Director-General, Ministers, Excellencies and distinguished colleagues,
I am very pleased to attend this fourth Assembly of IRENA and thank you for the opportunity to address this distinguished forum.
Where there is no energy, there is no development. And sustainable development is not possible without sustainable energy. We face three major and interrelated challenges in our time: to eradicate poverty, to provide energy for all, and to fight global warming. Renewable energy is an indispensable tool to meet these challenges and Norway welcomes IRENA’s global leadership in this regard. We actively support IRENA’s role as a provider of information and knowledge that will enable countries and companies to steadily take new steps towards a sustainable world – economically, socially, environmentally and with respect to the climate.
We need to change the way we produce and use energy. We must decouple economic growth, energy use and emissions of greenhouse gases. And we need to increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Harmful subsidies of fossil fuels must be eliminated to create a level playing field. At the same time, we must recognize that the fossil fuels’ share will remain significant for the foreseeable future.
Sustainable energy for all is an ambitious, but achievable, goal. To achieve this global goal in a measurable way, Norway strongly supports the three global targets proposed by the Secretary-General’s initiative for Sustainable Energy for All, SE4ALL: universal access to modern energy services for all by 2030; to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030; and to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030. We welcome IRENA’s strong involvement through the Renewable Energy hub, and the personal involvement of the Director-General, in SE4ALL.
The transition to sustainable energy systems also presents a major opportunity - perhaps one of the greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century. Transformation of the energy market conditions, especially in developing countries, is needed to facilitate infusion of capital from the private sector and leveraging of scarce public funds through public-private partnerships. Without viable business models, no investment.
Creating enabling environments is critical. Governments must establish their own clear targets and strategies, and design and implement a set of national policies, regulations and financial environments that enable change which the market alone will not deliver.
Women’s rights and gender equality also have to be addressed if we are to achieve our goals. Countries will gain economically, socially and politically by empowering women. Integrating gender equality in national energy plans by ensuring that women benefit from, and contribute to, the energy sector, will improve overall development outcomes.
We are looking forward to working with IRENA to advance the agenda of renewable energy for a more sustainable world. It is my pleasure to announce today that Norway will make a voluntary contribution to IRENA of 2 million US dollars. We look forward to supporting selected activities under the Work Programme that is up for adoption at this Assembly, based on our continued dialogue with IRENA.