Secretary-General, Strengthening Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, Hopes More than 1 Billion People Can Access Modern Energy Services by 2030

24 September 2012

Secretary-General, Strengthening Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, Hopes More than 1 Billion People Can Access Modern Energy Services by 2030

24 September 2012
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, Strengthening Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, Hopes


More than 1 Billion People Can Access Modern Energy Services by 2030


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s opening remarks, as delivered, to the High-level Event on Sustainable Energy for All, in New York, 24 September:

I launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative a year ago with great excitement about its potential. 

Today it is my distinct pleasure to be able to report that those expectations have been surpassed.  I thank the many people here who have helped this happen.  More than 60 developing countries are now working with the initiative.  More are coming on board.  Businesses have committed more than $50 billion.  Commitments worth tens of billions more have been made by other stakeholders — Governments, multilateral development banks, international organizations, and civil society. We would not have achieved all this without the leadership of the distinguished co-chairs and members of my High-level Group.

We have come a long way.  But we have a long road ahead.  Our objectives are ambitious:  universal access to modern energy services by 2030; doubling the rate we improve energy efficiency worldwide; doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix.  We can reach all these objectives by 2030.  But we will need bold policies, greater investments, and innovative partnerships between the public and private sectors.

Today I am pleased to announce four new elements to strengthen this initiative and build on our momentum.

First:  the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, and I will co-chair a new advisory board to provide strategic guidance.  The members will include the world’s foremost authorities on energy and related fields.  I thank Dr. Kim for accepting this responsibility.  The United Nations and the World Bank are entering an era of closer cooperation than ever before.

Second, I have asked Chad Holliday to continue his leadership role by chairing the initiative’s new Executive Committee.  Mr. Holliday has been instrumental in guiding the initiative through its first year. 

Third, the initiative needs a full-time captain to drive it forward.  I have asked Kandeh Yumkella, the current Director-General of UNIDO [United Nations Industrial Development Organization], to be my new Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and chief executive of the effort with full responsibility for overall planning and implementation. 

Fourth, we will establish a global support team to strengthen coordination among our many partners.

We are not establishing a new institution but rather building on what already exists and works well.  With these four elements, Sustainable Energy for All is poised to draw in new partners and become a global network that can help transform the world’s energy systems — and the lives of billions of people.

Sustainable Energy for All is the answer to some of the key challenges of our time:  energy poverty, inequality, economic growth, environmental risks.  This is a twenty-first century multi-stakeholder partnership for a twenty-first century United Nations.  Now we need to scale up — especially at the country level.  We will mobilize our entire United Nations system to support this effort, and United Nations country teams can play an important role in this regard.

During the lifespan of the initiative, we aim to provide more than 1 billion people with access to modern energy services.

This is how Sustainable Energy for All will be measured — by children newly able to study after dark, mothers breathing healthy air, doctors caring for the sick night and day, businesses seeing new prosperity, a cleaner environment and a path that will help us to avoid the catastrophe of climate change.

As we move forward, our regular interaction and communication with you, the Member States, will be key.  We look forward to it.  Working together, we can create the future we want — the future our children deserve.  Thank you very much for your commitment.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.