In a call for investment in ‘green’ technology, the UN General Assembly convened an Interactive Thematic Dialogue of the on "Energy Efficiency, Energy Conservation and New and Renewable Sources of Energy" which took place on 18 June 2009 at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Energy efficiency, conservation and new and renewable sources of energy play a key role in economic and social development and the achievement of the MDGs, as well as in tackling the challenge of energy security and climate change. The development and deployment, as well as the transfer and scale-up of related technologies need to be fostered through international cooperation and partnerships.
In his introductory remarks, H.E. Mr. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly, mentioned that “The prospects for renewable energy have never looked better, even in the face of recession.”. H.E. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, noted that climate change is not only posing a serious global threat but is also generating a “world of opportunities”. “We stand at a crossroads. One direction leads to an abyss. The other direction leads to sustainable, more prosperous, more stable world. The choice should be clear”, he said.
The Dialogue proceeded with a first panel on ‘Energy Efficiency and New and Renewable Sources of Energy’. At present, renewables represent 5 percent of global power generation capacity but are experiencing rapid growth. Although renewable energies offer a prospect for low-cost sustainable energy supply, the first investment costs are often high. Therefore, the main obstacle facing renewable energy remains cost-competitiveness; stimulating private investment has required various forms of support mechanisms.
With moderator Mr. Timothy E. Wirth, President of the UN Foundation, panelists addressed key issues such as Energy efficiency; the ways to overcome the key barriers facing the wider deployment of renewable; and North-South Cooperation on Energy. Speakers included Mr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO); Prof. Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Global Energy Assessment; Mr. Joe Loper, Senior Vice President, Policy and Research, Alliance to Save Energy; Ms. Leena Srivastava, Executive Director TERI, India; and Prof. Sergio Garribba, Advisor on Policy for the Italian Ministry of Economic Development
The second panel, moderated by Mr. Vijay Vaitheeswaran from The Economist and titled ‘Meeting the Challenge: Investment and Policies’, dealt with political and economic issues, with panelists speaking on measures and incentives for sustained investments, presenting some concrete success stories. With the present financial crisis posing significant new challenges and opportunities for renewable energy - especially their transfer to developing countries - a possible policy response suggested significant increase in public investment, at national and international level, in large-scale renewables and energy efficiency development. To move forward, both public and private sector investments will be required in infrastructure, technology development and production of renewable energy, and greater energy efficiency.
Speakers on the panel included Mr. Steen Gade, MP Denmark / Interparliamentary Union; Mr. Santiago Seage Chairman and CEO of Abengoa Solar, Spain; M. Said Mouline, Directeur Général du Centre Marocain des Energies; Ms. Hélėne Pelosse, Ministry of Energy, France; H.E. Ms. Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl, Ambassador and Director General for Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria; and Mr. Tariq Banuri, Director, Division for Sustainable Development/ CSD, Secretariat UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
To read the Secretary-General remarks at the opening, please see: http://www.un.org/press/en/2009/sgsm12324.doc.htm
To read the President of the General Assembly’s remarks to the opening, please see: http://www.un.org/ga/president/63/statements/toenergyefficiency180609.shtml
To consult the program, concept notes or live Webcast, please see: http://www.un.org/ga/president/63/interactive/energyefficiency.shtml
Related article: http://www.un.org/press/en//2009/090618_Energy.doc.htm