Meeting of the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals
United Nations - New York – 25-27 November 2013
European Union and its Member States - Speaking Points on “Energy"
Mr. Giovanni Mastrogiacomo
Directorate General for Development and Cooperation, European Commission
• The EU and its Member States support a coherent and integrated process leading to an agreement on a post-2015 development agenda. The global challenges we face in the area of energy are one example of how the three dimensions of sustainable development are in-terconnected.
• In this context, the EU fully supports UN SG Ban Ki-Moon and contributes actively to the "Sustainable Energy for All" initiative, on which we are ready to build. This initia-tive is also an important element to consider when Heads of State and Government meet in 2014 at the invitation of the UN SG to discuss the 2015 Global Climate Agreement.
• Access to energy, energy efficiency and an increasing share of renewables can help to re-alise huge gains for poverty eradication, economic growth and the environment.
1. Establishing access to modern, secure, affordable, clean and sustainable energy services is clearly one major challenge up until and beyond 2015 given that reliable and affordable energy has high potential for poverty eradication and inclusive green growth. The number of people with no access to electricity is 1.4 billion while around 2.6 billion people do not have access to clean cooking facilities.
2. At the same time, energy efficiency measures are indispensable for reducing energy consumption and decoupling energy intensity from further economic growth. Furthermore, energy efficiency has direct effects on energy security in a context of scarce energy resources. Globally, energy efficiency represents about 40 per cent of the greenhouse gas reduction potential that can be realised in a cost-efficient way.
3. In addition, the use of renewable energy reduces the dependency on fossil fuels, and thus contributes to reduce dependency from international energy demand and supply. It improves energy security, contributes to climate resilience and forms the basis of a future low-carbon economy. Additionally it also creates attractive opportunities for investment and business partnerships. Rewable energy has a strong potential for job-creation.
• Access to modern and sustainable energy services is important for improving living standards and brings along considerable multiplier effects in many dimensions of social development: For example, enhanced access to electricity, clean fuels, cleaner cooking systems and sustainable heating solutions can lead to healthier societies thanks to reduced air pollution. Modern sustainable energy services can also improve education, including in rural areas, by providing better energy services, such as lighting, heating, and cooling ser-vices. Access to modern household energy can also increase the participation of women and girls in educational, entrepreneurial and income-generating activities.
• At the same time, sustainable energy is one core driver for the promotion of inclusive and sustainable growth and the transition to an inclusive green economy including low emission development strategies. For example, modern carriers and end-use conversion devices also encourage investments in capital goods that use electricity, which, in turn, al-lows the establishment of advanced industries also in rural areas. Improving energy effi-ciency and access to sustainable energy promotes supporting economic growth and em-ployment, innovative technological solutions, including safe and sustainable low-carbon energy technologies, while contributing to limit climate change.
• The important linkages between the energy sector and other sectors (or cross cutting top-ics) such as e.g. poverty eradication, food security, water security, health, gender equality, human rights, etc. should be given appropriate consideration in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda
• Energy policy needs to take into account impacts on natural resources, including water, air, land, oceans, biodiversity deforestation, unsustainable use of biomass and the related climate change concerns. Consideration should also be given to competing demands for natural resources from other sectors. A post 2015 framework should provide guidance on how energy production can be made more sustainable so as to contribute to the protection and sustainable management of natural resources. The development of new energy sources needs to manage adequately associated risks on the environmental and human health to ensure its long term viability. Smart solutions should thus be found, including the more efficient use of biomass, to reduce as much as possible the trade-offs between energy generation, food production and conservation of nature.
• Good international energy governance is likewise key to sustainability, affordability and security of energy supplies, and to prevent political and economic instability related to energy.
• Still the world is still failing to put the global consumption and production of energy onto a sustainable path – there is a need for greater action if we want to build up sustainable energy systems that enable prosperity within planetary boundaries.
• The EU and its member states recognise the need for adequate funding for sustainable energy and poverty reduction and have recently made important steps to scale up efforts in this regard. However, so far, provision of energy services to the poor has been able to at-tract only marginal private investment and needs further efforts. Harmful fuel subsidies – aimed at making energy more accessible – promote unsustainable energy systems and are ineffective in supporting the poorest and can trigger higher greenhouse gas emissions.
• Also, innovative and flexible funding mechanisms are urgently required to use the lever-age effect of public resources and ODA and to attract more resources from the private sector, development banks and financial institutions.