Remarks at First Meeting of the High-Level Coalition on Health and Energy

Distinguished participants,

I am delighted to join you all at this inaugural meeting of the High-Level Coalition on Health and Energy, as a co-convener of the Health and Energy Platform of Action, together with WHO, UNDP and the World Bank. 

Let me start by expressing my gratitude to the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros, for his leadership to build this important Coalition. 

Energy is key to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Universal access to clean, affordable and modern energy services is indispensable to eradicate poverty, empower women, achieve many other SDGs and leave no one behind.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has also underscored that energy access saves lives. 

Energy services, including:

  • powering healthcare facilities, 
  • keeping the required temperature for medicines and vaccines, and
  • supplying clean water for hand washing, have proven essential for responding to the pandemic. 

And yet, at the current pace, we are still not on track to achieve SDG7 by 2030. This has devastating impacts that spread far beyond the energy sector. 

Every year, around four million people die, due to the smoke caused by burning wood and charcoal for cooking and heating. Women and children are unfairly affected.  800 million people still live in darkness without access to electricity. 

UN DESA is fully committed to changing this trajectory. 

Let me highlight the following points:

First, we welcome and endorse the Strategic Roadmap to promote healthier populations, through clean and sustainable energy put forward today by WHO.  

Second, clean cooking must be a top priority. This is an entirely solvable problem, with clear political commitment. 

This is why we warmly welcome the Call for Action and the Principles on Clean Cooking for All, initiated by the governments of Kenya, Malawi and the Netherlands – in their capacity as Global Champions on Energy Access for the High-Level Dialogue on Energy. 

Third, the United Nations Secretary-General will be convening a High-Level Dialogue on Energy in September this year. 

As the first global meeting on energy under the auspices of the General Assembly in the past 40 years, the Dialogue presents a historic opportunity to raise ambition. 

As the Dialogue Secretary-General, I call upon all stakeholders to participate in the upcoming Ministerial Thematic Forums for the Dialogue. It will take place during 21 to 25 June. 

I also invite all of you to bring your ambitious actions in the form of “Energy Compacts” – to achieve universal energy access and net zero emissions.

Ladies and gentlemen,

SDG 7 is within reach – if we take immediate action, and if we do so in an integrated manner.  I look forward to working with you all. 

Thank you.

File date: 
Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Mr. Liu