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Ministerial energy conference adopts declaration to accelerate global

(photo: supplied/Denton)

ASTANA,  KAZAKHSTAN-June 14: 3:32pm(ESCAP News): Ministers and high-level officials from 85 countries sent a strong signal in a statement adopted at the Ministerial Conference, during the Eighth International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development, which opened in Astana, Kazakhstan on 11 June.

Seven  voluntary  actions  in  the  Ministerial Declaration outline ways to accelerate the transition to a sustainable energy system, from establishing national  sustainable  energy  action  plans, to 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 event was held under the auspices of EXPO 2017 ‘Future Energy,’ and for the  eighth  time,  is  co-organized  by  the five UN regional commissions, coming  full  circle  in  Astana,  where  the first forum was held in 2010. High-level   participants   addressed  sustainable  energy  challenges  and opportunities  in  five  ministerial dialogues covering 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,  United  Nations  Under-Secretary-General  and Executive  Secretary  of  the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, acknowledged that the global energy transition is underway.

Speaking  on behalf of the five regional commissions, Dr. Akhtar said, “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.”

Dr.  Akhtar  emphasized  that  energy  supply  enhancements are critical to address  existing  deficits  and  meet the needs of over 1.4 billion people without energy access. She stressed that reducing dependence on fossil fuel
sources  is  also  urgent,  as the carbon budget to keep the world within 2 degrees of warming is dwindling.

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. The Prime Minister  also  expressed  hope  that  the  Ministerial  Conference and its Declaration   will   further  promote  the  long-term  cooperation  of  all stakeholders on sustainable energy.

In  her  address,  Ms.  Olga  Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the United Nations  Economic  Commission  for  Europe (UNECE), underlined the critical need  to  close the gap between current actions and commitments on the 2030 Agenda  and  the Paris Agreement, and what is truly needed to achieve their implementation.

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