Mr. Liu Zhenmin Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

High-Level Luncheon
Global Energy Interconnection: Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals

Mr. LIU Zhenya, Chairman of Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization,
Mr. Elnar Remi Holmen, State Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Energy of Norway,
Mr. Thomas Kuhn, President of Edison Electric Institute,
Mr. Reinhard Huettl, Former President of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering,
Mr. Richard Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of International Hydropower Association,
Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to this high-level luncheon.

A transformative approach to energy lies at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Achieving SDG 7 on energy, with its three targets on universal access, energy efficiency and renewable energy, will open a new world of opportunity for billions of people.

It will lay the foundation for the eradication of hunger and poverty, for climate action, and for a sustainable world.

We can make decisive progress only if we act together.

Partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources are indispensable to success.

Global Energy Interconnection (also known as GEI) is an exceptional example of such global, multi-stakeholder partnership.

When fully realised, GEI can dramatically speed up clean energy transitions across regions, while advancing clean energy access and addressing climate change.

It can drive new industries, new markets, more jobs, while reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

The message is clear: those who embrace clean energy transitions will set the gold standard for economic leadership in the 21st century.

Last year, solar power grew 50 per cent, with China and the United States in the lead.

Around the world, over half of the new power generation capacity now comes from renewable energy.

China aims to increase its renewable energy by about 40 per cent by 2020.

Saudi Arabia announced plans to install 700 megawatts of solar and wind power.

And industry experts predict India’s solar capacity will double this year to 18 gigawatts.

Boosting energy efficiency is also crucial: The International Energy Agency has indicated that investing in energy efficiency could increase global economic output by $18 trillion dollars.

The opportunities ahead of us are enormous.

At the same time, there are continuing challenges in tapping the full potentials of GEI.

As highlighted in the symposium this morning, such challenges include finance, accelerated innovation, capacity building, and political commitment to creating cross-border and regional cooperation.

That is why we must continue an informed, balanced and objective discussion.

UN-DESA stands ready to provide an informal multi-stakeholder platform to strengthen coordination and synergies among various actors to address these critical challenges.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

SDG 7 will be reviewed at the 2018 High Level Political Forum.

As the Secretariat of the HLPF, my Department is committed to support the preparation of this in-depth review.

I look forward to strong participation of member states, business and civil society.

I wish you an interesting, informative and inspiring discussion.

Thank you.

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