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The European launch of the UN's Year of Sustainable Energy for All

Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Development, stressed the European Commission's commitment to achieving sustainable energy for all by 2030 at the official European launch of UN's Year on Sustainable Energy for All on 8th February at the European Parliament in Brussels.
This ambitious goal was set up by a new High Level Group led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on which Commissioner Piebalgs is a Member. The event addressed the types of commitments for action needed from all sectors to provide access to energy for the poorest people on the planet.

Offical launch of the UN International Year of Sustainable Energy for All 2012

Ahead of the event, Commissioner Piebalgs said: "By making 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon set up inspiring goals and I'm determined to foster the EU contribution to these objectives. We are all aware of the fundamental role that energy access plays as a driver for development, in delivering health, education, food security and economic growth, to name but a few. With around €2bn allocated to the energy sector worldwide, the EU is a leader in empowering the world. Through the promotion of our technology and expertise combined with a targeted use of our aid funding, we will aim to increase access to modern energy services for the world's poorest."

The Challenge

Worldwide, about 1.4 billion people have no access to electricity. Up to a billion more have access only to unreliable electricity networks. Almost 3 billion people rely on solid fuels (i.e. traditional biomass and coal) for cooking and heating.

As spelled out in "an Agenda for Change", a proposal for new directions in the EU development policy, access to energy is one of the top priorities of Commissioner Piebalgs. Sustainable energy is central to providing opportunities for inclusive, equitable and environmentally friendly economic growth, creating new job opportunities and contributing to poverty eradication while moving towards low-carbon and resource-efficient energy models.


The Commissioner also expressed his support for the three objectives of the initiative to be achieved by 2030:

  • universal access to modern energy services,
  • doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
  • doubling the share of renewable energy in the global mix of fuel sources.
  • Energy will also be one of the principal topics taken up at the Rio+20, a conference which will take place in June 2012.

Example of EU actions in energy

EU actions to foster Sustainable Energy in Africa – the EU-Africa Energy Partnership
In 2008, the EU launched an Energy Partnership with Africa to promote the electrification of Africa and to increase energy access, energy security and the development of renewable energy to strengthen energy efficiency. This Partnership has borne fruit, through the launch of the Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) together with the African Union in 2010. This programme is due to contribute to the African renewable energy targets for 2020. It aims at bringing relevant renewable energy technologies to the market in Africa.

It will provide a valuable input to the work of the newly created UN High Level group on Sustainable Energy for All.

Access to sustainable energy in developing countries is also a key element of the recent Commission Communication on the security of energy supply and international cooperation (COM2011(539) of 7 September 2011)

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Last update: 04/02/2013 | Top