UN launches bid to achieve sustainable energy for all

Sep 20, 2011

The Bozorboi Burunov plant in Tajikistan provides electricity to 22,158 people who depend on it for residential lighting and pumping water. (Photo:UNDP)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for an energy revolution to help end poverty, transform the global economy and put the world on a cleaner, greener path for health, education, employment and economic competition.

"For the developing world, energy poverty is devastating,” said the Secretary-General during a private sector forum held in New York on the sidelines of the opening week of the UN General Assembly’s 66th session.

He used the meeting to introduce the UN Sustainable Energy for All initiative aimed at achieving universal energy access to modern energy services by 2030, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

Helen Clark, UN Development Programme Administrator, who formally joined the High Level Action Group that will be advising the UN Secretary General about the initiative, also participated in the meeting organized by the UN Global Compact alongside Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization, Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California, and other leaders of governments, corporations and civil society organizations.

UNDP is tasked to support national level engagement to achieve the objectives of this new initiative.  Over the last decade UNDP has supported the implementation of sustainable energy projects worth more than US$2.5 billion in developing countries providing energy access to 10 million people living in poverty.

In Tajikistan, for example, UNDP helped to build a hydropower plant which provides a regular supply of clean energy to a rural community 30 kilometres south of the country’s capital, Dushanbe.

The Bozorboi Burunov plant provides electricity to 22,158 people who depend on it for residential lighting and pumping water. In addition, the plant heats schools and hospitals in winter and runs regular supplies of electricity to small local businesses.

In Nepal, more than 100,000 benefited from an off-grid network of micro-hydropower systems set up with UNDP and the World Bank support.

In another programme in rural Nepal, communities are equipped with solar electricity systems that provide light in the evening so that the villagers can produce handcrafted goods which are sold over the Internet.

The year 2012 has been designated International Year of Sustainable Energy for All by the UN General Assembly. In June 2012, the UN and Brazil will host the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainability.

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