Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Sustainable Development Goals Open Working Group, November 2013: Energy

Australia, The Netherlands and United Kingdom

Sustainable Development Goals Open Working Group, November 2013: Energy

•    Access to energy is crucial for human development. Energy also links to all three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental. Energy can help lift people out of poverty and efficient use of energy is a pre-condition for water and food security. Energy is intrinsically linked with many of the priorities of the development agenda, often referred to as the water-energy-food nexus. Sustainable energy can also help mitigate climate change.

•    Access to energy should figure prominently in the post-2015 development agenda. Many have proposed a goal to ‘Secure Sustainable Energy’. The challenges in this area are well covered by targets that have been suggested, for example:

o    Ensuring universal access to modern energy services;

o    Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix;

o    Doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency;

o    Phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.

•    The post-2015 development agenda should recognise the importance of energy access as a basic human need. People need energy for clean cooking, and for electricity for lighting and communications, to participate in the modern world. However, energy access for basic energy needs such as lighting and cooking is not sufficient. We must extend energy access to address the full needs of the energy poor. Productive and efficient use of energy is essential for sustainable economic development.

•    We need to recognise the links between energy and other crosscutting development issues. Schools, health facilities and other vital institutions cannot function without modern energy. Clean and sustainable energy, and especially clean cooking, can prevent major health damage to millions of people. Energy access for women and children is of particular concern, as they are particularly impacted by a lack of modern energy. Women also need to be involved in the design of energy projects.

•    The private sector has a key role in building energy infrastructure. However, the private sector cannot do this alone. There are important roles for governments and civil society, to ensure no one is left behind and poor and marginalized target groups are served. There is a need for private sector investments, public policy and programmes including to develop low carbon infrastructure, accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy. There is also a need for decentralized small scale initiatives by non-government organisations.

•    Wasteful production, consumption and transportation of energy should be avoided. An important opportunity for improvement and cost effectiveness can be found in energy efficiency. Investing in renewable energy and energy efficient technologies can reduce energy costs and increase access, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

•    Climate change continues to be a major challenge for all countries, particularly for climate vulnerable developing countries, posing a grave threat to some countries.

•    We need to make a shift to low carbon development paths to mitigate climate change. This challenge can only be met if we curb global greenhouse gas emissions, increase the share of renewable energy and phase out inefficient and harmful fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and undermine sustainable development.

•    Global energy demand is projected to grow to 2035. According to the International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook 2013, demand will grow by one-third from 2011 to 2035, with emerging economies projected to account for more than 90% of the net energy demand growth. In recent years, the price of renewable energy technologies has decreased significantly. We have the opportunity to create a sustainable energy future, which incorporates clean technology, energy efficiency and renewables, increasing energy security through diversification of energy supply, and thereby increasing opportunities for improved energy access.

•    To promote universal access to energy, we need good coordination mechanisms to ensure that all our efforts bring synergies and have maximum impact. In this respect, we welcome the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative, which has developed into a major platform, bringing together 70 developing countries, donors, the private sector and civil society.