Rio de Janeiro, 19. June 2012 Press release

Waldner: Austria’s many contributions to securing the long-term energy supply for the poorest countries

Rio de Janeiro, 19 June 2012 – “Access to energy and eco-system services is essential for development and for covering fundamental human needs, such as the need for food, health, education, economic productivity and quality of life. Energy is therefore indispensable for implementing all millennium development goals”, the Austrian State Secretary said on the occasion of the Energy Day ahead of the official opening of the Rio+20 Summit.

“Austria is actively supporting the issue of “energy for all” as an important means to fight poverty. We support the three objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Many of our development cooperation projects are focused on better access to energy, improved energy efficiency and investment in renewable energies”, State Secretary Waldner said. By holding two Energy Conferences in Vienna in 2009 and 2011, Austria has successfully prepared the ground for this initiative together with UNIDO and IIASA. Austria can also draw on its unique expertise as the headquarters host to many energy-relevant organisations such as UNIDO, IAEA, OPEC, the OPEC Fund, the Energy Community Secretariat, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnerships (REEP) and the Laxenburg Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA).

“Austria co-financed, supervised and coordinated an international Global Energy Assessment Study carried out by the Laxenburg Institute IIASA“, the State Secretary said. The study illustrates sustainable energy development paths for the world and will be presented today by State Secretary Waldner in Rio in a special session chaired by UNIDO Director General Yumkellah and IIASA.

“300 international scientists contributed to the study that extended over several years. The research findings provide an important input for political, economic, scientific and research decisions. It helps setting the agenda and shows various ways of achieving access to energy for all and how this can contribute fundamentally to achieving the climate and development goals”, Waldner explained.

“If we use all the energy sources of our planet in a sustainable manner, global resources are virtually inexhaustible. The decisive challenge lies in transforming the energy systems into climate-friendly systems – taking care of CO2 and other emissions – while ensuring energy supply at the same time. We must make certain that developing countries also have access to affordable energy supplies and we must also provide for economic and social sustainability. The transformation requires research and development as well as investment in sustainable energy systems”, Waldner said.

Austria is acting through the ADA to co-finance numerous sustainable energy projects in Western Africa, South-Africa, Central America, but also in the Balkans and in Bhutan. State Secretary Waldner will present the full details Austria’s commitment in this matter in a high-level discussion on “Financing Access to Clean Energy for the Poor“ in Rio on June 20.

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