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

Sustainable Energy for All, High Level Ministerial Dialogue

NEW YORK, 6 June 2014

H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations during the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), High Level Ministerial Dialogue.

Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for organizing this important and timely dialogue on sustainable energy for all. 

Allow me to make a few remarks in a national capacity.

I would like to make three points on access to energy, post-2015 development agenda and partnerships.

All very important issues for the Netherlands.

Mr. Chairman,

[access to energy]

Access to energy is crucial for human development. 

Access to energy sources has been a major driver of development in industrialized countries and emerging economies. With global demand for energy to grow by one-third from 2011 to 2035.

At the same the access and availability of energy is highly inequitable across and within countries. 

Today more than 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity.

And 3.2 billion people still rely on wood or other solid fuels to prepare food and heat homes, with severe health consequences killing more than 4 million people a year, mostly women and children.

Mr. Chairman,

[post-2015 agenda]

Of course energy is linked 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 also intrinsically linked with many of the priorities of the development agenda, often referred to as the water-energy-food nexus. 

And very important for the four countries in our Kingdom, both in Europe and the Caribbean, is that sustainable energy helps to mitigate climate change.

Access to energy should figure prominently in the post-2015 development agenda and recognise the importance of energy access as a basic human need.

People need energy for clean cooking, and 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.

Energy access for women and children is of particular concern, as they are particularly impacted by a lack of modern energy.

Mr. Chairman,

[new partnerships]

Increasingly, we realize that the global energy sector is undergoing a fundamental transition. 

In recent years, the price of renewable energy technologies has decreased significantly. 

There are many opportunities to create a sustainable energy future, which incorporates clean technology, energy efficiency and renewables. 

Wasteful production, consumption and transportation of energy should be minimised. An important opportunity for improvement and cost effectiveness can be found in energy efficiency.

The private sector has a key role in building energy infrastructure. 

However, the private sector cannot do this alone. New and innovative partnerships between governments, companies and civil society are needed.

It’s important to achieve an international level playing field, to ensure that private and public parties invest in green growth wherever possible.

We need the right policy environment and address adverse incentives such as fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and delay investments in sustainable energy.

 [Netherlands/examples]

Also on the national level action is needed by all stakeholders. 

For example in the Netherlands, government, private sector and civil society have come together in a unique National Energy Agreement that sets the direction for the energy transition to 100% sustainability.

We support domestic innovative biogas programs of Dutch NGOs HIVOS and SNV, and the Energizing Development program with partners like Germany, Norway, UK, Australia and Switzerland.

Also Dutch companies invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean energy technologies (Philips solar lighting programs in partnership with national governments in Africa).

Mr. Chairman,

To conclude. Linking access to energy to sustainable development is vital in the post-2015 development agenda to make sure that no one is left behind. 

Our mission statement is “Kingdom of the Netherlands, your partner for peace, justice and development”. We want to be a partner in sharing expertise and experience in these areas to accelerate action to achieve sustainable energy for all.

Thank you for your attention.