Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL)
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 New York, 21 May 2015
Thank you for organizing this important and timely dialogue on sustainable energy for all.
Let me first explain that the Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of four countries. One in Europe – the Netherlands, and Three in the Caribbean: Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
Energy policies are an autonomous responsibility of each of these countries. I would like to make three points on access to energy, post-2015 development agenda and partnerships.
All very important issues for the Kingdom of the Netherlands; both in the European and Caribbean part.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands has the ambition to be your partner for peace, justice and development, and sustainable energy is connected to all three.
Therefore, today a ministerial Conference on the International Energy Charter is taking place in the Hague. The main theme of
this conference is the enormous investment needed in the global energy sector to meet the world’s demand for sustainable energy for all, now and in the future.
[1. Access to energy and sustainable development]
Access to energy is a crucial driver for human and economic 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.
As we learnt earlier this week from the 2nd edition of the Global Tracking Framework our progress of what is required to achieve the SE4All objectives falls short.
We have to redouble our efforts to ensure universal access to modern energy services. We have to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency. Also we have to double the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix by 2030
Today more than 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity.
And more than 3.2 billion people still rely on wood or other solid fuels to prepare food and heat homes. This has severe health consequences and it kills more than 4 million people a year, mostly women and children.
In the small island states in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom we face vulnerability to external shocks such as climate change, energy dependency as well as recession in the global economy.
Therefore we have to make our energy mix more stable.
One example is Aruba, where the succesful “Green Gateway Aruba”-initiative was launched in 2009, in order to run Aruba solely on sustainable energy by 2020. An ambition we share for example with other countries like Samoa and Nauru.
[2. Post-2015 agenda]
It’s evident that 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.
Sustainable energy is also part of a climate solution
. 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.
These small and simple solar lamps from Waka Waka and Mamalights make a big difference for people living in for example Africa.
At the same time it’s important to achieve an international level playing field, as we underscore the relevance in combating climate change and for the transition towards inclusive growth that is green and of benefit to society at large: inclusive green growth. Energy access for women and children is of particular concern, as they are particularly impacted by a lack of modern energy.
An important and commendable achievement of the SE4All initiative is a specific energy goal, SDG7, in the post-2015 development agenda.
Increasingly, we realize that the global energy sector is undergoing a fundamental transition.
We see big oil companies converting to gas companies [Shell], we see big utility companies divesting their fossil plants and continue with renewable energy [Eon, RWE].
We also see cost reductions and technological developments facilitate increased access and the rapid uptake of renewable energy in many parts of the world.
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 and in investing in sustainable energy for all.
Dutch companies invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean energy technologies (like Philips renewable energy/solar lighting programs in partnership with national governments in Africa).
However, the private sector cannot do this alone. New and innovative partnerships are needed.
We support domestic innovative biogas programs of Dutch NGOs HIVOS and SNV. The Energizing Development program with the government of Germany has since 2005 increased access to energy for almost 14 million people in 24 developing countries.
In the end it is not about what individual stakeholders do, but about the transformation that we collectively, representing different segments of society, manage to support.
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.
So has the Netherlands agreed to use part of our contribution to support the phasing out and reduction of fossil fuel subsidies. These subsidies stand currently at 500-600 billion usd annually! This comes close to what the International Energy Agency and the World Bank have calculated as the amount needed EXTRA to meet the investment needs associated with the SE4All goals.
Concluding, linking access to energy to sustainable development is vital in the post-2015 development agenda to make sure that no one is left behind.
As said, our mission statement is “Kingdom of the Netherlands, your partner for peace, justice and development”, and sustainability is connected to all these.
Therefore we want to be a partner in sharing expertise and experiences to accelerate action to achieve sustainable energy for all.