United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

5th session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development
Remarks on Energy by Ambassador Masood Khan,
Permanent Representative of Pakistan on behalf of India and Sri
Lanka and Pakistan
I have the honour to deliver these remarks on behalf of India, Sri Lanka
and my own delegation, Pakistan.
We would like to express thanks to Director General IRENA, Mr. Adnan
Amin, and Dr. Vijay Modi for their contributions yesterday. We are also
grateful for the information note that the Technical Support Team (TST)
has presented to us on energy for kick- starting discussions.
Energy is at the heart of our efforts in crafting a ‘Future We Want’ given its
crucial links to economic and social development and, more importantly,
with environmental sustainability. Solutions to climate change will not
materialize unless we address the way we produce and consume energy.
In addition, we cannot hope to make an abiding difference to social
indicators if energy supply is not assured.
Much of the discussion on Energy so far has focused on the UN Secretary
General’s Initiative on Sustainable Energy for All and how it can or should
be translated into a Sustainable Development Goal.
What is the central challenge? And what role would Sustainable
Development Goal on Energy should play in stimulating international
cooperation in this field
First, the foremost challenge is one of promoting access to modern energy
services. Some 1.6 billion people live in South Asia today. It regrettably
has nearly 50% of the world’s poorest. It is in this region again where
nearly 50 percent of the population - or nearly 800 million people – lack
access to electricity. In addition, nearly one billion people - more than half
of the sub-region’s population, still rely on biomass for cooking and
A quick comparison with the global figures of 1.2 billion people who have
no access to energy - reveals that more than half of these people live in
South Asia. Similarly, data indicates that more than 2.8 billion people
globally rely on biomass for cooking, out of this nearly 40% of these people
live in my region.
From South Asian perspective improvement in energy access is, therefore,
the most pressing challenge and one, which want to place as one of the
priorities of the Sustainable Development Goals.
While the three goals proposed under SE4ALL could have relatively
different value for countries, it is clear that universal energy access will
have to take primacy. Developing countries reliance on traditional sources
would remain significant due to cost differential and inaccessibility to
advanced technology in a large-scale shift to renewable sources. A
universal goal on energy should present a differentiated approach where
the developed countries, with better resources and technologies, could
take the lead.
Second, another key element for the consideration is the per capita
consumption of energy. A targeted approach to reducing the imbalance in
the consumption of energy across countries will help us tackle climate
change and ensure that planetary boundaries are not breached.
The world average per capita energy consumption is 1.8 tons of oil
equivalent (toe). In comparison, the average consumption in OECD
countries is 4.28 tons, while the average consumption in Africa is a little
over half a ton.
In terms of the group of developing countries, I am speaking for, the per
capita energy consumption in India is 0.6 tons, Sri Lanka 0.5 tons and
Pakistan 0.48 tons, respectively.
Given that energy consumption is directly related to economic growth, its
consumption is equally related to consumption patterns and carbon
emissions. It is also clear that as developing countries grow and strive to
provide basic access to energy to their people, their per capita share of
energy consumption will certainly grow.
It would be useful to craft an approach based on per capita energy
consumption and promote convergence between the consumption levels of
developed and developing countries. By doing so, we would be
simultaneously addressing sustainable consumption and climate change
Third, the imperative of economic growth must not be overlooked. Again,
South Asia has nearly 50% of the world poorest. Faster economic growth
and social and economic justice are a predominant requirement and a
political imperative. Economic growth is linked inextricably to the
consumption of energy and, more importantly, cheap energy especially in
transport and industrial development.
We note the emphasis on decoupling energy consumption from use of
natural resources and establishing a level playing field between renewable
and traditional sources of energy.
A closer look at evidence and data reveals that today renewable energy is
almost 18% in total final energy consumption across the globe. This
definition includes traditional biomass - which accounts for nearly half of
the renewable energy - and the remainder is largely hydropower. Modern
forms of energy - wind, solar, geothermal, waste and marine - contribute
roughly 1% of the global energy consumption today.
Even if we seek to double the share of renewable energy from 18% to
36%, 64% of the world would still rely on traditional sources. To this end,
our work should not discount the use of improving energy efficiency and
technology for traditional sources.
Co Chair,
In conclusion, our efforts should first aim at providing universal access and
secondly, establishing targets that seek to achieve the overall objective of
promoting economic growth, development, industrialization, employment,
health and empowerment. None of the sustainable development goals
should be seen in isolation from the broader sustainable development
objective or the overarching imperative of economic growth.
I thank you Co-Chairs.