High Level Event on “Sustainable Energy for All”, Statement by H. E. Mr. Heinz Fischer Federal President of the Republic of Austria
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Access to reliable energy is a main prerequisite for development. It allows for the provision of health services, education, clean water and food security for billions of people. In order to cope with the pressing global needs of our times, we need to ensure sustainable energy for all. Because of this, I am so pleased to see the Secretary General of the UN and the President of the World Bank together here united in their support for this undoubtedly crucial issue for mankind and generations to come.
Sustainable energy has been a priority for Austria’s development cooperation. We co-operate with countries in Sub-Sahara Africa through the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and ECOWAS. In 2010, a meeting of the EU-Africa Energy Partnership was held in Vienna. Furthermore, Austria launched the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy back in 1999. In addition the Vienna Energy Forum, co-hosted by UNIDO, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and Austria is organized in Vienna every two years. I am pleased to announce that the Austrian Government will host the next Energy Forum in May 2013 in our capital. The Forum will- inter alia- focus on the question whether, one year after Rio+20, we can define the energy future we want. I would be happy to see many people present here in this hall today in Vienna next year.
Austria readily supports the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, launched by the Secretary-General in 2011. The overall goals of this initiative are equally important to developed and developing countries alike. This is what makes the initiative pertinent for all countries in the world.
Austria warmly welcomes the announcement of the Secretary-General to name Mr. Yumkella his Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and is proud to host his programming and implementation team in Vienna. This team will be able to profit from a number of energy-related organisations already present in Vienna, such as OPEC, UNIDO, IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis), REEP (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership) and others.
Austria will considerably contribute to the setting up of this team’s office itself and will also show its commitment towards the realization of the initiative’s targets through various bi- and multilateral projects. Furthermore, over the past years, the Austrian Development Cooperation has allocated around 35 million Euros to such projects. In addition, the Austrian industry is among the world leaders regarding research and development in the field of renewable energy.
This expertise, coupled with the supportive environment for international organisations in Vienna, will provide a sound base for a successful start and functioning of the Programming and Implementation Team for Sustainable Energy in Vienna.
In conclusion, let me thank Mr Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim for this truly forward-looking initiative.