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Ban calls for transformative approach to energy

WEC’s Energy Trilemma concept seen as valuable tool in shaping sustainability narrative

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged World Energy Congress delegates that the industry needed to build on the progress already made in driving change in the energy industry to effect a sweeping transformation in their activities and forge closer ties between public and private sectors to achieve this.

The springboard for further progress had been laid by the Paris climate change deal agreed last December, as well as the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, he said.

"A transformative approach to energy is critical to success. Achieving our energy goals, including universal access, energy efficiency and renewable energy will open a new world of opportunity and investment," he told WEC 2016 in a video address.

Ban praised the work of the WEC-a UN-accredited body-in moulding the current debate on shifting patterns in the energy sector. "The World Energy Congress is one of the most pre-eminent platforms for action. I commend the World Energy Council for helping shape a sustainability narrative through the Energy Trilemma concept," he said.

The Energy Trilemma lays out three core dimensions, which the WEC says need to be addressed in order to attain energy sustainability: energy security, energy equity-making energy supply more accessible and affordable to more people-and environmental sustainability.

Ban underscored the need for greater efforts to bring together industry with governments and other public bodies.

"Three years ago in a message to the World Energy Congress in Daegu, I called for urgent action to bring the public and private sectors together to advance our collective efforts. Today I urge you to intensify that great work towards a sustainable energy future for the greatest benefits of all," Ban told WEC 2016.

The UN has worked closely with the World Energy Council to promote progress towards achieving the UN's sustainable development "Goal 7", which relates to energy.

Goal 7 targets include ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services by 2030, increasing substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030, enhancing international cooperation and investment to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, and a focus on expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to supplying modern energy services in developing countries.

During his term as UN Secretary General, which concludes at the end of December 2016, Ban has been forceful in his belief that achieving Goal 7 targets by 2030 was vital to improving the chances of achieving other UN Global Goals, including those on food security, health care, education, employment and sustainable cities.

He has also stressed that improving access to sustainable and affordable energy in the developing world could save an estimated 4.3 million lives a year, by reducing the number of people using inadequate indoor cooking facilities based on coal, charcoal or animal waste in the developing world.

The challenge for the energy industry now is to speed up its transformation in support of the UN's sustainability agenda over the three years until the next World Energy Congress to be held in Abu Dhabi in 2019.

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