SPEECH: Secretary General opening the ACP Renewable Energy Workshop and ACP preparatiory sessions for COP17, 14 November 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour for me to address this very important workshop that will bind us together for the following three days. Today, the focus of the workshop will be on promoting partnerships and new green energy sources in ACP countries. Days 2 and 3 of the workshop have been reserved for preparing ourselves as ACP Group of States for the upcoming Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change. This Conference will take place in Durban in December and its outcome will be of particular interest to our ACP states.
On the topic of renewable energy, it must be acknowledged that until recently, energy has been one of the neglected issues in international development. We are now more than ever aware that sustainable energy systems are crucial to human livelihoods and for maintaining an ecological balance. In the developing countries, 1.6 billion people do not have access to electricity, 2.5 billion use traditional biomass for cooking while access to electricity remains very limited in rural areas despite the potential offered by the various sources of renewable energy.
We at the ACP believe that access to renewable energy and modern energy services is a prerequisite for economic growth, social development and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Moreover, the shift towards renewable energy sources at global level means a significant contribution to climate change mitigation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In an effort to find lasting solutions to the problem of access to energy sources, the ACP countries intend to give preference to renewable energy systems that offer energy solutions suited to their needs. We hope that developed countries and donor agencies will assist the ACP countries through transfer of appropriate technology and by continued research and development on clean energies. Obviously, reliable access to sustainable energy services not only improves local livelihoods, it is also a prerequisite to sustainable business development whereby new enterprises and therefore employment, particularly in rural and peri-urban areas, will be created.
Furthermore, the ACP Group of States attach overwhelming importance to energy efficiency in their strategies to improve the access of rural communities to modern energy, especially people without any energy services and who live in remote areas.
Development programmes in the energy sector continue to support the increased use of cooking, heating and refrigeration equipment, as well as efficient fuel by promoting sustainable energy consumption, sustainable management of forests and the strengthening of private sector capacity.
It is against this background that the ACP Group is supporting the UNIDO strategies in providing energy access for the poor, outlined in three political goals of achieving universal energy access, reducing energy intensity by 40%, and having a global energy mix of 30% renewable by 2030. These goals are achievable and should be adopted as a package, and I hope that they will be taken up by the 17th Conference of the Parties of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17), as well as the Rio+20 Conference.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is worthwhile to mention here that in 2010, our main development partner, the European Commission, released a ‘Green Paper’ outlining a new framework for development thinking and action. The Green Paper commits to targeting sustainable and inclusive growth as the cornerstone of the Commission’s development interventions. This would imply commitment to actions that address the multi-dimensional aspects of sustainable human development, from energy to food security health, conflict and Climate Change.
There is a strong emphasis on access to energy as a major focus for future development action. The overall aim is to ensure that every euro spent provides the best value added, the best leverage and the best legacy of opportunities for generations to come.
In line with this Green strategy, many initiatives have been undertaken, amongst others in the field of renewable energy sources. A wide range of technologies has been developed and pilot programmes to introduce and to install such innovative energy technologies have resulted in the definition of best practices and lessons learned. In that sense there is a general consensus and even a certain impatience to scale up the programmes related to energy services and to take wide scale action for supplying energy to all these millions of people that are still deprived from energy in their homesteads or in their workshops. Still, while putting emphasis on scaling up, research and development of refined and even better adapted technologies must also continue.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we will listen today to a very diversified range of speakers, going from entrepreneurs to researchers, investors and development practitioners. Through their presentations, they will give us a good picture of the present status in the sector of renewable and clean energy, of the technical and economic options at present available, and of the different factors that have to be taken into account when embarking on this long awaited scaling up movement. So many people are waiting to get access to energy services. Therefore, I would like to call upon all of you, to fully absorb the information that will be provided today, to expand your network of professional contacts, to contribute to the discussions, and above all to use these resources once you will be back in your respective working places to the benefit of the people in whose name we are organising this event.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Now some words on the upcoming climate change negotiations.
As ACP Secretariat, we think it is very important to bring you all together here to allow you exchange views and expectations in relation to the upcoming global climate change negotiations in Durban.
I trust that many of you attending this meeting will go to Durban later this month and participate in the various discussion groups and roundtables of the international negotiation process. We are aware that an impressive number of preparatory activities have been organized at national and regional levels and that, as an outcome of theses activities, regional position papers have been formulated. In this sense, we considered it very relevant and useful to offer you the opportunity here to brief one another on your respective negotiating positions, to discuss certain topics in more detail, and to try to harmonize these positions so that we, as ACP Group of States, can come out with a common ACP position at least on a number of issues that will be under discussion in Durban.
This meeting will also provide you the opportunity to familiarize with the position the European Union will adopt at the upcoming Conference of Parties. There will be room for discussing certain issues of interest with a representative from the Directorate General on Climate Action of the European Commission.
The exercise you are engaged in of harmonizing ACP position will focus on 4 key issues for which a decision must be taken in Durban. These key issues include:
- The post-2012 situation of the commitments that were entered into under the Kyoto Protocol
- The long-term common goal on global warming limits and on the peaking moment
- The amounts and modalities of climate finance, more specifically the design of the Green Climate Fund and the ramping up of climate finance
- And finally the operationalisation of the Technology Mechanism and the Adaptation Committee, two ideas that were launched and accepted last year at the Conference of Parties in Cancun
I would further like to refer here to the recently published UNDP report on human development, sustainability and equity. The report emphasizes the importance of environmental issues in sustainable development and fighting inequity. The ever worsening situation of environmental degradation, amongst many other factors caused by climate change, seriously hampers all efforts in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and hence in the achievement of a higher level of wellbeing for all people.
Regarding climate change, the report indicates that the key dimension of climate policy discussions should relate to the size, direction and source of financing. The World Bank recently outlined the difficulties in tracking such investments, including limited and inconsistent information in reporting systems, the ambiguous purpose of some flows, the confidential nature of some transactions and double counting. I hope, dear participants, you will bear this conclusion in mind and make a genuine contribution in Durban to rectify the situation.
With these words, ladies and gentlemen, I do wish you some interesting days ahead here in our House and I sincerely hope that some useful results will come out your deliberations.
I thank you very much.
H.E. Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas
African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States