United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

New Zealand

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FIFTH SESSION OF THE OPEN WORKING GROUP ON
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
New Zealand intervention on Energy
Ambassador Stephanie Lee,
Deputy Permanent Representative
27 November 2013
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Co-Chairs
New Zealand associates itself with the statement made by the Marshall Islands on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum.
New Zealand welcomes the focus this session on aspects of sustainable economic development. This was a gap in the Millennium Development Goals that should be addressed in the post-2015 development agenda generally and within the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in particular. New Zealand recognised this in our own Aid Programme some years ago, moving the focus to projects that would help deliver economic development and growth.
We thank the Technical Support Team for the paper and agree with many of the points made. New Zealand recognises the centrality of secure and reliable energy access to eradicating poverty and improving economic prosperity globally. Sustainable energy contributes to all three dimensions of sustainable development. Achieving universal energy access, greater energy efficiency and wider diffusion of renewable energy would have direct and significant benefits for economic growth, employment, health, security, education, and the environment and climate. This is particularly true, and a particular challenge, for least developed countries LDCs and small island developing states.
Achieving development without attendant dire environmental and climate effects is one of the most fundamental challenges of our era and energy is at the heart of this challenge. There is now a broad consensus that energy is a pre-requisite for development, but it is also possible and necessary to decouple development from fossil fuel use.
New Zealand therefore supports a dedicated sustainable development goal on sustainable energy in order to focus and catalyse global efforts in rising to this challenge. We see this as building on the targets identified in the Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative on access, efficiencies, and renewable energy, but also going further. In our view, reforming the half-trillion dollar fossil fuels subsidies is a necessary component of this goal, as proposed in the report of the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 development agenda.
Targeted reform of the most damaging of these subsidies has the potential to:
 increase the effectiveness of energy markets to deliver new energy technologies;
 improve incentives for energy efficiency;
 increase global energy security by decreasing demand for fossil fuels;
 relieve considerable strain on fiscal budgets; and
 improve climate change and environmental outcomes.
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We acknowledge that reform of these subsidies can be very challenging. We also recognise the importance of providing those in need with essential energy services. It is critical that reforms are planned carefully to ensure that the public is properly informed, and that vulnerable populations are protected.
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