First of all, I would like to commend the United Nations Secretary-General on the leadership he has shown in promoting the sustainable energy agenda. Since the launch of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, great progress has been made.
I am pleased to note that access to sustainable energy has moved up the international political agenda. The SE4ALL initiative will play a key role in mobilising the international community into action under the international framework that has been presented here today.
Norway will support the implementation of the SE4ALL initiative. Energy is a key priority area for Norwegian development cooperation, and it is a topic that is close to my heart.
We all agree that energy is a driver of, and prerequisite for, development. Without access to modern energy, there can be no development.
Huge investments in the energy sector are needed. We need to mobilise resources from all available sources. The business community has a key role to play in terms of investing in the energy sector, building infrastructure, creating jobs, and developing new technologies to ensure that the energy we produce is more efficient and comes from low-carbon or renewable sources.
Let me offer some suggestions as to how business and aid can complement each other, so that our combined resources can lead to large-scale investment in energy. Energy security and investor security go hand in hand. Accountability is to public money what the bottom line is to private capital.
In my view, we as donors can primarily be of use in two ways:
- Firstly, we can gather various projects together, to create larger-scale projects. In this way, we can cover all sectors and ensure a more integrated approach. Investors need to have a clear sense of how and where individual projects fit into an overall national strategy.
- And secondly, we can – together with the business community – find ways to reduce investment risk. In the face of real and perceived risks that are deterring investors and driving interest rates up, there is a need for new financing models that pool risk more effectively, for instance through public–private partnerships.
Together, public money, the private sector and carbon markets can generate a new dynamic and result in a new and more effective approach to development aid. There are significant business opportunities in this area.
It was in this context that the Prime Minister of Norway together with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the international energy and climate initiative, Energy+, last October.
Energy+ is Norway’s contribution to SE4ALL. As it is an energy and climate initiative, it will only finance low-carbon or renewable energy projects.
The Energy+ partnership is made up of some 50 states and multilateral donor and finance institutions, including the World Bank and regional development banks and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Through Energy+, Norway has already announced partnerships with Ethiopia, Kenya and Liberia. We are also supporting green energy investments in a number of other countries.
We believe Energy+ could be a central initiative in global efforts to ensure energy for all.
I am also pleased to announce that Norway stands ready to support the SE4ALL Secretariat.
This is a critical juncture. Countries with underdeveloped energy systems need to generate economic growth and they are ready to invest in their future energy mix. The way the business community acts now will have a decisive impact on the choices these countries make.