United Nations Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative remarks at the Sustainable Energy Forum

Sep 10, 2014

Your Excellency, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

Your Excellency, the Head of the European Union Delegation, in Uganda

Honourable Minister of Energy and Mineral Development,

The Honourable Minister of State and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development

Government Officials, Civil Society Organisation representatives, the Private sector,

UN Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the United Nations family in Uganda, am honoured to address you at this important Forum.

“Energy Week”, is an opportunity for us to reflect on the importance of energy in our daily lives and the progress of our communities and nations. It is also a moment for reflection and renewed action.

At the launch of the Sustainable Energy For All Initiative (SE4ALL), UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon described energy, as “the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity, and an environment that allows the world to thrive.”

Beyond powering our homes, institutions and factories, sustainable energy creates new opportunities, enables businesses to grow, and to tap in to new markets. It allows children to study after dark and clinics and health centers can provide care and store life-saving vaccines.

None of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) or the new proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be met without major improvement in the quality and quantity of energy services.

Globally, one in five people on our planet (about 1.3 billion people) still lack access to electricity, and about 2.7 billion people depend on traditional fuel sources - such as wood, dung, crop waste, coal or charcoal - for their daily activities.

The International Energy Agency estimates that an investment of 48 billion dollars will be needed every year if we are to achieve universal energy access by 2030.

We believe, the Sustainable Energy For All Initiative (SE4ALL), is the beginning to realizing this important milestone.

As the UN system in Uganda, we are already making good on this commitment through our support to the Sustainable Energy For All Country programme which begun nearly two years ago.

Since then, we have partnered with government to strengthen institutional, sector and policy reforms and to provide innovative Bottom-Up Solutions that are a crucial part of the overall SE4ALL strategy in meeting the energy needs of Ugandans not served by the central grid.

Case Study

In Kaliro district, one of the six districts in the cattle corridor where UNDP has piloted the Sustainable Land Management project, improved cook stoves have reduced fuel wood consumption and deforestation, and freed up time that women can devote to education and paid employment, which is helping to reduce poverty. The stoves are made of a mixture of grass and clay soil which are easy to collect from the community. Other energy access saving initiatives that have been piloted under the project include biogas digesters that offer lower emission options for cooking than traditional biomass stoves.

 A number of other achievements have been made:

(1) A SE4ALL secretariat has been established in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development

(2) he Rural Electrification Strategy and the Biomass Strategy have been developed to guide future interventions in areas very important for sustainable development.

(3) The GET FiT Uganda facility – which is a partnership between donors – has managed to facilitate more private investment in renewable energy.

These initiatives show that if we work together and commit ourselves it is possible to reach the ambitious SE4ALL goal of universal access to energy in Uganda by 2035.

 However, we need to sustain efforts to connect more communities to energy sources, including those in rural areas.

 A broad partnership involving Government, and the international community, civil society and the private sector is needed to transform commitments to action.

 An enabling environment that is able to nurture public-private partnerships is essential to secure crucial private sector involvement in the energy sector. And I want to take this opportunity to invite the private sector and business leaders to be part of the UN’s Global Compact which am glad to note, has already established a vibrant network in Uganda. The Local Network is a great platform for you to innovate, to share ideas and to engage more actively in sustainable energy initiatives. 

I will also argue that we need to place inclusion and equity at the forefront of the Sustainable Energy For All efforts. Investing in Labour saving energy technologies, such as renewable fuels, fuel-saving stoves, biogas, solar, mills, can potentially free up more time for women and girls particularly in rural areas to expand their freedom and opportunities.

The period 2014‑2024 has been declared by the UN General Assembly as the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, to underline the importance of energy in the post-2015 development agenda.

Next week on the 16th of September, 69th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 69) will convene in New York under the leadership of Hon Sam Kutesa to deliberate on this agenda and the new Sustainable Development Goals.

We see this as a great opportunity to refine and align our collective thinking on sustainable energy, in addition to other important concerns such as – women and youth empowerment, governance and institutional reforms, climate change and sustainability, peace and security – all of which are crucial to transform this country to the middle income status that we all desire.

In closing, I would like to thank government of Uganda and the development partners for embracing the SE4All initiative and using it as a framework for integrated energy planning and investment in the country.

In particular, I would like to thank the European Union Delegation in Kampala, for providing leadership in mobilizing resources to support government efforts in achieving energy access and efficiency targets under the programme.  

Let me reiterate the UN’s commitment to continue supporting Government of Uganda and the people of this country in realizing universal access to energy by 2030. 

Thank you for listening.

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