United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Workers & Trade

For the trade unions, we had prepared to speak in yesterday?s session and would
have wished, on behalf of workers from around the world, a happy labour day to all.
The link of access to energy and poverty reduction is clear, as is the link of energy
production and consumption to climate change. These parallel dynamics make our
task here so difficult, but so urgent, both for poor people and for our planet.
Workers and unions are ready and able to partner with employers, with
governments and with communities to resolve these tensions.
The basis of our position is that decent employment is the only reliable way out of
poverty.
As well, the workplace is one of the most important action points of the issues dealt
with here, whether it be energy efficiency, pollution reduction or changes in
production and consumption. We suspect that this potential is not recognised here.
We support statements from Pakistan for the G-77 and China, of Germany for the
EU, and of South Africa and Venezuela on many of the policy recommendations they
raised, especially as regards the needs of developing countries.
We join them in calling on CSD 15 to recognise the key role of public
infrastructure, especially for ensuring that poor communities, whether urban or
rural, have access to modern energy services.
Chair, we must recognise that most wealthy nations strategically used public
ownership and management to build and extend energy infrastructure to all citizens.
Without this public infrastructure, rapid, systematic and equitable growth in these
countries would not have been possible.
So, why are now seeing these same countries impose privatisation of energy
infrastructure for developing countries? This contradiction must be dealt with
honestly, and not serve as a pretext to impose corporate priorities in the sector.
Poor communities don?t have the luxury to wait until they become profitable enough
for public-private partnerships. IFIs and donors should not use loan and grant
conditionalities to impose privatisation in the energy sector and should
support improvements in the public utilities, including with appropriate
financial tools.
Chair, workers and unions have submitted our policy recommendations to all country
delegates and to the bureau, and we urge their condiseration.
We call on CSD to include governance requirements into energy policies, such
that they are built on the basis of transparency, accountability and
participation, and reflect local needs.
We call for greater regulation of the new private equity investors which are
buying up public utilities and using high levels of debt financing to extract
massive private profits.
We urge countries to act on the employment potentials offered by new
technologies, renewables and conservation, and call for much more rigourous
analysis of the social impacts of the changes needed.
We wish CSD to encourage joint employer-union approaches on energy and
resource efficiency at the workplace through target setting, monitoring and
reporting. This should include using the more than 2 million collective
agreements as a mechanism for sustainability.
Chair, governments and the international community must recognise the huge
potential of workers and their unions as demonstrated through successful
programmes for example in Germany, Brazil and Spain.
We must all act on the human energy potential of workers, human energy which is
renewable, sustainable and fundamental to turning all of these fine words into action.