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Ministers adopt declaration to accelerate global transition to sustainable energy

Published: 12 June 2017

Ministers and high-level officials from 85 countries sent a strong call to accelerate the transition towards sustainable energy systems in a statement adopted at a global conference in Astana, Kazakhstan on 11 June 2017.

The Declaration contains seven voluntary actions, which outline ways to accelerate the transition to a sustainable energy system, from establishing national sustainable energy action plans, developing internationally recognized minimum energy performance standards in all sectors, and advancing methods for public data collection and indicators on energy for sustainable development.

The Declaration was adopted at the beginning of the Eighth International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development, held under the auspices of EXPO 2017 “Future Energy”, and co-organized for the eighth time by the five United Nations regional commissions. Ministers and high-level participants addressed sustainable energy challenges and opportunities in five ministerial dialogues covering the challenge of sustainable energy, energy security, regional trade and infrastructure, the energy-climate-food nexus, renewable energy in Central Asia and promoting new technologies and innovations. More than 1,000 people attended the Ministerial Conference.

At the opening ceremony, Mr. Bakhytzhan Sagintayev, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, noted the immense potential nationally and globally for growth in GDP and employment through growing the green economy. Mentioning the Kazakh proverb “what is sown by fathers will be harvested by children,” he described energy as “crucial for development” and noted the need for balancing sustainable development and environmental protection as a commitment to future generations. He expressed hope that the Ministerial Conference and its Declaration will further promote the long-term cooperation of all stakeholders on sustainable energy.

Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, acknowledged that the global energy transition is underway. Speaking in the name of the five regional commissions, she added, “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, together with market, infrastructure and technology advancements have great potential to shape a future powered by clean, sustainable energy. However, to accelerate the transition to a world based on sustainable energy and to address the aspects of quality of life and uneven distribution of energy, we must deal with the long-term challenges and opportunities. Energy supply enhancements are critical to address existing deficits and meet the needs of over 1.4 billion people without energy access. Reducing dependence on fossil fuel sources is also urgent, as the carbon budget to keep the world within 2 degrees of warming is dwindling,” said Dr. Akhtar.

In her address, Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, emphasized the critical need to close the gap between current actions and commitments on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement, and what is truly needed to achieve their implementation. “At UNECE, we strongly believe that the agreed objectives are attainable with concerted action. Every technology has an important role to play in the future energy system. Not only the obvious ones like energy efficiency and renewable energy, but also advanced fossil fuel technologies, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear power,” said Ms. Algayerova. “The regional commissions stand ready to support countries in what it takes to meet the challenges for a sustainable energy future. Together we have a set of tools to offer that can help enhance understanding of sustainable energy and the policy drivers needed to achieve a common goal on sustainable energy.”

For further information, please see: http://energyministerial.kz/.

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