The UN has declared 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. Using his platform as a keynote speaker at the World Future Energy Summit, the project’s global launch which kicked off yesterday in Abu Dhabi, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on governments, the private sector, and civil society to make significant commitments to action in support of UN’s drive to promote alternative energy.
“This is the right time for this Initiative,” said the Secretary-General. “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. Achieving sustainable energy for all is both feasible and necessary. My Initiative will help us meet these objectives simultaneously. It can be a triple win for all.”
Ban Ki-Monn has made sustainable development one his top priorities for his next term, which lasts five years. The energy issue is central to that. One fifth of the world’s population lacks access to modern electricity and two thirds rely on dirty, rudimentary energy such as wood, coal, and animal waste for cooking and heating. Meanwhile, the developed world wastes energy.
The UN wants to ensure universal access to modern energy services. It also wants energy to be more efficient and it wants to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. The Secretary-General has appointed a High-level Group of global leaders from business, finance, government and civil society to push the alternative energy agenda across governments and corporate boardrooms.
At the Abu Dhabi meeting, the Group met and produced a Framework for an Action Agenda, which proposes several actions at the national and international level, including action to expand energy access, promotion of efficiency standards and policies, and strengthening of investment in renewables.
The plan is to launch the Action Agenda, publicizing the commitments made by all stakeholders to the Initiative, towards the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.