At Abu Dhabi energy summit, Ban-ki Moon outlines plan for International Year of Sustainable Energy for All
In his keynote keynote address at the opening ceremony of the fifth annual World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Nations Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon announced the plan for his initiative that aims to bring clean energy to all parts of the world, and in particular, to developing societies in need of any energy at all.
"It is not acceptable that three billion people have to rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating," Secretary-General Ban said, citing a statistic that 1 in 5 people do not have access to energy required for basic human needs.
In December 2010, the UN General Assembly declared 2012 the International year of Sustainable Energy for All, officially recognizing that access to modern affordable energy services in developing countries is essential for sustainable development and achievement of the internationally agreed upon development goals including the Millennium Development Goals.
“Across the world we see momentum building for concrete action that reduces energy poverty, catalyzes sustainable economic growth, and mitigates the risks of climate change," Ban told the packed hall at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center. "Achieving sustainable energy for all is both feasible and necessary."
The plan has three targets: universal access to modern energy services; doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the percentage of renewable energy capacity currently in the global mix.
Co-chair of the Secretary General's High-Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All, Kandeh Yumkella, emphasized that this initiative will emphasize business models to drive investment.
"We need business models, not charity," co-chair Yumkella said. "We want real leverage, real cash and real change."
Regional rollouts of The International Year of Sustainable Energy for All will begin in New Delhi, India and will continue, region by region, through mid-April. Those meetings will produce a report for the UN General Assembly in September and ultimately create the underpinnings for an action agenda to come out of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in December.
Disclosure: Tim Hurst's travel expenses for the 2012 WFES were covered by summit host, Masdar.
Photo: UN Photo/Evan Schneider