NEW YORK: Pakistan has called for an integrated approach to implementing the United Nations’ 2030 development agenda by placing sustainable energy at its heart.
Chairing a meeting of an informal group of countries that seek to promote what is called ‘SE4All’ or Sustainable Energy for All, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, said that energy is pivotal to achieving economic growth and development.
“It’s cross cutting nature means that it is central to securing almost all the other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” she said, adding that energy is linked to virtually all the objectives associated with poverty eradication, climate change, employment, education, food and water security.
Ambassador Lodhi told the participants of the meeting that with the adoption of SDG 7, which seeks to ensure access to clean and affordable energy, the UN has for the first time, focused specifically on energy as a universal goal. Adding sustainable energy to the 16 other SDGs that make up the 2030 agenda means that this has to be pursued in a comprehensive manner and by ensuring system coherence within the UN.
She said that the energy goal and its targets are all encompassing. “Universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services is fundamental together with renewable energy and energy efficiency.” To deliver on this goal a true global partnership is required which should encompass the private sector as well as involve strategic direction by governments.
Pakistan’s envoy said that progress towards this goal should be guided by the “means of implementation” targets of the energy goal. What would be critical, she said, is enhanced technological support to exploit indigenous resources including advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology together with scaled up investments for energy.
Ambassador Lodhi said that building on five years of momentum, the new ‘SE4All’ long-term arrangements offer a global framework that can bring forth the best of both the UN system and the wider world, while the role of private investment would be the key determinant of success.
The meeting also heard a briefing by Ms. Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All. She updated the participants of the well-attended meeting about her vision for implementing SDG-7 and briefed them about long-term arrangements. Her main emphasis was on how a “handshake” could be achieved between bankable energy projects and investors.
Ms. Kyte will now also be leading the international not-for-profit organization, Sustainable Energy for All Partnership as its first CEO. She was previously at the World Bank.
The other two co-chairs of the Group, in addition to Pakistan, the Ambassadors of Norway and Denmark, also shared their views at the meeting.
The discussion ranged over many issues related to energy and explored how investment in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal could help make progress towards achievement of this goal. It was agreed that adopting cost-effective standards for a wider number of technologies could also help to reduce global electricity consumption.