Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

17 January 2016

Secretary-General's remarks at International Renewable Energy Agency Debate

It is a great honour and a pleasure to return to IRENA, and to see so many old friends and colleagues.

IRENA’s time has come. We are living in the age of renewable energy.

I thank you and congratulate you for the vision, dedication and hard work that have helped to bring the world to this point.

Since I was last here in 2012, what enormous changes we have seen.

Everyone involved in energy—governments, the private sector, investors and financial institutions, cities, and people everywhere–has understood that we can no longer burn our way to global prosperity.

Everywhere I travel, I see solar panels and wind turbines springing up.

We all know that renewable energy is limitless and will last forever. It offers us great security and peace of mind. Costs have come down so quickly that it is now often the cheapest option. And the more renewable energy facilities we build, the cheaper they will become.

Distinguished panellists, ministers, ladies and gentlemen,

Last year, we saw landmark agreements on the Sustainable Development Goals and on Climate Change.

Renewable energy is central to both.

It will help provide solutions to the climate challenge, and to poverty, food security and many other challenges.

Clean, renewable energy will act as a catalyst and a force-multiplier for the SDGs.  If we achieve it well before 2030, it will vastly improve our chances of achieving the other SDGs.

So I urge you to maintain the momentum and redouble your efforts on all your initiatives. Access to clean energy is essential if we are to leave no one behind in the move to zero carbon emissions.

Events like this are vital to spread the word and spur other companies and institutions to examine their energy consumption and take part in the transition.

One of the highlights in Paris was the wave of announcements from the private sector, investors and financial institutions, cities and governments on their commitments to renewables.

We must continue to encourage this transition as we celebrate the success of Paris and move on to implementing the agreement reached there.

In 2011, I launched Sustainable Energy for All, as a global platform for all partners to come together across issues of energy access, renewables and energy efficiency. Since then, thousands of actors from all sectors and regions of the world have stepped up to the challenge. I recently appointed Ms. Rachel Kyte, who is here with me tonight, as my new Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All.

I encourage you all to work with Rachel and Sustainable Energy For All in your efforts to achieve SDG7.

In large part due to your success, I am optimistic.

With our goals clear and with the Paris Agreement in place, the path ahead is clear. Now we must follow it, without delay.

Thank you.