UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is in Oslo, where he will attend the international climate and energy summit which opens on Monday, hosted by the Norwegian Government.
In his opening speech, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said:
- I am very pleased that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon, is with us here today.
- We share a deep sense of urgency. The Secretary-General’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative is an important response.
- To achieve the Millennium Development Goals, we need access to modern energy services.
- The UN family must take part in that effort. We need results. Norway will do its share, the Prime Minister said.
The aim of the conference is to provide clean energy to the poor in South Asia and Africa, and according to Development Minister Erik Solheim, the summit will be the most important Norwegian contribution in the international work for the protection of the climate.
Solheim explains the importance of the summit by pointing to the fact 60 per cent of all greenhouse gases are the result of energy production, while it is also a fact that increased use of energy is neccesary in the fight against poverty.
The theme for the conference is "Energy for all: Financing access for the poor"
In 2010, the IEA, jointly with UNDP and UNIDO, dedicated a chapter of the World Energy Outlook (WEO) to the energy poverty challenge that the world still faces today. About 1.4 billion people are without access to electricity, and current trends indicate that this will not change significantly by 2030. Furthermore, it is estimated that 2.5 billion people will still use traditional biomass for cooking in 2030, and that the related health effects will result in 1.5 million premature deaths per year, mostly among women and children.
Commenting on the prposed Norwegian National budget 2012, which was presented last week, Development Minister Solheim said:“Development in poor countries depends on people having access to electricity. This is crucial for development. School children need light to do their homework. Electricity is needed to store medicines. Lack of energy makes vulnerable groups more vulnerable. Energy is also a vital factor for attracting investment in the private sector.”
Altogether, 1.4 billion people do not have access to electricity. The Government will give priority to renewable energy in order to both address climate change and promote development. At the same time, the Government is intensifying efforts to conserve forests and provide those whose livelihoods depend on forests with other sources of income. Read more about this here. Priority will also be given to emergency relief and humanitarian assistance, and to human rights and health.
“The rights of women and children are important for us. Women must gain more control over their own lives. Many women still die in connection with childbirth. We cannot accept the fact that for many women, the day their child is born is the most dangerous day of their life,” said Mr Solheim.