Secretary-General, at Meeting of Sustainable Energy for All Advisory Board, Stresses Need to ‘Turn Commitments into Kilowatts’

19 April 2013

Secretary-General, at Meeting of Sustainable Energy for All Advisory Board, Stresses Need to ‘Turn Commitments into Kilowatts’

19 April 2013
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, at Meeting of Sustainable Energy for All Advisory Board,


Stresses Need to ‘Turn Commitments into Kilowatts’


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the first meeting of the Sustainable Energy for All Advisory Board, in Washington, D.C., on 19 April:

Welcome to this first meeting of the Advisory Board of the “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative.  I am delighted to be joined by my Co-Chair, the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Kim.

Energy is relevant to nearly every major challenge we face — from lifting people from poverty to reducing the risks of climate change; from powering businesses, schools and clinics to empowering women.  That is why the UN General Assembly recently declared the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, beginning in 2014.

Energy is also a prominent theme in discussions about the post-2015 development framework.  We need to ensure that the benefits of modern energy are available to all, and that energy is provided as cleanly and efficiently as possible.  To do that, Governments, business and civil society need to work together.  That is why all three are represented on this Board.

Governments set the priorities and create the policy framework, providing the lever that can generate private investments.  Business is an essential partner, critical to achieving tangible results.  And civil society has a key role in helping us to reach those most in need and providing appropriate services.

We have three objectives:  first, ensuring universal access to modern energy services by 2030; second, doubling efforts to improve energy efficiency; third, doubling the share of renewable energy in the overall global energy mix.  Achieving these goals can enhance social equity, help revitalize the global economy and mitigate climate change.

“Sustainable Energy for All” marks a new era in UN-World Bank relations.  Together, we have unparalleled convening power.  Our partnership is the cornerstone of “Sustainable Energy for All”, and I look forward to seeing it strengthen and produce results.

The initiative is maturing.  With the announcement of this Advisory Board, and with my Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All, Kandeh Yumkella, soon fully on board, we are moving into a new phase.  I would like to thank Chad Holliday for agreeing to chair the Executive Committee of Sustainable Energy for All, and for his leadership and personal commitment to this initiative from its inception.

Now, we need to mobilize action and turn commitments into kilowatts.  Already, we see exciting movement, from business leaders who are creating a road map for expanding electrification in Southern Africa, to our new Energy and Women’s Health effort.  Margaret Chan, the Director-General of WHO [World Health Organization] and one our new Board members, will tell us about this later today.  I am also pleased to welcome UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres today as an observer.  Providing sustainable energy for all is crucial for addressing climate change, a challenge which affects us all, but most of all the poor and most vulnerable.

I look forward to concrete, bold proposals from all of you today and in the months to come.  You are our global ambassadors.  Together, you have the opportunity to bring about transformative change.  I count on your active leadership, and I am grateful to you for accepting to be on this Board.

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