At the 12th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, Ecologic supported the German Ministry of Environment in organising a side event on renewable energies in New York. With some 250 participants, the side event was one of the largest of its kind at CSD-12. Keynote speakers included Norwegian Environment Minister and CSD Chair Børge Brende, US Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky, German Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin, EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström and UN Under-Secretary-General José Antonio Ocampo.
The aim of this event was to discuss and exchange ideas on promoting renewable energies in the context of the 12th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-12). The preparation of the Bonn International Conference for Renewable Energies 2004 and its follow up were main topics of the event.
The event was opened with welcome addresses by German Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin, Norwegian Environment Minister and CSD Chair Børge Brende and Irish Environment Minister Martin Cullen, speaking on behalf of the EU presidency.
The ensuing first panel discussed different regional approaches in support of renewable energies. It comprised high-level officials from four continents: Minister Odinga of Kenya, State Secretary Beckett of the United Kingdom, Under Secretary Dobriansky of the United States and Minister Al-Eryani of Yemen, as well as EU Environment Commissioner Wallström.
A second panel convened high level representatives from academia, business and non-governmental organisations to discuss the potential of renewable energies for sustainable development. It was opened by keynote addresses from the German Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin and UN Under-Secretary-General José Antonio Ocampo. The panel comprised David Jhirad, Vice President of the World Resources Institute; Burkhard Holder of the German Solarfabrik AG; Alastair Livesey of ECD Ovonics and Steve Sawyer, Political Director at Greenpeace International.
Results of the Side Event
Participants acknowledged the role that the side event played, not only in setting the scene for the Bonn conference, but also in connecting energy issues to the topic of the current CSD implementation cycle which focuses on water, sanitation and human settlements.
Along these lines, it was underlined on several occasions that renewable energies should not only be promoted as a clean source of energy. They are also key to poverty eradication by supplying electricity to rural area, and to climate protection by moving away from fossil fuel burning. The multiple benefits of renewables further include public health effects as indoor burning of traditional biomass is replaced, or as refrigeration allows medicine supplies to rural areas.
Participants also acknowledged the fact that the diverse composition of the panels gave evidence of the fact that renewable energies are as much of an issue in developing countries as they are in developed countries.