Dubai – I am pleased to greet all participants in the 2012 World Energy Forum. I thank His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, for hosting this important gathering.
Our current observance of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All reminds us of the centrality of energy to the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development. One in five people lack access to electricity and some 2.7 billion depend on wood or animal waste for cooking, at great cost to human and environmental health. Energy demand is rising worldwide, and climate change is a growing threat. Sustainable energy is the golden thread that links these challenges. It can support economic growth, social equity and a healthier environment.
Last year I launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative with three objectives to be attained by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix.
Actors from all sectors of society are involved. Tens of billions of dollars have been mobilized and some 60 developing countries are engaged. In June, during the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, more than 100 commitments were announced by the private sector, civil society, governments and multilateral institutions. As a result, to date more than one billion people stand to gain improved access to energy over the lifespan of the initiative through grid extension, off-grid solutions and scaled-up renewable energy sources.
In September, I announced the formation of a new Advisory Board to provide strategic guidance and build on the initiative’s momentum. Co-chaired by myself and Dr. Jim Young Kim, the President of the World Bank, the Board members will include a broad range of senior leaders from the private sector, governments and civil society. I have also asked Mr. Kandeh Yumkella, the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, to be my new Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and chief executive of the effort with full responsibility for overall planning and implementation.
Building on this solid start, the initiative seeks to generate increased collaboration between the public and private sectors, greater investment in sustainable energy, and more coherent policies and regulatory reforms. This Forum can play an important role in building and strengthening public-private partnerships, developing innovative energy technologies, and identifying promising business opportunities.
I look forward to your support in our efforts to end energy poverty, strengthen social equity, and build a cleaner, healthier environment. Together, we can achieve Sustainable Energy for All.
I wish this important Forum every success.