Remarks at the UN-Energy Principals Meeting on the High-level Dialogue on Energy in 2021

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to speak with you today on the High-level Dialogue on Energy, which the Secretary-General will convene in 2021.

Energy is key to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Universal access to clean, affordable and modern energy services is essential if we are to:

  • eradicate poverty, 
  • empower women, 
  • achieve many other SDGs, and 
  • leave no one behind.

At the same time, to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, we need to rapidly accelerate energy transitions, even as we expand energy access. 
The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of reliable energy access for resilience and adaptability – whether it is for health, remote learning, or remote working. But, unfortunately, the world is currently falling short of achieving SDG7. 

We must change this trajectory. We must accelerate progress towards decarbonised energy systems with universal energy access. 

The High-level Dialogue on Energy will present a historic opportunity. We will come together to generate practical options to build a sustainable energy future for everyone.

I am hopeful that the recent commitments by major economies to accelerate their pathways towards carbon neutrality, will give added impetus to these efforts.

As the Dialogue Secretary-General, I am working closely with the UN-Energy Co-Chairs, Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP, and Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All. And, in their capacity as Dialogue Co-Chairs, we will prepare the stage for this historic opportunity. 

My Department, UN DESA, is the Secretariat for the Dialogue.  

Ladies and gentlemen,

To make the High-level Dialogue most productive, we need to begin working along several fronts: 

First, we must significantly raise ambitions. It is still entirely possible to achieve SDG7 – but only if current efforts are dramatically accelerated. The High-level Dialogue presents an ideal platform to discuss roadmaps to a just transition towards achieving universal energy access by 2030, while ensuring net zero emissions by 2050.   

Second, we must accelerate and scale up action. This includes tripling the amount of finance that flows towards implementation of SDG7. It also includes taking full advantage of available technology solutions, fostering innovation, and harnessing data as an enabler of improved services. Energy Compacts will be an important means for mobilizing actions from Member States and other stakeholders, toward the High-level Dialogue and beyond.

Third, we must strengthen partnerships. Working together closely with business and civil society is essential in our efforts. Only through partnerships can we:

  • reach the scale and speed of implementation required to achieve SDG7, and 
  • ensure that it does, indeed, deliver benefits across all the SDGs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a wonderful opportunity for UN-Energy to step up and deliver. We are all aware that it is four decades since energy featured so centrally in the UN General Assembly.

By harnessing the legitimacy, capacities and convening power of the UN system, UN-Energy can make a significant difference in raising ambitions, facilitating actions, and mobilising partnerships. 

And we can work with the Development Cooperation Office to leverage the role of the UN Resident Coordinators to strengthen country-level engagements.  

I can assure you that under my leadership, UN DESA – as the UN-Energy Secretariat – is fully committed to supporting the Co-Chairs in moving forward. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let us take full advantage of this opportunity. Let us come together as one and build a sustainable energy world that truly leaves no one behind, for us and for future generations. 

Thank you. 

File date: 
Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Mr. Liu