BRUSSELS, April 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the European Commission's Energizing Development Initiative to assist developing countries in providing access to sustainable energy for their populations. The initiative will seek to provide energy services to 500 million people by 2030.
"I welcome the commitment by the European Commission in support of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. Its strong leadership in making energy central to its development policies, and for advancing the issue of energy access, helps place energy at the forefront of the global development agenda," said the Secretary-General during his keynote address to the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit today in Brussels.
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, announced during today's summit that the Energizing Development Initiative will also create a world-leading Technical Assistance Facility worth 50 million euros, drawing upon EU experts to develop technical expertise in developing countries.
The initiative will also focus on refining, expanding and improving energy-related innovative financial instruments and risk guarantee schemes in developing countries in order to unlock greater private investment. Lastly, in the lead up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio in June, the EU and Member States will look to mobilize an additional several hundred million euros to support concrete new investments in sustainable energy in developing countries, with the goal of leveraging even greater flows of additional investment from the private sector.
"The link between energy and development is fundamental. Without energy access, we simply will not meet the Millennium Development Goals," said President Barroso. "That's why we've organised today's summit - we are committed to the aim of providing universal access to sustainable energy for all by 2030. By bringing together our partners, the private sector and civil society, we will work shoulder to shoulder to make this aim a reality. With today's strong pledge that we will assist developing countries in providing energy access for 500 million people by 2030, we are demonstrating our own commitment and hope that others will join us in making sure that by 2030, energy access is no longer a privilege but the right of all."
"This is a powerful political commitment. It takes us nearly half way toward achieving the objective I have set of universal energy access by 2030," said the Secretary-General. "This objective is critically important if we are to catalyze economic growth, end energy poverty, expand social equity and protect our environment."
The Sustainable Energy for All initiative is catalyzing global action in support of three, interlinked and complimentary objectives, all to be achieved by 2030:  ensure universal access to modern energy services,  double the global rate of improvement of energy efficiency, and  double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Led by the Secretary-General, the initiative is a global partnership between governments, the private sector and civil society. It is designed to take actions to scale, foster innovative new public-private partnerships and unleash the potential of all stakeholders in order to achieve sustainable energy for all by 2030.
The International Energy Agency estimates that 1.3 billion people - one in five globally - lack electricity to light their homes or conduct business. Twice that number - nearly 40% of the world's population - rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste to cook food, resulting in toxic smoke that causes lung disease and death.
The European Commission's early commitment embodies the growing momentum behind the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. In recent months, private sector companies and civil society groups have also begun to make specific commitments to action in support of achieving the goal of Sustainable Energy for All.
For more information, visit http://www.sustainableenergyforall.org