UN Secretary-General names members of high-level group on sustainable energy for all

01 Nov 2011

Group will mobilize action by a range of stakeholders to move the world towards sustainable energy for all

New York – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the members of his High-level Group for the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.

The High-level Group includes distinguished global leaders in business, finance, governments, and civil society. The Group is co-chaired by Kandeh Yumkella, the Chair of UN Energy and Director General of the UN Industrial Development Organisation, and Charles Holliday, Chairman of Bank of America.  

“From job creation to economic development, from security concerns to health and the status of women, energy lies at the heart of all countries’ core interests,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in announcing the High Level Group.  

The members of the High-level Group will develop an Action Agenda that will mobilize action by all stakeholders in support of energy access, energy efficiency and increasing the share of renewable energy.  A range of commitments and partnerships will be announced at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012.  

By mobilizing action from a broad range of stakeholders, the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative will also advance the UN General Assembly’s designation of 2012 as “The International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.”  

The Secretary-General also released today his vision statement on energy in a briefing to Member States. The President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, joined the Secretary-General at the briefing.

Speaking about the mandate for the Group, co-Chair Kandeh Yumkella noted that, “Many of the world’s most pressing challenges cannot be addressed when 20 percent of humanity has no access to electricity, and nearly 40 percent rely on charcoal or wood for cooking or heating.”  According to Mr. Yumkella, “Our goal is to help change people’s lives so they have the access to energy they need to build more productive, healthier lives.”

In a statement delivered to Member States on her behalf, Helen Clark, head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) welcomed the initiative.

“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,” said Helen Clark. “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.”

UNDP has assisted countries around the world in investing more than US$2.5 billion over the last decade in projects that have brought sustainable energy to 10 million people living in poverty.

“Private sector investment, innovation, and the entrepreneurial spirit have a significant role to play in this Initiative,” noted co-Chair of the High-level Group for the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative Charles Holliday.