Private investment critical to achieve universal energy access, Ban tells Davos Forum

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the importance of private investment to ensure universal and sustainable energy access, as he called on business leaders gathered in Davos, Switzerland, to mobilize their resources and strengthen their partnerships with the public and non-governmental sectors to achieve this goal. 

“By providing sustainable energy for all, we can revitalize economic growth, protect the planet, protect the environment and spread the benefits of development more equitably. This can be called a triple win,” Mr. Ban said at a panel discussion on his Sustainable Energy for All initiative, held at the World Economic Forum. 

The initiative seeks to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030. 

Globally, one person in five still lacks access to modern electricity and twice that number – three billion people – rely on wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste for cooking and heating. 

The initiative is “ambitious but achievable,” Mr. Ban said, calling for a “massive mobilization of partnerships” in the private sector, finance, governments, international organizations and civil societies. 

Mr. Ban emphasized that mobilization will require strong political will as well as firm partnerships with the private sector. “Private investment is critical. We are working actively with global CEOs and investors to expand energy access, improve efficiency and ramp-up renewables. Our initiative will actively work with the private sector to generate a clean energy revolution,” he said. 

“Developing countries, especially the least developed, stand to benefit most. Access to modern energy will improve productivity, public health, and education. It can also enable countries to leapfrog the energy systems of the past.” 

Mr. Ban also voiced his hope that a full range of actors will be prepared to announce their commitment towards sustainable energy at the UN Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20), which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June.

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