Apia, Samoa

01 September 2014

Secretary-General remarks at High-Level Event on Sustainable Energy For All

Often we say that energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity and a healthier environment.

That is why the General Assembly declared the United Nations Decade for Sustainable Energy for All from this year to 2024. It is very rare that the General Assembly declares a decade. They recognize or designate a day, not even a week, but this is a ten-year period designation. That means such an importance is given by the General Assembly, and I thank General Assembly President John Ashe for his leadership.

That is also why I established the Sustainable Energy for All initiative to mobilize government, business, finance and civil society actors to transform the world’s energy systems.

By 2030, these three goals: we have to provide access to all the people in the world, energy access; then double energy efficiency; then double the use of renewable energy in the energy mix. Those are the three priorities that have been recognized by member states in the Open Working Group. They have identified 17 goals; energy stands high with these targets recognized.

These three goals have special relevance for small island nations.

With inflated energy costs due to remoteness, and particular vulnerability to climate change, Small Island Developing States understand the need for a new energy paradigm.

In 2012, your governments came together to sign the important Barbados Declaration on Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in Small Island Developing States.

You played an important role in establishing the United Nations Decade for Sustainable Energy for All.

The Majuro Declaration for climate leadership from the fourth Pacific Islands Forum sends a further powerful message.

This conference adds further momentum to a growing tide of initiatives and commitments which include the Pacific Regional Data Repository, the SIDS-Dock and country level efforts to introduce affordable clean and renewable energy solutions.

Today is a chance to take stock of where we stand so we can achieve sustainable energy for all by 2030.

The Post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals will be a key pillar towards this objective.

As I said, I welcome the recent proposal by the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development for a dedicated goal on sustainable energy for all, with its distinct focus on access, efficiency and renewables.

As currently formulated, these are fully consistent with the objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

I am committed, through the United Nations system and Sustainable Energy for All, under the leadership of my Special Representative, to continue to support these efforts.

As Member States continue their negotiations this year, I hope all of you will raise your voices, particularly SIDS countries, so that these goals will remain as dedicated goals.

I am committed as the UN system, also Sustainable Energy for All, to continue to support these efforts.

An important element of our success will be new public-private partnerships built from constructive dialogue on policy, investment and market development by governments, business and finance and civil society.

I was pleased to see the enthusiastic support for the recent Sustainable Energy for All Forum.

This global platform can align actions and processes towards our overall objectives.

As we move towards 2015, I urge you to be ambitious.

The inter-related efforts to shape a post-2015 development agenda and adopt a new global agreement on climate change present an unprecedented opportunity.

Sustainable energy for all is an important tool for eradicating extreme poverty, creating economic opportunity, combating climate change and supporting sustainable development.

But we need all stakeholders to act together across all relevant sectors.

Transforming the global economy is an imposing task.

But there are already practical solutions: feasible, affordable [and] that have a demonstrated track record of success.

Many others are just over the horizon.

We must accelerate this momentum so that sustainable energy for all becomes an irresistible tide.

I have invited leaders from government, business, finance and civil society to participate in the summit meeting on climate change on September 23rd.

I have asked them, the leaders, to come to signal strong support for a meaningful global climate agreement in 2015.

We need a clear vision, anchored in domestic actions, for keeping temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.

Achieving the three targets of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative is an important part of putting the world on this pathway.

The world needs to see what opportunities are doing to cut greenhouse gas emissions and provide sustainable energy sources.

By seeing what is possible, others can find inspiration and follow suit.

I count on all of you here today to lead by example and bring bold actions and ideas and strong political vision and political will to New York.

Let us work together to create a cleaner, safer more prosperous world for all.

Thank you.