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Ad Hoc Open-Ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development
New York, 6-10 March 2000
 

Highlights from Monday, 6 March

The Ad Hoc Open-Ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development, established by the UN General Assembly to preparej for the ninth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-9), met at UN Headquarters in New York. The Expert Group considered organizational matters, the Secretary-General’s Report, the results of the World Energy Assessment, and held a panel discussion on global energy trends, financing, investments, sustainable energy and sustainable development.

CSD Chair Choi Seok-young (Republic of Korea) opened the first meeting of the Expert Group. Delegates elected, by acclamation, Mohammed Reza Salamat (Iran) as Co-Chair of the Expert Group. Following a secret ballot, Irene Freudenschuss Reichl (Austria) was also elected Co-Chair. Marcio Nunes (Brazil) and Jaroslav Maroušek (Czech Republic) were elected as Vice-Chairs. The election of another Vice-Chair was postponed pending nomination from the African Group.


Co-Chairs Mohammed Reza Salamat (Iran) and Irene Freudenschuss Reichl (Austria)

Click here for the presentation of the results of the World Energy Assessment

Click here for photos of the panel discussion


 

 

The Co-Chair was elected through a secret ballot

Regarding the secret ballot, Nigeria, speaking for the G-77/China, said that political issues should not intrude in an expert process. Stressing that nomination of candidates should be settled within regional groups, he said the voting should not set a precedent for future meetings.


Co-Chair Mohammad Salamat's said the work of the Expert Group should be based on constructive dialogue to enhance mutual understanding and concerns on energy within the context of sustainable development.
Co-Chair Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl's said that by settling a few questions, the Group could make progress and send a strong message to Rio+10 that progress on sustainable development continues to be a real priority and is possible.

World Energy Assessment Report
Professor Jose Goldemberg, WEA Editorial Board, outlined the elements of the Assessment: why the present energy system is not sustainable; the need for a paradigm shift to sustainability; available solutions; future scenarios; issues and options; and current work. He compared the energy production and consumption profiles of the developed and developing countries, noting that consumption in industrialized countries is 5 tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) per capita as compared with 0.85 TOE per capita in developing countries. He underlined the importance of: policy making, a framework for the continuation of market reforms, setting accurate price signals, removal of subsidies to fossil fuel energy, removing obstacles to the use of new technologies, and supporting technological leadership and capacity building in developing countries. For more information, visit www.undp.org/seed/eap/activities/wea
Professor Jose Goldemberg presents the results of World Energy Assessment
(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)
Jose Goldemberg with Co-Chair Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl (left) and Kimo Goree, ENB Managing Editor (right)

General Statements

Nigeria, on behalf of the G-77/China, stressed the need for a balanced process in which developing country experts participate. He outlined the critical issues for developing countries including technology transfer, capacity building, access to financial resources, private investment in energy infrastructure and related services, debt overhang, and poverty.

Samoa, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) underlined the need for international energy cooperation to assist developing countries in providing adequate energy services to all sectors of the population, to facilitate poverty alleviation as well as to develop policies that enhance the economic, social and environmental aspects of energy production and use.

Portugal, on behalf of the EU, stressed the need for strong policy decisions to, inter alia, secure access to affordable and appropriate energy services for all, limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, make best use of energy resources, limit waste problems with negative environmental and health impacts, and ensure high energy efficiency and increased use of renewables.

 

Norway noted the role of the Dialogue Process between energy producing and consuming countries and called on CSD-9 to: improve understanding on sustainable energy development; build on the work of the OECD and IEA; and identify appropriate options, focussing on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency policies and technologies. The FAO underlined the vital role of energy in agricultural production and food security.

Panel Discussion on global energy trends, financing, investments, sustainable energy and sustainable development
Left to right: Kristi Varangu, International Energy Agency, Alan Miller, Global Environment Facililty,Expert Group Co-Chairs Salamat and Freudenschuss-Reichl, Tomas Johannsen,UNDP, Mark Radka, UNEP, and Alipour Jeddi, OPEC
Kristi Varangu, IEA, presented an alternative �Kyoto case� scenario, and noted the potential benefits associated with energy efficiency, clean coal, and Kyoto Protocol instruments such as the Clean Development Mechanism, joint implementation and emissions trading. She highlighted the potential benefits of removing energy subsidies, noting the findings of a study of eight countries, which suggest that the removal of subsidies would result in a 13% reduction in energy consumption, a 1% increase in GDP and a 16% decrease in CO2 emissions. Noting that current trends are not heading in the right direction, she underlined the political constraints in introducing effective policies.

Thomas Johansson, UNDP (left), supported the WEA and UNDP analyses on possible energy futures based on increased efficiency, renewable energy and new technologies, and underlined the need for government intervention. He said effective policies for energy efficiency have important national and global benefits, and emphasized the need for capacity building in all countries. He supported the call for a reduction in energy subsidies, and noted the potential for developing countries to �leap frog� the technological mistakes of developed countries.
Mark Radka, UNEP (above right), outlined the environmental consequences that track energy trends, drawing on UNEP�s Global Environment Outlook 2000. He said that an analysis of energy-related environmental trends demonstrated that the continued poverty of the majority of the earth�s inhabitants and excessive consumption by the minority are the two major causes of environmental degradation.

Alipour Jeddi, OPEC, noted that projections using the OPEC World Energy Model show continued increases in worldwide energy demand with increases across all fuel types. Regarding the Kyoto Protocol, he said that arguments that OPEC can avoid revenue losses by sustaining higher oil prices are not feasible, adding that revenue losses for OPEC countries are likely to be high.
Alan Miller, GEF, presented an overview of GEF activities related to climate and energy. Recognizing the growing demand for capacity building as an element of GEF financing and the need for a wider range of partners, he said that the GEF was in the process of developing a capacity-building project with UNDP to review climate and biodiversity related needs and was expanding relationships with regional banks. The GEF was also facilitating NGO access to resources through medium size grants.
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