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European Commissioner for Development
EU "Energizing Development" initiative: turning words into action
High-level event on Sustainable Energy for All / New York
24 September 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As EU Commissioner for Development and Cooperation, let me begin by saying how happy I am to be participating in today's high-level event.
Up to this day, more than 61 countries committed themselves to the initiative, creating a momentum that gives the international community a clear responsibility to achieve the three Sustainable Energy for All objectives. I'm confident that this movement will strengthen, as access to sustainable energy is understood as a driving force for growth and sustainable development.
The time for discussion is now over.
We have to turn intentions into concrete actions that will bring modern energy to the World's poorest citizens, and catalyse renewable energy and energy efficiency across the globe.
The EU's commitment to this initiative is clear.
In Europe, with our 20-20-20 initiative; 20% renewable energy in our energy mix; a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, and a 20% cut in greenhouse gases, all by 2020 and now transformed into binding legislation, we will achieve the aims set out by the Secretary General at home, ten years ahead of the target date.
But we are also committed to playing our role globally to achieve the wider objectives of the initiative.
The EU is uniquely well placed to do this, as by far the Worlds' largest provider of official development assistance, and the world leader in renewable and electricity technologies.
At the EU Summit on Sustainable Energy for All in April 2012 President Barroso set the ambitious goal for the European Union of helping developing countries to provide 500 million people with access to sustainable energy services.
So, the EU is transforming this pledge into concrete action.
The European Commission now is ready to make the goals of this initiative a reality, with several hundred people in its offices across the globe mobilised for this effort. Only two weeks ago, a senior team of EU and World Bank representatives visited Kinshasa to discuss projects around the Great Lakes. They discussed the last steps for financing the Ruzizi II hydropower project and started working on the development of the Inga River potential. We are working with Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC to establish a regional Energy Plan, creating the conditions for investment to flow into an area that could be the green powerhouse of central Africa.
Cooperation is already ongoing in many countries. In Ghana, for example, we are assisting the government to establish a Renewable Energy Fund and together with the KfW and AFD we are discussing with the energy ministry which energy programmes to support until 2020.
In Burkina-Faso the EU is supporting the construction of 22 MW solar power plant with 96 000 solar panels for an amount of 63 million Euro. Through this project the EU will help to provide sufficient electricity to more than 400 000 people.
We will also further assist our partners in the development of National Energy Action Plans over the next 6 to 18 months.
An EU technical assistance facility of 65 million Euro is already in place and we intend to mobilise at minimum 400 million Euros for energy-related actions in African countries, all over the next 2 years, and this through leveraged innovative financial instruments that should result in concrete investments of 4-8 billion Euros on the ground.
With the implementation of our Agenda for Change, mapping out priorities for EU development assistance from 2014 onwards, we can expect to add another several hundred million Euro to this figure for sustainable and inclusive energy investments every year, again highly leveraged, again results in investments on the ground in terms of billions of Euros.
These are just examples of the efforts that the EU is taking on the ground, turning objectives into fact.
But that is not all.
The EU also strongly supports the need for global coordination of our efforts in this area.
Only by working together will we achieve the ambitious objectives set by the Secretary-General.
In this context, I am happy to announce that we are willing in principle to support a coordination mechanism with both significant financing and seconded staff, once its structure and competencies have been clarified, and subject to the respect of relevant legal requirements.
I am looking forward to discussing further how best coordination can be ensured.
Each and every one of us has a responsibility to make this initiative a success and to deliver on what we promised.
The challenge for donors, governments, the private sector and civil society in industrialised and developing countries is enormous. But the battle will be worth it. You can count on the European Union to do its bit to mobilise its resources to reach the Sustainable Energy for All goals.