|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Commission on Sustainable Development
16th & 17th Meetings (AM & PM)
Secretary-General calls for revolution in energy efficiency, As commission
on sustainable development opens high-level segment
Opening the high-level segment of the Commission on Sustainable Development today, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for a revolution in energy efficiency, in order to conquer poverty and safeguard the planet for generations to come.
The Commission’s current two-week session has brought together Government ministers, along with business leaders and representatives of civil society and international financial institutions, to review progress in meeting internationally agreed goals and targets in the areas of energy, industrial development, air pollution and climate change.
The world’s overwhelming, deeply entrenched reliance on the burning of fossil fuels involved many risks, not least among them air pollution and climate change, stated the Secretary-General. While everyone would suffer from climate change, the poor were especially vulnerable to its adverse effects.
“I look forward to working with this Commission to explore how we can bring the poor into the modern energy and industrial economy, while moving energy use and economic activity onto a cleaner path”, he stated. The lack of modern energy services was, thus, a major obstacle to poverty reduction and industrial development. New approaches were needed, he said, noting that renewable sources of energy remained woefully underutilized.
Developing countries should not be condemned, he added, by the weight of tradition or their own poverty, to do what their predecessors had done, especially when alternatives were possible. “We cannot deny their need to industrialize; indeed, developing countries will need to nearly double their electrical generating capacity over the coming years if they are to develop and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.” But that could be done in cleaner ways. And the developed countries had a responsibility to help, including through technology transfer and capacity-building.
During a dialogue on the role of the private sector in sustainable development, it was acknowledged that Governments alone could not effectively address the challenges of energy, industrial development, air pollution and climate change without the contributions of the private sector. Speakers highlighted the need for Governments and business to work together in public-private partnerships. The drive and ingenuity of the business sector would be the prime catalyst for the development of energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies that would transform the world, stated United States Under-Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky.
What was needed from the private sector, said Agnes Van Ardenne-Van Der Hoeven, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, was not business as usual, but investment in modern energy for the poor and investment in clean energy for the future. For 2 billion people across the developing world, the quest for energy was a daily struggle. People did not have electricity to light their homes or gas to prepare a hot meal. The indoor pollution caused by cooking with traditional fuels caused respiratory infections, the world’s greatest child killer. For the 2 billion poor without modern energy, energy security was the difference between development and failure, between life and death.
The private sector had a positive and essential role to play, a number of other speakers said, as it could provide the necessary investments, while creating the opportunities for technology transfer and capacity development. But business alone could not provide all the solutions to sustainable energy, any more than Governments or civil society could, alone, stated John Hofmeister, President and USA Chair, Royal Dutch Shell. Partnerships across all sectors were needed. Shell was working in partnership with the World Bank in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, in achieving a leaded-fuel phase-out there, and on clean air initiatives in Asia, sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, as well as in California, on a climate coalition working to establish greenhouse gas policies -- a first in the United States.
The World Bank, noted its Vice-President for Infrastructure, Kathy Sierra, was advising developing countries on the removal of constraint in attracting private sector investment. Among the conditions required to attract investment were credible legal and regulatory frameworks within countries; encouraging market-based approaches in energy investment; and ensuring good governance and accountability. The Bank was in the process of establishing a clean energy framework, which would offer strong opportunities for public-private engagement in energy, as well as to leverage existing instruments and reduce risks for investment.
Also participating in the dialogue were Ministers from South Africa, Qatar, China and Egypt, as well as leaders of Eskom; Alcan; Vattenfall; Qatar Industries; Enel; ABN AMRO; EDF Group; Hinopak Motors, Ltd.; and the Global Environment Facility.
The Commission heard a video message from the Director-General of the World Trade Organization during its afternoon session. Statements were also made by ministers and representatives of South Africa (on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China), Austria (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Gabon, Qatar, China, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Australia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Nauru, Serbia and Montenegro, Botswana (on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)), Bangladesh, Nigeria, Benin, Uganda, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Israel, Belarus, Bulgaria, Tuvalu, Iran, Thailand, Republic of Korea, Hungary, Denmark, France and Armenia.
The representative of the European Commission also spoke.
The Commission will reconvene at 10 a.m. Thursday, 11 May, to hold a discussion with heads of United Nations organizations, and regional and international organizations.
The Commission on Sustainable Development met today to begin its three-day high-level segment. (For background on the session, see Press Release ENV/DEV/887 issued on 28 April.)
Statement by Secretary-General
KOFI ANNAN, United Nations Secretary-General, began by noting that this year, for the first time ever, a minister of finance had been selected as chairman of the Commission. “This is yet another welcome sign that we are moving beyond the days when environment and economy were compartmentalized, and treated as if they were unrelated or even mutually exclusive.” The Commission, he said, was meeting at a time when the global community faced serious, interrelated challenges in the very areas that were the focus of the session: energy, atmospheric pollution, climate change and industrial development.
Energy, he said, was one of the foundations on which economies and societies rested. Yet, that foundation was increasingly uncertain. The world’s overwhelming, deeply entrenched reliance on the burning of fossil fuels involved many risks. It caused air pollution by industries and vehicles. It could lead to governance problems within States, and distorted relations between them. Through the high cost of oil, it imposed economic burdens on some poor countries. And in generating greenhouse gas emissions, it contributed to climate change, from which almost everyone would suffer, but to which the poor above all were vulnerable. The global community would need to help them adapt to the inevitable impacts of a changing climate.
If those were among the problems of having too much of one kind of energy, there was also the despair of having too little, he continued. Those who lived in developing countries knew all too well the difficulties of frequent power outages caused by inadequate generating capacity and faulty grid lines. And, of course, 1.6 billion people lived with no electricity at all, and were left to rely on wood, dung and agricultural wastes, which had made indoor air pollution one of the world’s top 10 causes of mortality or premature death. There was also the immense opportunity cost of the many hours spent foraging for wood, mainly by women. The lack of modern energy services was, thus, a major obstacle to poverty reduction and industrial development. New approaches were needed.
“We need a revolution in energy efficiency”, he stated. Conventional power stations wasted 65 per cent of the energy they generated. That excess heat must be captured and used, and greater use must be made of hybrid vehicles and other energy-efficient technologies. The pollution generated by fossil fuels needed to be reduced, for example, through the use of clean coal. Renewable sources of energy remained woefully underutilized. It was necessary to scale up investment in mature renewables, such as wind, hydro and solar energy. It was also necessary to intensify research and development into promising longer-term sources, such as tidal energy, ocean thermal conversion, hydrogen and fuel cells.
Developing countries should not be condemned, by the weight of tradition or their own poverty, to do what their predecessors had done, especially when alternatives were possible, he said. “We cannot deny their need to industrialize; indeed, developing countries will need to nearly double their electrical generating capacity over the coming years if they are to develop and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.” But that could be done in cleaner ways. And the developed countries had a responsibility to help. That meant helping poor countries build up their capacity, transferring technology and know-how to them, and accelerating those processes by adopting new financial mechanisms.
All countries needed to be more rigorous in carrying out what they had agreed to do, he stated. More of them should participate in the market for carbon emission allowances. More use should be made of flexible tools such as the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism to support climate-friendly sustainable development projects in developing countries. And climate change should not be viewed as a separate challenge; measures to mitigate it, and adapt to it, needed to be integrated into national sustainable development strategies.
Progress had been continuous, if not yet rapid or dramatic enough, he noted. Just last week, he was present at the New York Stock Exchange when pension funds and other global financial institutions, controlling between them some $4 trillion in assets, signed on to a new set of principles for responsible investment, in which it was clearly spelt out that what was not sustainable was not responsible. Local initiatives, too numerous to mention, showed that many thousands of people were eager to find new, more responsible ways of doing business. In that endeavour, there was work for everyone. Governments must use their power to set the ground rules, lay out the standards, put the right incentives in place, and deploy their purchasing power to procure energy-efficient goods and services. Financial markets, banks, private business and industry, civil society and private citizens all had distinct roles to play.
“We have the knowledge and resources to conquer the poverty that blights so many lives, and to safeguard our planet and its climate for generations to come. I look forward to working with this Commission to explore how we can bring the poor into the modern energy and industrial economy, while moving energy use and economic activity onto a cleaner path.”
Panel of Ministers and Business Leaders
LINDIWE HENDRICKS, Minister of Minerals and Energy of South Africa, said that the role of the private sector was found in almost every chapter of the Johannesburg plan of action, owing to the general recognition and acceptance that Governments and the private sector needed to work in partnership to achieve sustainable development objectives. The greatest challenge of implementing the agreements was the ability to mobilize the appropriate financial resources. In so doing, Governments continuously encouraged the private sector, including transnational corporations and private foundations, to provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries. Those countries, in turn, had committed themselves to change unsustainable patterns and to promote, among other things, conservation of their ecosystems. They had also identified several constraints and acknowledged that private sector participation in overcoming them was key to reaching the sustainable development goals. Indeed, enhanced private sector support and funds would go a long way towards maximizing the benefits of energy and electricity infrastructure projects and pollution monitoring, while managing the risks associated with private investor projects.
She said that several constraints remained, however, requiring accelerated investment in social and economic infrastructure and the provision to rural communities of energy and transport systems. The energy insecurity of the day had made everyone alert to energy insufficiency. However, lack of awareness and minimum investment in energy programmes meant deeper impacts on social and ecological systems. There might be short-term cost implications for investing in cleaner technologies, but in the long run the sustainability performance would not only guarantee private companies the license to operate, but also the competitive edge. Among her recommendations was the development of more industrial networks and cooperatives by the private sector, where best practices and benchmarking activities could be shared.
ABDULLAH HAMAD AL-ATTIYAH, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar, said that the private sector had a positive and essential role to play, as it could provide the necessary investments, while creating the opportunities for technology transfer and capacity development. The private sector had played an essential role in the development of energy resources, as well as the industrial and economic infrastructures for Qatar, which had worked in the natural gas industry. Conversion of the use of natural gas would enable importing countries to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, thereby allowing implementing of the Kyoto Protocol.
He said investment in Qatar in the past decade in the chain of gas production processes, including extraction, conversion and construction of huge tankers to reach markets, had reached $60 billion. It was expected that the total capacity for the production of liquefied gas and its exportation to markets in Asia, Europe and America would reach 77 million tons per year, beginning in 2010. Qatar had developed partnerships with the private sector to establish industrial enterprises inside the State and abroad. The private sector shouldered its social and cultural responsibilities, in terms of preserving the environment and participating in technology transfers and capacity-building.
AGNES VAN ARDENNE-VAN DER HOEVEN, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, said that only one quarter of all Africans had electricity. In rural areas, that figure was less than 10 per cent. For 2 billion people across the developing world, the quest for energy was a daily struggle. People did not have electricity to light their homes or gas to prepare a hot meal. Women and children spent hours gathering wood, animal dung or crop residues. That took precious time and precious lives; the indoor pollution caused by cooking with traditional fuels caused respiratory infections, the world’s greatest child killer. Energy deficiency also slowed the economy and society at large. People needed modern energy to fuel their industries, run their hospitals, transport themselves and connect to the Internet. The current energy insecurity was a matter of concern for the rich countries. For them, it should not be too difficult to reduce energy consumption. For poor countries, however, it was the difference between development and failure, between life and death. For the 2 billion poor without modern energy, there was an energy crisis.
In 2004, she recalled, she had pledged to provide 10 million people with modern energy services before 2015. The Netherlands was well on the way to that goal, working hand in hand with private sector companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). On the request of her delegation, she decided last night to take women as a target group in that 10 million commitment. The European Commission had set aside €220 million to fight energy poverty; its brand new infrastructure fund would also contribute to that effort. To other donor countries, she said: Put forward concrete output targets. To the oil-producing countries, she said: Why not let your official development assistance (ODA) percentage rise with the oil price and spend that money on access to energy for the poor? If ever there was a niche for them in development cooperation, that was it. To the Governments of developing countries, she said: The Forum of the Energy Minister of Africa had set an excellent example with its clear objectives, such as doubling the use of modern energy by 2015 and including energy in all national development strategies. From the private sector, what was needed was not business as usual, but investment in modern energy for the poor and investment in clean energy for the future.
PAULA DOBRIANSKY, Under-Secretary of State, United States State Department, said energy was making headlines around the world. The issues of energy supply, security and sustainability were of enormous concern not only to her country, but also to many others. Building on a long tradition of clean energy research -- and as one of the world leaders in renewable energy -- the United States was working harder than ever to develop transformational energy technologies that would reduce its reliance on oil and have far-reaching benefits in her country and around the world. She highlighted the Clean Energy Initiative, launched by President Bush, which was a multifaceted approach to addressing access to energy, energy efficiency and environmental quality. The initiative included four performance-based market-oriented partnerships.
One of those partnerships, and one of the greatest successes, was the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles. In 2002, leaded gasoline was used in all but one country in sub-Saharan Africa. By the end of 2005, with the assistance of the Partnership and the World Bank, all 49 sub-Saharan African countries had stopped refining and importing leaded gasoline. Along with health and education, energy was an essential precondition for economic growth. The active engagement of business and industry in developing energy resources and innovative technology would be crucial to the ability to provide access to the energy the world would need to power a twenty-first century global economy.
Reducing the costs of energy technology was just one piece of the puzzle, she said. Effective policy and regulatory frameworks were essential to encourage the level of private sector investment that would be needed in the coming decades. The drive and ingenuity of the business sector would be the prime catalyst for the development of energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies that would transform the world.
DU YING, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, said that, while recognizing the positive role played by globalization in promoting world economic growth, more attention should be paid to the challenges it posed to sustainable development. Economic globalization had yet to benefit all people, and the wealth gaps among countries and regions were widening. Developing countries were still faced with the task of eradicating poverty and development, making it ever more difficult to realize sustainable development. It was essential that the international community build an enabling global economic environment. International cooperation should be strengthened in such areas as technology transfer and reducing trade barriers.
China took harmony between man and nature very seriously, and was proceeding on a course of sustainable development in keeping with its national specificities, he said. While pursuing economic and social reforms, it had formulated strict laws and regulations governing energy conservation and environmental protection. China would further optimize its industrial structures, take resource conservation as a basic national policy, develop a recycling economy, protect the ecosystem and the environment, and accelerate the building of and environment-friendly society. At the same time, it would further improve the market economy system and continue creating an enabling investment climate for investors.
HASSAN AHMAD YOUNIS, Minister of Electricity and Energy of Egypt, shared his country’s experience with public/private partnerships in the energy sector. He noted that 99 per cent of the Egyptian people had access to electricity. His Government was of the belief that the time for State control of all energy development and distribution had passed. It recognized the critical importance of public/private partnerships and the role of the private sector in that regard. Electricity was introduced in Egypt in 1893, and had been publicly owned and operated. In 1996, the Government took measures to allow for private sector participation in electricity generation and distribution. In the quest to live up to the commitment to a competitive electricity market, Egypt was working to put into force legislation allowing new investments in the energy market involving the private sector and public/private partnerships, among other things. There were many opportunities for private sector participation in electricity generation and distribution activities.
VALLI MOOSA, Chairman of ESKOM, and Chair of Business Action for Energy, said that today there was no significant private or public company anywhere in the world that did not have sustainable development somewhere on its agenda. On the question of energy access, if one considered the expansion of the global economy in the past half century, there was no reason on earth why anybody today should be living without reliable electricity. He hoped that the Commission’s fourteenth and fifteenth sessions could give a great deal of consideration to that element. Energy access improved livelihoods, improved the conditions for women and children, but it was also a prerequisite for economic growth, entrepreneurialism, and the growth of enterprises, big and small. Without access to electricity, the growth of domestic production in any region of the world would be all that much slower. Access to energy and energy expansion, particular electricity infrastructure, was not failing to happen because of a lack of capital globally.
He said he sought an interaction between business and Governments to put in place big industrial users, on the backs of which poor people could benefit from infrastructure expansion and bring down that cost of infrastructure development in poor countries. He also wished to look at energy efficiency. The time had come for energy efficiency to be rolled out in a big way. Indeed, the time was right for the private sector and Governments to roll out a massive energy-efficiency campaign. Energy efficiency contributed directly to the lives of poor people by making energy more affordable and freeing up money for other things. That also reduced the cost of business. What was needed was adequate regulation on the part of Governments and States to require energy efficiency in all their activities.
TRAVIS ENGEN, President and CEO, Alcan, Retired, and Chairman, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, stressed that business was the agent of change in society. It was virtually the only sector focused on productivity improvement, and it was the one sector that increased living standards. For that reason, it was a vital mission. Energy access and energy development and security were regional problems, central to the place and setting. His focus was climate change, which knew no boundaries. An important question posed in this and other forums had been what would cause the private sector to go in that direction, especially with respect to the developing world.
Big business would go to the developing world in an unregulated environment, he said. Greenhouse gas footprints varied by the phase of the activity, whether producing or using. Alcan had been producing aluminium since 1888. Some 700 million tons of aluminium had been produced since then, of which approximately 200 million tons were lost or in landfills. Recycling and reuse was a very important application, and, for that reason, industry had taken the view of carbon neutrality. Looking ahead, industry was committed to sustainable development, committed to engagement and committed to doing the right thing, he said.
JOHN HOFMEISTER, President and USA Chair, Royal Dutch Shell plc, said that Shell was committed to meeting the world’s growing energy demand in a way that was environmentally and socially responsible. Economic and social development was fuelling the growing demand for reliable, affordable and clean energy. For Shell, contributing to sustainable development meant finding innovative energy solutions. That meant meeting human needs while also meeting environmental and social expectations. A key challenge was meeting the demand for affordable energy, while addressing the risks for climate change. Fossil fuels produced and delivered in traditional ways were not going to be the whole answer. So, Shell was increasing the supply of fossil fuels in new ways, which increased supply diversity and decreased pollution. Gas to liquids technology was a prime example. Solar energy, wind energy, hydrogen and biofuels were also opportunities to provide plentiful and clean energy.
But, he said, business alone could not provide all the solutions to sustainable energy any more than Governments or civil society could, alone. Partnerships across all sectors were needed. Shell was working in partnership with the World Bank in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, in achieving a leaded-fuel phase out there, and on clean air initiatives in Asia, sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, as well as in California, United States, on a climate coalition working to establish greenhouse gas policies -- a first in that nation. Small- and medium-sized enterprises were the engines of economic growth in developed countries, and could and should be in developing countries, as well, so Shell had established a fund in Africa combining finance and tailored business solutions.
L.G. JOSEFSSON, Chief Executive Officer of Vattenfall, said greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced. It was necessary to create a stable and predictable global framework defining how that would be achieved. Everything must be done to set the price on emissions. The best possible way to do that was to make use of market forces. Pricing would create the financial resources needed. If emissions were priced properly, it would be much easier to motivate and finance what each player could do in the field. His company proposed an adaptive burden-sharing model, which would create a stable and predictable environment for Governments, people and corporations. The proposed model would not force industrialized countries to commit to unreasonably fast reduction, but give all countries similar opportunities to grow. In the long run, it would be necessary to make it attractive to be in the system, rather than to stay outside of it. Agreeing on and implementing a common global system would take time.
The world must start now to curb climate change, he continued. Technology was not an unsolvable problem. Given time and incentive, neither was financing. There was no alternative, if humanity was to curb climate change. The dispute surrounding the Kyoto Protocol must become a thing of the past. The United States and the European Union had the responsibility to show joint leadership on the issue. What the world needed was a reasonable compromise between developed and developing countries. Joint action on the part of business leaders could be a contribution. In that regard, he announced the creation of the business leaders initiative to combat climate change, which was committed to drawing up a road map for a low-emitting society.
ABDALLAH SATTA, Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Industries, said his Government had put in place adequate legal and institutional frameworks to create a comfortable investment climate in the energy sector. The country’s economy and finance had gained considerable trust among international financial institutions and international partners, helping to boost the second phase of economic and industrial development in Qatar. More private funds had been injected into the country’s economy. A number of projects in the oil and energy sectors had been launched in partnership with international partners and the local private sector. Qatar sought to create cleaner energy and bring to a minimum any negative effects associated with it.
MASSIMO ROMANO, Executive Vice President for Public and Regulatory Affairs, Enel Group, said that as one of Europe’s four biggest electricity producers and distributors, Enel was fully committed to sustainable development, as demonstrated by its global leadership in renewables. Company emissions had already been reduced by 20 per cent in relative terms since 1990. Enel also supported initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact, the largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative in the world, which encouraged corporations to commit themselves to a more sustainable and inclusive global economy. Cooperation and partnership between the public and private sector and the developed and developing countries were the only keys to achieving common objectives, such as fulfilling present and future energy needs.
Cooperation between the private and public sector towards sustainable development could be implemented through two different mechanisms, he said. They were harmonized and predictable public incentives to foster investments in renewable energy; and appropriate regulatory frameworks to attract investments in cleaner production technologies.
HERMAN MULDER, Senior Executive Vice President, Group Risk Management, ABN AMRO, said that sustainable development was increasingly underlying business strategies. Everyone agreed that the business of business was doing business right, and it was redefining what was right. The issues at stake were enormous, and business was part of the solution. It was also part of the problem. Business did not have the solutions by itself, however. The direction for many of the issues was opportunity and “for-profit”, because that made sustainable development sustainable. Scale was another aspect of getting things done: think big, start small, act quickly, replicate and scale up. Good governance, accountability and transparency should also be ensured. The financial sector’s role was also increasingly important. The multinational corporations had an example to set. Capacity-building, especially at the local level, was also crucial and should drive the energy agenda. Policy risks and standards were also extremely important and the basis on which he did business. There was a clear opportunity for business, NGOs and the political sector to work together.
CLAUDE NAHON, Senior Executive Vice-President, Sustainable Development and Environment, EDF Group, said that EDF had worked with developing countries for many years. Its work in Mali on decentralizing service companies had given rise to a project in that country with the World Bank. Then, a similar approach was adopted in Senegal. The EDF also had experience with public/private partnerships and was currently developing a project in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, among other countries, which would enhance the living conditions of the local populations. Public/private partnerships were an important development tool. Those partnerships required clear, regulatory frameworks, and long-term investment required stable financial frameworks. The EDF was also part of voluntary cooperative initiatives, such as the Global Compact. Also key was enhanced confidence between the private sector and local authorities and all social actors.
FASIHUL KARIM SIDDIQI, Director, Hinopak Motors Ltd, Karachi, explained that, in an effort to break the vicious cycle of population growth, poverty and pollution, Pakistan had undergone an economic turnaround in recent years, owing to, among other factors, consistent economic policies and transparent decision-making. Domestic investment had emerged from its slumber of the 1990s. Pakistan had formulated its medium-term development framework, which envisaged development and industrial prosperity through rapid and sustainable development in a resource constrained economy. The country was pursuing an integrated approach to economic development. The major thrust of the strategy included access to alternative energy forms and the promotion of renewables, including wind, solar energy and bio gas. The aim was also, among other things, to enhance energy efficiency, reduce air pollution, increase community management of natural resources, and further involve the private sector. Now, Pakistan was on the road to a social turnaround and to implementation of its sustainable development framework.
LEN GOOD, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Global Environment Facility (GEF), said the Facility’s energy portfolio was approaching $2 billion, half of which was for renewable energy. The Facility had helped remove barriers to market transformation in the areas of policy, finance, information and technology. It was doing well in the areas of energy efficiency, in industrial energy efficiency, and in energy efficiency in buildings. Energy efficiency was profitable and offered good business opportunities. The same was almost the case with renewable energy. Off-grid renewable energy would continue to be important in terms of energy access for the poor.
In the future, GEF would try to situate efforts more within government-sponsored energy programmes and to barrier removal, he added. In doing so, it would focus on a wide array of renewable technology. The Facility wanted to increase its interaction with the private sector in the years ahead on three levels: policy dialogue; efforts to create enabling environments in developing countries; and projects with private sector participation. At its Council meeting to be held in June, GEF would propose the creation of a special fund to finance projects involving the private sector.
KATHY SIERRA, Vice President, Infrastructure, World Bank, agreed with previous speakers that meeting the Millennium Development Goals would require much greater energy access than what was available today. Energy access must be a strong pillar of anyone’s energy agenda, and it was an important part of the World Bank’s energy policy. Energy was essential for economic growth and job creation, among other things. The international community must mobilize enormous amounts of financial resources. Developing countries could not achieve that alone, and public/private partnerships would be crucial in that regard. The Bank was advising developing countries on the removal of constrains in attracting private sector investment. Among the conditions required to attract investment were credible legal and regulatory frameworks within countries; encouraging market-based approaches in energy investment; and ensuring good governance and accountability. The Bank was in the process of establishing a clean energy framework, which would offer strong opportunities for public/private engagement in energy, as well as to leverage existing instruments and reduce risks for investment.
Addressing the suggestion that the oil-producing countries should let their ODA rise in concert with the rise in oil prices and spend that extra money on energy access for the poor, Saudi Arabia’s representative said he wished to set the record straight. The oil producers were leaders in aid for development. Besides their bilateral aid, the producers of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had established an independent development fund. Saudi Arabia was a major donor. In fact, its ODA in 2005 had reached 1.3 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP). In 2006, that figure would be even higher. That level of development assistance was not new, and it was also unmatched by any donor country, including in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). He sincerely hoped that other donors would live up to their pledges to at least attain .7 per cent of their GDP. That would make a big difference to their less unfortunate partners in the developing world
A participant from one of the major groups emphasized that sustainable development was not just sustainable economic growth. The Commission review must mainly focus on Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg action plan targets. Yet, there had emerged an overwhelming emphasis on market-based and technology-driven solutions as the only way to achieve sustainable development. The latter process, however, involved, among other things, the removal of perverse subsidies, participatory decision-making and follow-up, the establishment of decentralized services, such as renewable energy services, and access to water and modern energy. Good governance and corporate accountability were prerequisites for dealing with climate change.
Senegal’s representative said his concern was about oil residue. A number of companies were working in the oil industry in his country, particularly the Shell oil company. He wanted to know if there was a programme in place to recycle the oil, which was being discarded irresponsibly.
Mr. HOFMEISTER of Shell said that the recycling of oil products was an important part of Shell’s whole ecology system, but not every country throughout the world participated in an active recycling programme. In most parts of the world, however, Shell worked with local governments and agencies in such a capacity. He was happy to follow up after the conference and discuss Senegal, in particular.
Message from World Trade Organization
Opening the ministerial dialogue this afternoon on “The Way Forward” was the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, PASCAL LAMY. He said that sustainable development must become a key driver of energy policy. The damage to the environment was mounting daily. The Arctic climate assessment report had provided important indicators of the rate at which the climate was changing. The report noted that, in the Arctic Sea, sea rise had increased by 30 per cent in recent years, in part, due to global warming, and a significant percentage of Arctic Sea ice had been lost in the past 30 years. Energy policies had also taken their toll on human health, which was not surprising, since most people continued to live in the environment they polluted.
He said that the global economy continued to be fuel-driven, relying mostly on oil, coal and natural gas, with only 15 per cent of primary energy supply dependent on renewables. According to the International Energy Agency, if existing patterns of economic development continued, the world’s energy needs would likely rise by almost 60 per cent by 2030. How then did the world intend to deal with that growing demand? It was clear that adjustments were needed in energy policies to meet the growing demand without putting the environment at risk. It was essential to deal with that very complex issue of energy security in an increasingly interdependent world. While none of those issues were easy to resolve, the Commission had raised awareness and generated ideas this week.
Undoubtedly, trade played an important role in energy policy, he said. Trade could bring about greater energy security for countries that were not themselves energy producers. That was also an extremely important revenue source for exporters. Trade flourished at times of peace, but ordinary trade in energy itself contributed to world peace. While the World Trade Organization had set the beginning of an architecture to address trade related aspects of energy, those rules might need to evolve to address the energy trade more comprehensively. The World Trade Organization’s membership would be one determinant of how quickly that process came about. Only recently, Saudi Arabia joined the World Trade Organization, and several energy producers were in line to accede, including the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Algeria.
He said that, since 1990, the developing countries accounted for 60 per cent of the world’s annual fuel exports. Trade among the developing world had been rising, mainly due to increased demand in Asia, particularly China, Republic of Korea and India, but there were trade barriers in energy, such as export restrictions, quotas and transit restrictions. Those needed to be addressed, albeit gradually. The transport of goods involved energy consumption, whether maritime, road or air. It was vital for countries to internalize the harm done to the environment as a cost of international trade. In the Doha Round of trade talks, countries were seeking to open trade, not only in goods, but also in services. Several had favoured offers on various kinds of energy services. In a welcome development, the energy sector was increasingly subjected to greater competition.
In a world where nearly 2.5 billion people still relied on traditional biomass –- wood and agriculture -- for cooking and heating in the homes, and where 1.5 billion people did not have access to electricity, energy services could play a vital role, he said. Enhancing access to such services would make a vital contribution to fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals. He asked all countries to engage in those negotiations and step up existing offers in that regard. He also stressed that opening up the services market was not synonymous with the deregulation of those markets. Countries were completely within their rights under the World Trade Organization to continue to regulate their services sector, provided they did so in a non-discriminatory manner.
He said that the World Trade Organization’s contribution to sustainable development would only be effective if it was made part of a broader effort by more specialized international agencies, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), towards the goals. Negotiations were seeking to liberalize trade in goods and services in a way that could prevent or limit pollution or contribute to environmental clean-up. Some World Trade Organization members were promoting energy efficiency by proposing such goods as turbines, solar panels, and electricity meters. Lowering barriers to trade in renewable energy could reduce the price, making that a more viable alternative to the more polluting fuels. Environmental services, such as consultancy, also featured in the talks. He encouraged World Trade Organization members, both developed and developing, to pursue those negotiations more forcefully.
Meanwhile, in many developing countries that had experienced strong economic growth in the past few years, emissions had also risen, in some instances by up to 75 per cent. In the United States, the European Union and Japan, the transport sector had seen fast growth in greenhouse emissions. Greater access to environmental goods and services could help combat those emissions, which posed both health and environmental challenges to all. In the World Trade Organization multilateral environmental agreements negotiations, Trade Organization members were discussing ways to ensure the harmonious coexistence between trade rules and the various environmental agreements negotiated to protect the environment. While energy was vital to economic growth, how energy was used was equally vital to health and well-being. There was no magic recipe for an energy policy that would respond to all needs, so the search for solutions must continue, in part, through the Commission, and on the trade side, the World Trade Organization stood ready to contribute.
MARTHINUS VAN SCHALKWYK, Minister of Environment and Tourism of South Africa, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, recognized that achieving internationally agreed development goals was vital for developing countries. However, it was not entirely within the capacity of developing countries to bring that to pass without an enabling international environment with policies and practices targeted to implement those commitments. He welcomed international initiatives on enhancing the efficiency of aid and debt cancellation, and called on development partners to abide by their commitments, including those made in Monterrey, to provide stable, predictable and adequate financial resources.
The international community faced the daunting task of achieving sustainable development by: addressing the adverse impacts of climate change; enhancing energy efficiency, access to energy and transfer of cleaner energy technologies, including renewables and advanced fossil fuel technologies; achieving industrial development; and reducing air pollution and atmospheric problems to improve the quality of life for all, particularly the poorest. The replenishment of the GEF, an important instrument that had made significant contributions to the financing of the multilateral environmental agreements, remained urgent. However, the new Resource Allocation Framework would make the GEF financing more difficult to obtain and that would have adverse effects on meeting targets under the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan. He hoped the Third GEF Assembly, to be held in Cape Town in August, would address the concerns of the developing world.
JOSEF PROLL, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management of Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said further action was essential to achieve access to reliable, affordable and environmentally sound energy services for sustainable development to meet basic human needs for poor women and men and facilitate the achievement of the Millennium Goals. In particular, access to energy services needed to be included in national development strategies and poverty reduction strategies. The Union had adopted a number of targets, for instance on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the increase of the share of renewable energy and on official development aid. Time-bound targets were a relevant tool to express Governments’ vision and to implement efficient policies and measures. Regulatory and market-based frameworks, instruments and incentives were other tools that should be used more effectively.
The global rise in air pollution, he said, negatively impacted on human health and caused environmental degradation, including climate change. The fifteenth session would need to address high and increasing transport and vehicle emissions, heating and housing, and increasing urbanization, as well as indoor air pollution, which was taking a particularly heavy toll on human health in developing countries, especially of women and children. Barriers and constraints differ for all of the thematic issues. However, promoting the means of implementation –- financing, capacity-building, technology transfer, research and good governance –- as well as gender equality were fundamental for development that was sound environmentally, socially and economically. In that respect, promoting sound partnership and cooperation between the public and private sectors was vital.
As part of an action-oriented outcome, it was necessary to adopt an integrated approach to energy, air pollution, industrial development and climate change, as well as the interlinkages between those issues. Further, it was essential to build capacity and promote technology transfer to increase knowledge and skills at the local and national levels. Also, financing must become more innovative and effective to ensure that resources were channelled to those areas where they were most needed.
GEORGETTE KOKO, Vice Prime Minister in charge of the Environment, Protection of Nature, Research and Technology of Gabon, said her Government had created a national commission for sustainable development. Since poverty reduction was at the heart of sustainable development concerns, Gabon had adopted a strategic growth and poverty reduction paper, which now served as a reference paper on public investment. Gabon also had a new energy policy focusing on hydro energy and the development of renewable industries. A programme for rural electrification was already in effect.
As for industrial development, Gabon had established a centre for knowledge and technology transfer, she said. Air pollution was also of great concern. Having supported the World Bank’s initiative on air quality, Gabon decided to ban the consumption of leaded gasoline on the national market, starting in January 2006. Gabon had also carried out its first national communication, making it possible to identify economic activities producing greenhouse gases. By classifying 11 per cent of the national territory as protected areas, it was participating in the struggle against global climate change. Today, despite those efforts, Gabon, like other developing countries, needed to further make use of human, financial and technical resources to fully comply with its sustainable development commitments.
ABDULLAH BIN HAMAD AL-ATTIYAH, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Energy and Industry of Qatar, said that the variations in the priorities of developing and industrialized nations, dictated by the diversity of their economic and social standards, ought to be addressed and debated objectively and transparently. The priorities of industrialized countries revolved around assured energy supplies, while mitigating further environmental degradation. Those priorities prompted them to set quantitative and chronological targets to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels. They taxed oil products and continued to support renewable energy sources. In the meantime, the priorities of the oil and gas exporting countries centred on non-interrupted supply and assured energy markets, with no use-restriction taxes. Given those factors, dialogue between the developing and industrialized countries was necessary for an understanding that served all parties and achieved sustainable development objectives.
Faced with those challenges and the discrepancies between different positions, he said, technological developments played a central role that must be pursued vigorously to develop energy resources and provide clean and environmentally sound energy to limit the polluting emissions that contributed to climate change. It was necessary to pursue targeted policies to promote international cooperation, so as to satisfy the needs of developing countries that lacked the energy resources necessary to achieve socio-economic development. Meanwhile, all parties must seek to mitigate the adverse consequences of climate change. They should develop the necessary measures and programmes to grapple with repercussions in developing countries, in general, and small island developing States, in particular. Those challenges would constitute the basis for the Commission’s work in the next session.
DU YING ( China) said that developing countries remained troubled by a shortage of financial resources, lack of technology and inadequate capacity for sustainable development. Key to implementing the Johannesburg action plan was political will, coupled with concrete action. The international community should foster an enabling economic environment, taking into account the legitimate demands of developing countries and providing them with practical assistance in priority areas. The developing countries, for their part, should shoulder their own responsibilities and adopt strategies tailored to their specific national circumstances. As a populous country with relatively inadequate resources, China was under considerable pressure and faced enormous challenges in its economic and social development. The Government had taken up sustainable development as a major national strategy and made it operational. While achieving steady economic and social development, China had succeeded in curbing the excessive population growth, building up ecosystems and protecting the environment, with notable results in its sustainable development efforts.
He said that, in March, the National People’s Congress approved the outline of the eleventh five-year plan for national economic and social development. While doubling the per capital gross domestic product (GDP) between 2000 and 2010, China would reduce energy consumption per unit GDP by 20 per cent against the level registered at the end of 2005, cut total emission of major pollutants by 10 per cent, successfully bring greenhouse gas emissions under control, and further strengthen capacity of sustainable development. China was a large energy consumer, as well as a large energy producer. As the second largest energy producing country in the world, China had maintained an energy self-sufficiency rate above 90 per cent. In the future, his country would maintain an energy guideline that gave priority energy conservation, relied on domestic supply based on coal as the primary source, and pursue diversification, while making efforts to reduce energy intensity, further optimize the mix of energy production and consumption, and build a stable, economic, clean and secure energy supply system. China had a huge potential in energy development and use, and it would tap its abundant hydropower resources, develop nuclear power actively, and accelerate the development of renewable energies, such as wind power and biomass. It would also strengthen its dialogue with the countries of the world and make joint efforts to safeguard energy security and stability globally.
SIGMAR GABRIEL, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany, said that, with oil prices at more than $75 a barrel, a revolution in efficiency could ensure energy security. The twenty-first century must be one of resource and energy innovation. Otherwise, sustainable development would be a luxury that only wealthy countries could afford. Next year, the Commission should adopt the following specific measures: specific national, regional and global action plans, including targets; more capacity-building measures; and greater commitment from international financing institutions.
Also needed, he said, was a review of the global expansion of renewable energies. By 2030, around $17 trillion had to be invested in energy supply systems worldwide. To achieve that, investment security and incentives were a must. The cost of the continued wasteful management of scarce resources was borne by the world’s poorest and by future generations. That had to stop. The principle of fairness called for a global sustainable energy supply and sustainable industrial development.
P.L.B.A. (PIETER) VAN GEEL, State Secretary of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment of the Netherlands, said that the three key issues in working towards the Commission’s fifteenth session were an integrated approach, capacity-building at the local level and innovative financing. Integrated policies would clearly be needed on industry and energy, which meant securing energy supplies for industrial development in both developed and developing countries, as well as providing access to energy services for the poor. An integrated approach required alignment around shared, long-term ambitions, as well as the mitigation of the effects of energy use on climate change and air pollution worldwide. The energy targets and goals from Johannesburg, the Millennium Development Goals together with ambitions for renewable energy and climate change under the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol could serve that purpose.
For short-term action it was essential to build capacity, he said, adding that knowledge and skills could be increased at the local and national levels by coupling capacity-building with genuine projects in the energy field. Regarding the creation of a conducive investment climate with effective market signals, innovative financing mechanisms were crucial. Funds now available, such as official development assistance, must be used more effectively, as must whatever could potentially become available. That could be done by creating the right investment climate at the national and international levels, mixing public and private funding more effectively and using market forces more efficiently. The Commission’s next policy year offered opportunities for a continued dialogue with all major groups and the main focus should now be on overcoming obstacles. That session must produce tangible, convincing and appealing new actions that would guide the world towards more sustainable production and energy use.
SIGRIDUR ANNA THORDARDOTTIR, Minister for the Environment of Iceland, said that eliminating poverty and addressing climate change merited the world’s full attention and must be tackled simultaneously. That required new thinking, better policies and a strong push for cleaner technology. That was especially important in the field of energy, which was the biggest sector contributing to climate change. Iceland’s journey from poverty to economic growth was mostly fuelled by harnessing the country’s natural wealth, including its renewable energy sources. Today, geothermal energy and hydropower accounted for more than 70 per cent of the country’s primary energy consumption. The use of those energy sources was not only positive for the economy, but also for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. A low-carbon road to development was possible for many countries. Geothermal energy was a potential energy source in many quarters of the world, and that could provide energy for 600 million people.
She said, however, that numerous obstacles impeded the use of geothermal energy, in particular, and renewable energy, in general. The global energy infrastructure was still designed for fossil fuels, and cleaner energy faced an uphill struggle. Governments, industry and development funding agencies must work harder to promote technologies that reduced greenhouse gas emissions. That was good not only for combating climate change, but also for sustainable development. Iceland had high expectations for “CSD 14 and 15” -- they must be used to present opportunities for making the energy sector more sustainable. Her Government would like to see policies designed and implemented that sped up the development of climate-friendly technology in such fields as geothermal energy. Hydrogen could also be a key component in clean, sustainable energy systems in the future.
DICK ROCHE, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government of Ireland, said the themes of the current session were inextricably linked. Energy was central to economic development. It was necessary to use it in a sustainable way. It was also necessary to decouple energy demand, economic growth and environmental degradation. Developing renewable energy technology was a major challenge, and one that could not be left to business, whose overriding concern was profits. It was crucial to strive for further energy efficiency and move away from unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. The responsibility of Governments was to create an atmosphere for the implementation of the commitments undertaken in Johannesburg. This review year should result in an outcome that put in place a sound framework for next year’s policy session.
IAN CAMPBELL, Minister for the Environment and Heritage of Australia, said that if environmental measures were to become a priority in the developing world, they needed to be shown to also support economic growth. That was more often the case than not. For example, worsening air pollution was harmful to public health and to the requirements of a productive economy. Also, measures that improved energy efficiency lifted productivity and curbed carbon dioxide emissions. Access to energy was essential for economic growth, and that access required national governance arrangements in order to attract private sector investment and assure donor confidence. Some fundamental prerequisites for achieving a more rapid deployment of efficient energy distribution in many countries were absent, but essential. More robust development would only occur with a breakthrough in the Doha Round of trade talks that boosted world trade by substantially reducing barriers to cross-border commerce.
He said that sustainable development would only occur with high-quality governance, markets based on secure property rights, transparency and accountability. The elimination of corruption was also paramount. The multi-billion dollar investment required across the globe to achieve clean development and breakthroughs on climate change would only be obtained when those prerequisites were achieved. To meet the common global development goals, the world must commit to greatly increased energy use in the next few decades -- increased energy use in the developing world for household, commercial and industrial activity. Paradoxically, during the next few decades, it must also pursue deep reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions to hold atmospheric concentrations at a safe level. Renewable energy would also play an increasingly important part, over time. Fossil fuels would remain the basis of the world’s energy supply for the medium term.
A “hybrid world” would draw together different technologies and different fuels, resulting in the deployment of the most economically effective energy solutions -- at the household level, the industrial installation level, the neighbourhood level and even at the national level. Governments should generally remain technology-neutral in how they approached the challenge of greenhouse gas emissions. That did not mean being indifferent to technological progress. Over the long run, the world needed to develop major shifts in technology across all areas to drive deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s increased energy use. The research needed to make those shifts was properly the subject of partnerships between the private sector and Governments. The world would make many trillions of dollars of investment in energy generation and supply over the next few decades. How that investment was made would set the pattern for greenhouse gas emissions, access to energy for the poor, and health outcomes for developing countries’ urban and rural people. It was the private sector that would drive innovation and investment in low emission energy generation and supply, and it was the private sector that must be involved in the partnerships to drive the change that was needed.
PURNOMO YUSGIANTORO, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia, said the current session reminded everyone of the important linkages between energy, industrial development, air pollution and climate change. It was important to continue to maintain the delicate balance between those issues in order to ensure sustainable development. Industrial development would remain for some time an important element for economic growth and achieving development goals. Indonesia had created an enabling environment to attract domestic and foreign investment, in keeping with its three-pronged economic strategy, which had pro-growth, pro-job and pro-poor features. That would not be done at the expense of the environment, or forgetting the consequences that might occur in the climate.
Industrial development required a stable energy supply, he said. Indonesia was committed to reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and increasing its support to developing renewable energy technology. By 2025, it expected a much greater use of renewable energy, such as biofuel and geothermal energy. Also, it was implementing energy efficiency measures to guarantee energy supply in the future. Not long ago, pollution was regarded as an inevitable part of economic growth. However, the need to curb greenhouse gases had been widely recognized. His Government now considered improved urban air quality as a national priority. In that connection, it had sought to bring about changes in the transportation sector, including increasing the use of clean fuels. While the primary responsibility to establish policies and implement measures for sustainable development lay with national Governments, many countries would not be able to attain that without external assistance. Funding, expertise and access to clean technologies were all critical issues in that regard.
MOHAMMED SAEED AL-KINDI, Minister of Water and Environment of the United Arab Emirates, said his country was committed to building a society with a diversified economy, which took into consideration national development policies that sought to save future generations from the negative environmental impacts of development. Towards that goal, the Government had adopted a people-centred development policy and was providing the population with all basic services. In 2000, it adopted a national environmental strategy and action plan, in accordance with Agenda 21. The measures implemented through that strategy had included, among others, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the exploitation and exploration of oil resources and the replacement of diesel and heavy fuel at power stations with natural gas.
In 2003, he said, the Government began working on a new initiative for using pressurized gas in automobiles and other machinery. It was also working to expand forests and reduce the reliance on, and use of, traditional energy sources. It had also undertaken many projects in the area of transportation, clean fuel, limiting air pollution, reduction of greenhouse gases, and the promotion of environmentally sound technologies. The national economic policy had also attempted to use oil revenues to expand the economic base and develop the use of clean and environmentally sound technologies in industry, with the full participation of the private sector. That had led to the continued growth of the non-oil sector, which now represented some 70 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). In fact, the non-oil sector had recorded extremely high growth levels of 9 per cent. The State had also ratified an agreement to establish a permanent regional office of the Arab industrial organizations in the country, as well as the standardized system of industry. He called for further global efforts to combat poverty, conflict and foreign occupation, based on the United Nations Charter and international law, and for continued international efforts to face up to the development challenges.
DAVID W. ADEANG, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Nauru, emphasized the importance of the energy sector for achieving sustainable development at the national level. Ocean thermal energy conversion technology held a lot of potential for his country. Nauru had mainstreamed that technology in the development of its national development policy. In that context, he urged the international community to devote sufficient resources to supporting that technology, so that his country could create a sustainable way of life for its people. As a small island developing State, he endorsed the call for technology transfer and for reducing trade barriers. He also underscored the need to simplify the process for accessing financial resources. With the Mauritius Strategy, there was now a blueprint for the achievement of sustainable development. The Strategy was clear on the interlinkages between energy and climate change. He welcomed the inclusion of “SIDS Day” in this year’s session and urged that it be formalized for future sessions.
ALEKSANDAR POPOVIC, Minister for Science and Environmental Protection of Serbia and Montenegro, said air pollution hot spots existed in several of his country’s industrial areas, particularly near lignite-fired power plants and associated mines, as well as in urban agglomerations. Associated problems derived from the sulphur content of heating oil, especially pronounced in winter, and the use of leaded gasoline and high-sulphur diesel for fuelling vehicles. In some cases, poor people who settled in the vicinity of industrial or urban areas were particularly exposed and suffered a high incidence of respiratory problems. The main cause of air pollution was the burning of low-quality lignite coal in inefficient power plants with poor pollution control technologies. That was compounded by high demand for energy from industry and households, induced by low and heavily-subsidized energy prices.
Lack of sustainable forest management influenced climatic conditions, he continued. Serbia had significant forest resources that were under threat due to over-harvesting, illegal logging, forest fires and pest infestations, he said. Air pollution and combating climate change, as well as the energy and industrial sectors, were recognized as the areas for priority actions. Legal and institutional reform in those three areas had been realized. Bearing in mind increasing demand for energy, special attention was focused on the possible use of the many renewable resources in Montenegro, such as water, wind, solar energy and biomass. In order to fulfil global requirements and to face successfully the challenges of European integration, Serbia and Montenegro needed financial and technical assistance, which should be provided through harmonized actions by the relevant United Nations agencies and international organizations.
ONKOKAME KITSO MOKAILA, Minister for Environment, Wildlife and Tourism of Botswana, speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said that the region’s successful phasing out of leaded petrol and the introduction of a programme to reduce sulphur content in diesel demonstrated the SADC countries’ collective will to work together and their recognition that efforts to further reduce air pollution and address climate change could only be meaningful if each did its part. Several issues hindered the implementation of agreed actions including: the inadequate diffusion of new and renewable energy sources, especially solar photovoltaics requiring high up-front costs; and the high costs of rural electrification through grid extension, mini-grids and stand-alone systems due to the geographical spread of rural settlements and communities. In addition, households continued to depend on solid fuels, as they could not afford the use of commercial energy sources.
He said that climate change had severe impacts in the SADC countries, including threats to biodiversity, tourism, food and water security, agriculture and health. Moreover, SADC was faced with challenges that hampered progress towards the attainment of its mission, including inadequate financial resources, lack of access to affordable modern energy services, as well as human capacity. Enhanced economic growth was essential to progress in eradicating poverty and enhancing the quality of life. Key challenges in promoting industrial development were the lack of access for developing countries to developed-country markets and slow progress in the World Trade Organization negotiations. The SADC, therefore, urged progress in the Doha Development Round and called for an adequate replenishment of the Global Environment Facility, an important instrument that had contributed significantly to the financing of multilateral environmental agreements.
JAFRAL ISLAM CHOWDHURY, State Minister of Environment and Forests, Bangladesh, said that the high price of energy, mainly hydrocarbons, was of grave concern for developing countries. The recent spike in prices had further aggravated the situation for end-users. The international community should take the necessary measures to ensure that the poor countries received oil and other energy sources at an affordable price. Renewable energy technologies had huge potential and offered significant opportunities for improved access to energy in rural and remote areas. Increased investment in research and development, especially by developed countries, could enhance efficiency and reduce up-front costs for renewables. Industrial development had a key role, as well. For many developing countries, managing adverse environmental and social impacts of rapid industrialization, however, was a big challenge.
He said that the transfer of more energy-efficient technologies through North-South and South-South cooperation could ensure rapid industrialization in developing countries. Sustained industrial development was also contingent upon multilateral trade liberalization. Economic development drove increased combustion of fossil fuels for industrial processes and electricity consumption, which resulted in air pollution. Developing countries, particularly the least developed ones, had the lowest capacity to adapt to climate change. Millions of the poorest people might be forced from their lands and become “climate refugees”. Developed countries should accept greater responsibility for assisting them to adapt to climate change. Appropriate control technologies, sound management strategies, as well as human and financial resources were essential for improving air quality. However, for many countries, emission reduction was not a viable option, in the near term. Development of alternative fuels, reduction of deforestation, slowed population growth, switching from coal to natural gas, and reducing air pollution were some options for mitigating climate change.
HELEN ESUENE, Minister of Environment of Nigeria, said her Government had introduced reform measures, including an integrated national energy policy to encourage its energy mix. It sought to improve all its energy sources. It had the target date of 2008 to stop the use of leaded gasoline and introduce liquefied gas. The Government had earmarked $29.6 million for the period 2005-2007 for energy programmes. Industrial development was essential for the realization of Nigeria’s national development strategy. Among other things, it had established an agency for the coordination of small and medium-sized enterprises throughout the nation.
On air pollution and climate change, she said Nigeria had recognized the need to improve air quality in the country and had adopted an integrated approach to promote cleaner production and adapt to climate change. Efforts for providing energy, improving air quality and achieving industrial development were hampered by enormous challenges and constraints, including inadequate infrastructure, an insufficient resource base and a lack of technological know-how. In that connection, she called for a strengthening of the Economic and Social Council and the Commission on Sustainable Development, as well as the implementation of the Bali Plan for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer.
JEAN-PIERRE BABATUNDE, Minister of the Environment and Nature Conservation of Benin, said that, in the daily struggle to ensure a healthy and sustainable environment that met the needs of the country’s populations, many steps had been taken. In the area of air and atmospheric pollution, various harmful effects had been recorded, including a wide range of illnesses and respiratory infections, particularly in the cities and burgeoning urban centres. To remedy the situation, the Government had drawn up a policy for urban renewal, the control of exhaust and emissions, and it had required a switch to unleaded gasoline. It had also limited the imports of used vehicles. At the same time, it was undertaking to provide all the people with the energy needed for the development of their activities. The main form of energy use in Benin was biomass, which represented 60 per cent of the country’s energy consumption. That was followed by 30 per cent for oil products, and 2 per cent for electricity. Those statistics showed the low access to modern energy and the parallel embryonic development of goods and services.
Thus, he said, the Government, together with the private sector, had defined the major challenges and objectives for the success of the industrial sector. That required an integrated approach and concerted and sustained action, as well as capacity-building in all key areas. He called for strengthened international, multilateral and bilateral cooperation, particularly to assist the least developed countries like his own, for achieving their various strategies towards genuine sustainable development -- development that was sustainable on all levels.
KAHINDA OTAFIIRE, Minister for Water, Lands and Environment of Uganda, associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that as the price of oil soared and climatic conditions negatively impacted hydropower resources, it was a challenge for all countries to ensure that viable energy solutions were put in place for the 2 billion people without access to modern energy services. Past mistakes by development partners, especially the World Bank, had made Uganda very vulnerable in that regard, and the country’s energy needs were very critical at the moment because of wrong “expert advice” that was contrary to Uganda’s own experience and empirical evidence of its development needs in the energy sector.
Poor African countries had been making efforts to free their populations from the monster of poverty, he said. But they continued to be locked into the poverty cycle, a situation made worse by the fact that climate change had become a reality and was a serious risk to poverty reduction. While it was a global phenomenon, its adverse effects were felt more by poor people in poor countries. Climate change reduced access to water, both for drinking and production; negatively affected agricultural production, leading to poor health and food insecurity; and affected the development of such infrastructure as roads and bridges. Those factors made adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change a matter of the highest priority in poor countries. While communities had been adapting to climate change in the past, adaptation to its adverse effects was not enough. The way forward was to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, so as to reduce the cost of future adaptation. The development and transfer of environment-friendly and appropriate technologies could support a cleaner development path in developing countries.
TURKI IBN NASER IBN ABDUL AZIZ AL-SAUD, Head of the Meteorology and Environmental Protection Agency of Saudi Arabia, said improving access to energy sources was crucial for poverty eradication and for economic and social development. Oil exporting countries, such as Saudi Arabia, had growing energy and development needs. They also faced challenges in providing for the international community’s energy needs. The world faced a great challenge in meeting growing energy demand for sustainable development. Therefore, all energy sources were crucial, whether natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear or biomass, as well as renewable energies. At the same time, energy from fossil fuels would continue to dominate the energy mix for the coming decades. Thus, focusing on cleaner fossil fuel technologies was a must. The rapid development of the industrial and services sector in his country had resulted in an increase in energy consumption. Saudi Arabia had enforced a number of steps towards improving energy efficiency and controlling pollution, including the use of reformulated gasoline in the transportation sector.
MONA SAHLIN, Minister for Sustainable Development of Sweden, said that power over energy -- an issue not even mentioned in the Millennium Declaration -- was today, and for the foreseeable future, a major challenge for all. Rightly used, energy could be a global tool for sustainable development and for poverty eradication. Wrongly used, in self-interest and with a short-term perspective, it caused conflicts, air pollution, and climate change. The sharp increase in oil prices over the past few months had already augmented poverty in a number of countries by 4 to 7 per cent. For decades, Sweden had pursued policies to reduce national dependence on fossil fuels, particularly oil, and this year a special commission was set up, under the stewardship of the Prime Minister, to phase out oil dependency by 2020. Oil had long been perceived as an accessible and affordable energy source. Often, the “external costs” of oil in terms of air pollution and ill health had been disregarded, and the world had been blind to the consequences for future generations of the depletion of that major non-renewable source.
Also crucial, she said, was to address women’s empowerment and gender equality in all aspects of sustainable development. Bridges must be built so that people became visible, and not only in households where women and children were suffering from air pollution. Perceptions must be changed from women as victims to women as actors and agents of change. In addition to changing the structural and strategic aspects of gender, practical matters must be acted upon, such as ensuring poor women’s access to safe and affordable energy that did not cause ill health, to energy that facilitated household work, and to energy for transportation to schools, hospitals and jobs. She asked the current Commission session to put forward the best possible examples of how to empower women at all levels in time for the “CSD 15”. Strategic proposals were needed, which addressed underlying power structures, and proposals were needed that built bridges at the macro level, with men at the decision-making table. Poor women must not end up spending four hours a day in search of fuelwood. Energy was key to development and crucial for the creation of more equitable and just societies.
LINDIWE HENDRICKS, Minister of Minerals and Energy of South Africa, said a higher and sustained level of economic growth was necessary if developing countries were to make any significant progress in achieving poverty reduction and sustainable development targets by 2015. Developing countries, for their part, had shown strong commitment to establishing sound development strategies and stronger systems of governance. Those efforts should be supported by increased, more effective, flexible and predictable aid flows, enhanced foreign direct investment and a concerted effort to make progress on the Doha trade round. Increased trade was key to enhanced economic growth, sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Climate change, she said, would have severe impacts in South Africa and in Africa in general. Climate change must be integrated into national development programmes, and activities that promoted adaptation to the negative effects of climate change must be prioritized. At the international level, the link between climate change adaptation and the achievement of sustainable development must be acknowledged through the establishment of funding mechanisms, technical support and technologies that would allow for threatened economies to take timely action. To promote energy efficiency and the diversification of energy sources, it was necessary to create markets and incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes and practices, she added.
VALERIE BRACHYA, Senior Deputy Director-General for Policy and Planning in the Ministry of Environment of Israel, said that her country’s new Government had recently declared that it would promote sustainable development with the aim of achieving the right balance between the use of resources for present needs and the conservation of resources for the future. The Government intended to continue and strengthen the process initiated by its decision following the Johannesburg Summit. The inter-ministerial committee, which included representatives of civil society, the private sector, local authorities and other groups, would be submitting its second annual report to the Government in the coming weeks. A main theme in that report concerned energy. In another decade, 50 per cent of Israel’s electricity production would be based on natural gas, a structural change that would bring very welcome environmental benefits. However, coal would remain the other major source for electricity production, which emphasized the urgent need for improving clean coal technologies.
The importance of energy conservation had been recognized as a crucial factor in energy policy, with the potential to achieve a 20-30 per cent saving in the rapidly rising demand for electricity, she said. The ministries of infrastructure, finance and environment would initiate practical programmes on energy efficiency in local authorities, in the industrial sector and in the use of domestic appliances, such as air conditioners. The Standards Institute had adopted new energy efficiency standards for new equipment and buildings. However, the role of the consumer in achieving energy efficiency had not yet been sufficiently recognized, even in a country well known for water conservation. Sustainable consumption remained a challenge, especially where a growing economy was generating market demands for higher living standards.
TATIANA STARCHENKO, Deputy Minister of the Economy of Belarus, said that the Chernobyl disaster and widely used chemical industry affected the national environment. Many industrial plants operated with increasingly outmoded technologies and, thus, threatened the environment. In addition, Belarus’ demographic situation remained complicated. The population had been declining since 1994, owing to the poor health conditions and low living standards since the beginning of the 1990s, weak environment and other negative factors. At the same time, however, the country had a relatively highly developed social infrastructure, scientific, technological and production capabilities, and advanced human resources in the academic and management spheres. All of those elements contributed to the country’s core rapid and efficient transition to sustainable development. The combination of positive and negative factors made successful implementation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development until 2020 and the most comprehensive use of national capacities the top priority.
She said that Belarus had a highly open economy and a huge demand for traditionally imported natural energy and other vital resources. The National Strategy focused largely on developing energy systems and streamlining energy resource consumption and in energy savings had been estimated at 10 million tons of standard coal. The Government was considering investing $5.2 billion in national energy systems. Those investments would, among other things, help to: decrease the deterioration of basic production of energy assets from 60.2 per cent to 46.1 per cent; ensure energy resources savings of up to 5.5 million tons of standard coal; and increase a share of local and renewable energy resources from 16.7 per cent to 25 per cent by 2012. The strategy also provided for a package of measures for preserving and rehabilitating natural ecosystems, improving the quality of the environment, reducing emissions of harmful substances to the water and atmosphere, reducing toxic and other waste, and organizing the safe processing and utilization of waste.
JORDAN DARDOV, Deputy Minister of Environment and Water of Bulgaria, said that, with the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 2002, his country joined international efforts to combat climate change, and currently it was successfully meeting its objectives. It was also taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the flexible mechanisms of the Protocol. A large number of projects in different sectors -- co-generation, fuel switching, renewable energy sources and energy efficiency -- would help lead to the reduction of more than 14 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2012. It was important that the future of the Protocol become clear as soon as possible. The new targets beyond 2012 should continue to develop and extend the Protocol market mechanisms. Bulgaria encountered difficulties with reporting under the Climate Change Convention and the Protocol, and faced challenges in implementing the European Union Emission Trading Scheme. His country would have to develop new policies to find the exact balance between the accelerated rates of economic development and decreasing the carbon intensity of production.
SAUFATU SOPOANGA, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Energy of Tuvalu, said it was crystal clear, especially for the small island developing States, that the need to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources was both necessary and urgent. An ad hoc working committee should be set up to allow for constant reviews of implementation. For many, like Tuvalu, unless energy opportunities and environmental challenges of climate change were urgently addressed in a balanced manner, achieving the global development goals, sustainable development, and even the island’s very existence, would be seriously compromised. There was an urgent need, therefore, to establish a global fund for renewable energy. Tuvalu was committed to taking full responsibility for its own sustainable development. It also recognized that oil prices in Tuvalu would keep rising even above current levels and consume up to 70 per cent of its meagre financial resources. That was simply untenable for the poor island.
He said that providing energy needs for 10,000 people might sound like an easy task, but that was not the case. Tuvalu’s population was dispersed over nine small islands, separated by considerable distances of ocean water. The social and economic costs to run ships, or not to run ships, to cater to the sick children, women and rural communities on outer islands were exorbitant. About 92 per cent of the total households were connected to the diesel electricity grid, also requiring transportation of fossil fuels to those outer islands. It was imperative, therefore, to develop appropriate, affordable, and home-grown technologies for renewable energy sources. Tuvalu’s goal, therefore, was to increase the use of renewable energy from the current 4 per cent to 20 per cent of energy sources by 2015, for which it would very much welcome partnerships under the “CSD” process or bilaterally.
A new energy paradigm was needed not only for affordability and poverty reasons, he said, but for reasons of environmental sustainability. In no uncertain terms, the adverse impacts of climate change caused by fossil fuels on small islands like Tuvalu were real, immediate and devastating. Adaptation for those States was a must, which should be supported by the industrialized countries. The small island developing States urgently needed no more assessments and studies, but implementation of Stage III adaptation projects in critical sectors like freshwater sources, agriculture, and health. The experience of GEF with small island developing States on expediting accessibility to funding would be critical for adaptation under its own fourth replenishment. Moreover, the Adaptation Fund of the Kyoto Protocol must also be dedicated to implementation of concrete adaptation projects in the most vulnerable countries. Small island States with higher risks needed a special window of funding for adaptation, which was simple, flexible and easy to access.
HAMID CHITCHIAN, Senior Deputy Minister of Energy of Iran, said energy resources remained essential for sustained economic growth and development in all countries. To ensure access and continued supply of those resources, it was necessary to remove certain constraints and barriers. Those included: unsustainable utilization of energy resources, which led to the depletion of natural resources and environmental pollution; unsustainable patterns of consumption and production; and the lack of awareness about the consequences of unsustainable development. Other barriers included high costs of investment for diversification of energy sources, including renewables; high costs of imported advanced technologies; and a lack of appropriate regulations and poor governance.
Among the measures taken by his Government were standardization of energy consumption; labelling home and industrial electrical appliances and facilities; and a gradual shifting from the utilization of oil to natural gas in residential areas, industries, power plants and the transportation system. Those policies had considerably reduced greenhouse gas emissions in his country.
PETIPONG PUNGBUN NA AYUDHYA, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand, said that, to suppress climate change impacts and simultaneously enhance sustainable energy and industrial development, renewable energy, energy efficiency and cleaner energy technologies and services had been introduced with a very high upfront cost. That was a core barrier for developing countries. There were technologies available to combat climate change and improve air quality, provided that the will, capacity and resources were present. Again, those were major constraints for developing countries. Despite those constraints, the success of the Montreal Protocol in phasing out ozone depleting substances, especially in Thailand, had been undeniable.
He underscored the impacts of climate change on sustainable development, particularly in developing countries. Strengthening their capacity in combating climate change, therefore, was pivotal. An effective integrated national policy, as well as public awareness and education in fighting those challenges, were essential. To accomplish that, Governments, civil society and the private sector must work in a collaborative way. Good governance was also key to fruitful partnerships. Action for financing sustainable development should be taken with due consideration of the differences between those countries that had not been able to attract much private capital, such as the least developed countries, the landlocked countries and the small island developing States, for which ODA remained the primary source of external funding. Action should be strengthened to make the best use of ODA and domestic resources, increasing the contribution of private capital to sustainable development and enabling the full implementation of existing and additional international funding mechanisms.
LEE KYOO-YONG, Vice-Minister of the Environment of the Republic of Korea, said integrating sustainable development into policy framework was key to tackling obstacles. The Korean experience suggested that it was vital to integrate, in a more comprehensive manner, environmental factors into each policy component for energy, industry and transport. That approach could help achieve sustained economic growth along with environmental protection. Indeed, a policy that mixed energy efficiency with environmental protection would bring about increased uses of renewable energy. He emphasized the importance of demand-side energy policies, including tax policies with a view to enhancing energy efficiency, as well as reducing air pollution. Furthermore, it was important to establish policies that facilitated conversion into eco-friendly industrial structures.
ISTVAN ORY, Administrative State Secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Water Management of Hungary, said there was a need for a new paradigm, and that should include reducing the carbon intensity of the energy supply to lesson environmental pressure. Energy supply determined by market competition had a significant social and economic requirement. Hungary shared and supported the general approach presented by the European community, especially the emphasis on reaching consensus in the Commission on the future direction to orient the policy decisions to be made next year.
He said that prevention was a basic principle of environmental policies. Basic challenges for energy included energy efficiency and energy savings. Also crucial, especially for the countries of his region, was to increase the share of renewables, since that would contribute to meeting the economic and environmental objectives. He also sought enhanced energy effectiveness and a decrease in the level of harmful emissions, as well as expanding the markets for renewable technologies. The latter would increase energy security and help decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Governments should consider deployment policies to create markets for such new technologies. Efficient cooperation was needed among all stakeholders to achieve progress in that regard.
STAVROS DIMAS, Commissioner for Environment of the European Commission, noted three challenges. First, it was necessary to tackle the issue of the more than 1.4 billion people who still lacked access to electricity. Second, urgent action was needed to tackle the negative environmental impact of unsustainable consumption and production. Third, it was necessary to ensure affordable, secure and sustainable supply of energy in the long term. In recent years, global energy production had failed to keep up with demand, leading to high prices for energy resources. The task at the Commission’s current session was to identify win-win options to deal with those challenges in an integrated manner. Improved energy efficiency could help solve all key energy challenges. Increased use of renewable energy could also play a role in that regard. The Commission had a number of tools and targets to achieve sustainable patterns of production and consumption. He highlighted the European Union Energy Initiative, which promoted, among other things, access to energy for the poor in Africa, Latin America and the Pacific.
THOMAS BECKER, Head of Department, Ministry of the Environment of Denmark, said the developed world’s population had been over-consuming in an unsustainable way for a long time. The unsustainability of that energy path was the main reason for the current problems. The task for the industrialized countries was to identify and implement policies leading to the decoupling of economic growth with the use of energy and emissions of greenhouse gases. At the same time, the developing countries had a legitimate and necessary right to economic growth, with an increased access to energy and increased consumption. The question was how to solve those two major blocks. One way could be to have a much higher emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Those two measures constituted an appropriate answer to many of the problems.
In that connection, he underlined that the way renewable energy was being treated in the industrialized countries where subsidies to the energy sector played a major role in the market, it could not be expected that the pricing for renewable energy remained competitive. There was a role for a much stronger position for renewable energy in a much freer market. There was also a strong need for a mechanism that allowed for a sharing of best practices. The Johannesburg renewable energy coalition was a crucial instrument in that regard, through which 90 countries had committed themselves to promoting renewable energy and pursuing more sustainable energy policies. That aimed at proposing a model for effective follow-up arrangements after “CSD 15”, with a view to assessing progress and promoting progress among Governments.
Differentiated, time-bound targets were crucial to a sustainable economic and energy growth, he said. That would also guide business and industry decisions in the energy market. Moving from the current session to the policy decisions to be made next year also required that follow-up arrangements be agreed at “CSD 15”.
DENYS GAUER, Ambassador for Environmental Issues of France, said that world energy demand would grow quickly. It was necessary to produce and consume energy differently. It was essential for each country to devise a real energy policy that would reconcile the concerns of availability, competitiveness and environmental viability. France intended to make that energy policy a way to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, with a target of reducing its emissions by fourfold by 2050. The current level of oil and gas prices only meant that such policies were necessary, and that it was important to improve energy efficiency. It was necessary to diversify what was available in terms of fuel by developing renewable energy sources. France was increasing its use of biomass and nuclear energy. Since there would continue to be a dependence on fossil fuels, France was increasing research on carbon capture and storage. It also intended to strengthen energy climate aspect in its ODA.
ARMEN BAIBOURTIAN, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia, said that sustainable, competitive and secure energy policy would not be successfully pursued without open and competitive energy markets. Access to energy at reasonable prices was critical to industry, transport and general social and economic development. That was also a fundamental element for implementation of the poverty reduction strategy programme. Expensive and unreliable energy supplies seriously threatened a national economy and would negatively affect the living standards of the population. Analysis and assessment of opportunities to diversify supplies and achieve regional integration were critical elements of Armenia’s energy sector development strategy. That was aimed at implementing a balanced policy in the region related to free access to electrical and gas networks, trade and transit. The projects on rehabilitation and modernization of the electricity sector had been successfully implemented and were continuing through the financial assistance of international organizations.
He said that the energy sector development strategy adopted in June 2005 had, as its main objective, to formulate strategic goals for the development of the energy system until 2025. The main goals were: achieving sustainable economic development; enhancing the country’s energy independence and security, including diversification of imported and domestic energy resources; and ensuring efficient use of domestic energy resources and the development of renewables. The strategy was also aimed at resolution of the following primary problems, among others: providing reliable, affordable energy; avoiding importing primary energy sources that might expose the security and economy of Armenia; ensuring the safe operation of the Armenian nuclear power plant; and creating an electric energy system that was export-oriented and generated high added value.
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