Helen Clark: High-level event on Sustainable Energy for All

24 Sep 2012

Remarks by Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
High-level event on Sustainable Energy for All
New York, 24 September at 3pm

I am pleased to address this high-level event on Sustainable Energy for All - an initiative in which I have been pleased to participate in over the past year.

I welcome the President of the World Bank becoming a Co-Chair with the UN Secretary-General of the new Advisory Board for the initiative. UNDP looks forward to deepening its partnership with the World Bank on this agenda, including at the country level.

From the first meeting of the High-level Group here in New York a year ago, there has been remarkable progress.

The power of multi-stakeholder partnerships has been used to move the critical issue of energy to the top of the international agenda. In fewer than twelve months, more than fifty developing countries have made commitments under the initiative, and voluntary commitments in the area of energy made at Rio+20 were phenomenal.

Building on the momentum achieved, now is the time to consolidate the gains and move further ahead.

Our partners are ready. Small Island Developing States, for example, have pledged their commitment to providing universal access to energy, switching to renewable energy, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. For example, the Maldives have committed to achieve carbon neutrality in the energy sector by year 2020, and the Marshall Islands aim to electrify all urban households and 95 per cent of rural, outer atoll households by 2015.

I emphasise two points of importance to the continued success of Sustainable Energy for All:

First, the initiative must be fully grounded in efforts to accelerate progress on the MDGs by 2015, and be carefully considered in the context of a renewed global development agenda beyond 2015.

Energy is fundamental to MDG achievement. Sustainable and safe energy in the home and the community has many benefits for the lives of men, women and children – from health to education and economic empowerment.  Universal access to energy will drive inclusive development.

Second, both global and country-level co-ordination of diverse partners is critical for the success of Sustainable Energy for All.

It takes time, effort, commitment, and resources to bring partners together around shared development objectives. But when it works, the rewards will be substantial.

This next phase of Sustainable Energy for All must

  • leverage the mandates and capacities of all the actors involved at the global and country levels;
  • benefit from the well-established and accepted co-ordination mechanisms of the United Nations, including the Resident Co-ordinator system with its universal presence and convening power in developing countries;
  • ensure the engagement of both civil society and the private sector, and;
  • recognise and address the particular energy needs of women and girls.

UNDP is committed to the continued success of Sustainable Energy for All. We note that adequate and timely funding will be important elements of its success, and suggest that a UN-based multi-partner trust fund (MPTF) should be set up to support the UN development system’s work in support of the initiative.  

We look forward to working with all partners on the three goals of the initiative – thereby helping countries to chart a sustainable and inclusive path out of poverty to greater prosperity.

Leadership
Helen

Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme on 17 April 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization. She is also the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues.

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