Rebeca Grynspan: Remarks to UNIDO's Industrial Development Board

22 Jun 2011

Remarks by Rebeca Grynspan, UNDP Associate Administrator and UN Under-Secretary General to UNIDO´s Industrial Development Board

Mr. President,
Excellencies,     
Distinguished delegates,
Colleagues and friends,

It is a pleasure to join you at this important board meeting.

First of all, I would like to thank Mr Kandeh Yumkella for inviting me here.  It is also a sign of how much we have walked towards a more coherent and integrated UN; indeed, we are also expecting the Director-General to address all the Resident Representatives of UNDP and Resident Coordinators of the UN system in our Global Management Meeting next week in Tarrytown, NY, which is another unique opportunity to advance on this partnership.

On UN system coherence, undoubtedly, there is still a long way to go:

  1. Efforts need to be strengthened to integrate much more and in a more systematic way  the specialized agencies, in the country teams and in the services offered to countries;
  2. We need to improve the quality of the UN Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAF) making it more strategic and more responsive to the  needs of the countries, and part of  a UN that delivers as one, that is more effective, quicker and driven by results and that fully reflects in practice what we mean by “countries ownership”. 
  3. We need to build on the good experiences and lessons learnt of the One-UN pilot countries that have made it happen and the numerous Governments that are asking to be self starters for having a UN that delivers as one at the country level.
  4. Let me assure again that UNDP, as the anchor of the UN coordination system, and as the chair of the UN Development Group, is totally committed to it and is doing all it can to support this effort, something that has been openly recognized by our sister agencies.  This move entails a cultural change from one driven only by competition, to one that is able to recognize and seek the win win opportunities and collaborative solutions to respond to the huge challenges our world faces.  
  5. In a tight resource environment as the one we are leaving in, the world is asking for more partnerships, for more strategic interventions, for more transparency and accountability and for more results and impact.     

It is in this context that I want to recognize Kandeh’s  leadership and stewardship of UN Energy on behalf of all the United Nations agencies involved in the UN Energy group. His enthusiasm and commitment to universal energy access are truly commendable and already transforming the ways we at the UN system approach and work together on energy issues. Through all this work he has also been able to put universal energy access on the international agenda.  The international Year for sustainable energy for all, the SG’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change that launched the report last year on “Energy for a sustainable future” chaired by the Director General, etc. are examples of these achievements.

In UNDP, with our presence in 176 countries and territories, we look forward to working with UNIDO and other UN sister agencies to assist countries in achieving universal energy access and sustainable energy transitions. An example of this is the UN Energy access Facility launched as a joint initiative by UNEP, UNIDO and UNDP to expand energy access for the poor and as an integral part of the Millennium Development Goals Breakthrough Strategy so the MDG acceleration strategies include national universal energy access “action plans”. So despite the absence of an MDG dedicated to energy, we can –and we need to- have energy integrated into the MDG achievement strategies.
 Another example is the collaboration between UNDP and UN Foundation under Kandeh’s coordination to develop a Global campaign on “sustainable energy for all” under the SGs leadership.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Providing access to energy is essential for achieving sustainable human development and accelerating progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  Achieving universal energy access transforms poor people’s lives by helping keep children in school, making health services available, and freeing women from the burden of time-consuming and backbreaking domestic chores. At the same time, expanding clean energy solutions is critical to address climate change challenges and will be, I have no doubt, one of the central elements to define the different growth patterns, technological and productive structures of countries . This will be part of the discussions we are having in the side events with the Circulo de Montevideo, where in partnership with UNIDO we will debate Latin America’s prospects and developments and the challenges for economic diversification and growth. Where are the new job opportunities coming from? How do we meet the expectations of the young for a better future?

That is why the UN system is advocating for three global energy goals by 2030.  Since yesterday, some 1,000 people have gathered at the Vienna Energy Forum to discuss how to create momentum for universal energy access. Their messages are overwhelmingly clear.  : universal energy access, the 40% energy intensity reduction and the 30 % renewable energy in global energy mix.  Pursued together, they can truly make energy as a means for sustainable development: economically, socially and environmentally.
I do share the view expressed these days, that is the package what makes the proposal powerful. 

We don’t need only green growth and clean energy; we also need inclusive growth and universal access.  But at the same time, we know that the most affected by climate change, climatic shocks and the volatility associated with it, are the poor countries and the poor and vulnerable people. We know that the effects of natural disasters put already vulnerable countries on a lower path of growth and in a cycle of higher vulnerability and poverty.  The lack of resources to adapt and build back better together with the disruption of livelihoods is at the heart of this result.

So we need to do both, address the issue of income poverty and energy poverty that drives the intergenerational transmission of poverty and inequality. And enact collective action to face the challenges and threats of climate change.

In the 21st century, we cannot accept a situation where 1.4 billion people have no access to electricity and 3 billion do not have access to quality energy for cooking and heating.  The supply and consumption of energy is highly disproportionate causing massive inequality between the rich and the poor, developed and developing countries, urban and rural areas, and between men and women and girls.

The access to energy expands the opportunities of the most vulnerable in a dramatic way. Because as I said, the energy poor are also income poor, and energy access is also linked to income-generation activities to help poor people develop their livelihoods, which in turn, makes energy service delivery more economically sustainable.  Using micro-finance to jointly support expansion of energy access and income generation activities  is a growing  practice that is achieving both goals in many countries.  
UNDP projects in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Senegal  called multifunctional platforms, have given poor women farmers access to energy through biofuels,  reducing the time they spend on collecting firewood or loading and unloading water. Their productivity increase as well as their incomes and their children school attendance,  malnutrition and child mortality dropped.

Universal access to modern energy services is achievable by 2030.  Proven and innovative solutions exist.  Achieving universal energy access requires less than 3% of the total global energy investments according to the International Energy Agency. 

But is not only resources we need, we also need political leadership and commitments, both globally and nationally, by setting clear national targets for universal energy access and align national actions to them; and by driving the commitment of the international community to support the Governments' efforts.

We need smart policies and capable institutions to atract and manage investments, to create fiscal and regulatory conditions that remove barriers, reduce risks and increase predictability; to build technical expertise and mobilize private investment and private-public partnerships; to nurture a network of state/non-state institutions capable of delivering energy services, to put in the table ALL the technological options available, for countries to choose the right mix for their own context and to strenghten transparency and accountability.

And we need Scaling-up field-proven and innovative business-led models that can be replicated.  Because we need to get to milions and millions of people that are waiting for a solution. 

It is time for the global community to make a difference. The international community  should seize the opportunity created by the 2012 international year for sustainable energy for all, the UNFCCC process, and    RIO + 20 to renew commitments to scale up actions and to expand energy access for all.  

We must ensure that the universal energy access agenda is fully reflected in  the post 2015 MDG Framework. We all need to engage with partners in discussions on the new development framework that we will need after 2015. The issue of sustainable energy access to all will be an important component of these discussions.

We must also link the need for universal energy access with the climate change agenda, which is of crucial importance.  For example, by some estimates, about 90% of the clean energy investments presently go to G-20 countries, and only 10% go to others, a situation that poses a significant risk that only a few emerging economies will fully benefit from these positive developments. What can we do to make sure that investments for energy access are spread more evenly around the world, reaching the most vulnerable people?

UNDP, adding its own resources, donors resources and very importantly the GEF resources, has assisted countries in investing more than US$2.5 billion over the last decade in projects that have brought sustainable energy access to 10 million poor around the world. For example, in Nepal, together with the WB, more than 267 poor, remote hill communities are benefiting 250,000 people with plans to upscale to 1 million from an off-grid network of micro-hydropower systems. We saw the very important work that UNIDO is carrying in Rwanda in this same fashion.

Ladies and gentlemen, what we need is global political commitment to move to scale. We now see a huge opportunity to make a difference.  As the host of the UN Resident Coordinator system on the ground, we look forward to working with UNIDO and all other partners to make universal energy access a reality and with it, human development equitable and sustainable.

Thank you.