Helen Clark: Sustainable Energy for All: Statement at General Assembly Briefing by the UN Secretary General

Nov 1, 2011

Delivered on behalf of Helen Clark by Olav Kjorven, Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to start by recognizing the impressive leadership of the General Assembly in designating the year 2012 as the year of Sustainable Energy for All.

I also want to congratulate the UN Secretary General for launching the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative and inaugurating the High-Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All.

Together, these steps put universal energy access firmly on the global political and development agendas.

As a member of the High Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All, I would like to assure the General Assembly of UNDP’s full commitment to supporting these efforts as well as aligned initiatives of Member States.

We are all here today because we recognize that access to energy is proven to drive progress across the Millennium Development Goals and because we know it will help the world to lay down equitable and sustainable foundations for human development beyond 2015.

We have a myriad of experience to build on to take this forward. In Nepal, Cambodia, and rural areas of India and Afghanistan, for example, governments have advanced efforts to provide access to affordable, alternative energy to poor people in remote areas through various forms of decentralized energy development programmes.

In West Africa, the introduction of an easy-to-run engine called the Multifunctional Platform with tools attached to grind grain or pump water has helped women shorten the hours spent on laborious chores, freeing up their time to generate income and that of their children, especially girls, to go to school.

In the Philippines, the government is strengthening its capacity to remove barriers to developing renewable energy –  be they technical, policy or financial barriers -  so that the country can provide energy access to its people and move towards a greener future.

These are among the country and regional-level programmes UNDP has supported you on over the past two decades and I greatly welcome the opportunity to take such support to the next level.

As co-chairs of UN-energy and a major UN agency delivering energy services at the country level, UNDP also commits to mobilizing our convening role working with the United Nations Country Teams at the national level, to support development partners across ministries, sectors and society in coming together to tackle the “energy poverty” challenge.

We will do this while working with other partners of the Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative in the implementation of the Action Agenda.

I am pleased to say that we have started by establishing an online ‘home’ for the UN Secretary General High Level Group’s work and interactions in Teamworks – a platform for communication and exchanging information hosted by UNDP. It will allow all involved to work together more efficiently. We have also initiated country-level activities for the 2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.

Preparations for the RIO+ 20 conference remind us how important it is to shift to more resilient, equitable and sustainable patterns of growth and development. Ensuring access to sustainable energy for all is a fundamental part of the equation.

Thank you.

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