19 January 2012, Sweetcrude, ABU DHABI – UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon has called for a scaling up of clean energy and energy-efficient technologies to help rid the world of “wildspread energy poverty”, which, according to him, “still condemns billions to darkness.”
Ki-moon, in his remarks to the opening of the World Future Energy Summit taking place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, expressed worry that lack of access to sustainable energy has equally condemned billions of people across the world to ill-health and missed opportunities for education and prosperity.
“That is why I say, energy poverty must end… We need to turn on the lights for all households,” he told the summit, which also serves as the global launch of 2012 as the International Year.
The UN scribe, who urged governments, the private sector and civil society to help expand energy access, improve efficiency and increase the use of renewables, stressed that “sustainable energy for all is within our reach.”
A UN release on the issue says one person in five still lacks access to modern electricity across the world, and twice that number – three billion people – rely on wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste for cooking and heating.
“We are here to build a new energy future… a future that harnesses the power of technology and innovation in the service of people and the planet,” Ki-moon also told the gathering.
Also addressing the opening of the summit, General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser stressed the urgent need to ensure the sustainable use of energy today than at any time in the past, given that more than a billion people continue to live without access to electricity.
“The provision of sufficient and low-cost energy is unquestionably an essential component of efforts to alleviate poverty, improve the well-being of mankind, raise living standards and achieve sustainable development,” he stated.
“While international efforts to meet the challenges of development at the global level are continuing, it is increasingly being acknowledged that the provision of sufficient energy is having an increased impact on food security, health, education, transport, communications, water and sanitation.
“Energy has, therefore, become an important constituent, if not an essential means, of achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” stated Mr. Al-Nasser.
He added that by declaring 2012 as the International Year of Energy for All, the Assembly established a key platform from which to raise awareness in the international community of the importance of addressing energy issues, finding ways to develop the renewable energy sector, and promoting efficient energy and water use and waste management.