United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

France, Germany and Switzerland

Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals,
5th session, 25-27 November 2013,
New York
Constituency: France, Germany, Switzerland
Common statement on Energy in the Post-2015 Agenda
Delivered by Ambassador Michael Gerber (Switzerland)
Honorable Chair(s),
Dear colleagues,
I am speaking on behalf of the constituency shared by France, Germany and Switzerland.
First of all, we would like to thank the Technical Support Team for the Issue Brief, which provides a useful summary of the key issues that must be taken into account from this key topic. Energy was missing from the MDGs and yet the figures are telling of the importance of the issue: Today, 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity and 2.7 billion people still use traditional biomass for everyday tasks such as cooking, especially women.
It is clear that global sustainable development, including combating poverty and climate change, is impossible without improved access to sustainable and financially affordable energy for all. In addition, fostering renewable energies, low carbon energy technologies and energy efficiency contribute to reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and also offer new economic opportunities.
In order to ensure a sustainable energy supply, major transformations of current energy systems are needed, for example through policy and regulatory reforms, strengthened institutional capacities and financing. Moreover, these transformations require a decoupling of socio-economic development from escalating use of natural resources, fossil-fuel dependency and the subsequent environmental degradation. In this regard, reliable and robust legal frameworks and the provision of effective incentives are crucial. Furthermore, cost recovery schemes for energy services need to be designed to contribute to the sustainability of service provision and maintenance, without the cost-recovery objectives becoming a barrier to access to sustainable energy for economically disadvantaged people.
The question which needs to be answered in the ongoing consultation process is therefore not whether we should prominently integrate energy but how to do it.
Smart solutions must be found, including the more efficient use of biomass, to reduce as much as possible the trade-offs between energy generation, including bioenergy, food production and conservation of nature. The important linkages between the energy sector and other sectors (or cross-cutting topics) such as poverty alleviation, food security, water, health, gender issues, equity, education,
sustainable consumption and production should be recognized in a post-2015 architecture.
The Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative already provides a substantial and widely accepted approach which can be built upon. The three objectives put forward by the initiative offer a coherent global and concise framework to be achieved by 2030.
1) ensuring universal access to modern energy services;
2) doubling the global rate of improvement of energy efficiency;
3) doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix;
Building on the Secretary General’s proposal, we would suggest that, in addition to the three objectives proposed, a fourth dimension is also included:
4) supporting national enabling environments, including energy policy frameworks, for universal access to sustainable energy
The addition of this fourth objective, not explicitly part of the Secretary General’s proposal, underlines the crucial role of Member States in implementing these objectives. In order to define and strengthen coherent national energy policies, we encourage cooperation among multiple stakeholders, with broad and decentralized participation of the targeted population in particular.
On a final note, we consider that the Global Tracking Framework to monitor the achievements towards the three objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative represents a good tool for tracking and monitoring. In addition, we would
like to mention that the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) should also play a key role in promoting and achieving these goals.
We hope that this proposal will prove helpful and look forward to further fruitful discussions on this subject.
Thank you.