14 September 2015

Achieving Affordable, Sustainable Energy for All Essential to Meeting Development Goals, Secretary-General Says at Award Ceremony

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the award ceremony for the UN Energy Grant, in New York today:

I am pleased to join you at this award ceremony for the UN Energy Grant — Powering the Future We Want.  This Grant recognizes leadership and innovative practices in sustainable energy.  I commend the Department of Economic and Social Affairs on this initiative, and I thank the China Energy Fund Committee for its support.

Energy is a key priority for the United Nations.  It connects economic growth, social equity, a stable climate and a healthy environment.  Energy underpins our efforts to achieve development objectives — from reducing extreme poverty to enhancing food security, from powering essential health services to providing electricity for education.

I know what it is like to not have access to modern energy.  When I was growing up in Korea, I studied by candlelight or kerosene lamp.

Today, one person in five still lacks access to electricity.  More than a third of humanity relies on wood, charcoal, animal and crop waste for cooking and heating.  Some 4 million people die each year from the effects of indoor air pollution.

We need to make modern energy services available to all.  But we must do so sustainably, so we can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change.

We need a transformation in how we produce, use and share energy.  That is why I launched Sustainable Energy for All in [2011].

We have three objectives in Sustainable Energy for All:  by 2030 we are going to provide universal access to all the people in this world, and by that we will have to redouble our energy efficiency and redouble the renewable energy source in the global energy mix.  These are three ambitious targets, but I think it is doable if we work together.

These objectives have now been incorporated into the 2030 Agenda, as targets of sustainable development goal (SDG) 7 — a stand-alone goal — which calls for access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Sustainable Energy for All offers a strong global framework for implementing this global goal.

Recently I have appointed Ms. Rachel Kyte, who is Vice President of the World Bank, in charge of Climate Change, as my new Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All to grow this [movement] further by drawing on capacities within and outside of the UN system.

Achieving sustainable development goal SDG7 will be essential to meeting the other sustainable development goals.

To achieve sustainable energy for all, we will need action from all — Governments, businesses, scientific and technological communities, and civil society groups.  And that is why this morning’s event is so important.

Beyond announcing the award of the Grant, we are celebrating the work of all the featured applicants.  We are honouring initiatives to provide low-cost, reliable solutions to bridge the energy access gap, including by providing access to financial and technical assistance.  We are recognizing innovations in training and capacity-building and in meeting the needs of low income, self-employed women.  We are showcasing programmes that use solar energy to improve access to health services, clean drinking water, education, clean cooking and food production.

You all deserve our thanks and commendation.  This ceremony marks the start of an exciting new journey.  I urge you all to remain engaged, exchange your experience and the lessons you have learned.  I encourage you all to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Together, we can create a cleaner, safer, more prosperous world for all.

For information media. Not an official record.