an opportunity to end poverty, and the last generation with a chance of combating climate change.
Clean energy is key to both these tasks. Clean energy, sustainable energy is a golden thread in resolving all these challenges.
Thank you, shukran, and I wish you a successful World Future Energy Summit.
Statements on 18 January 2016