The United Nations Family in Sierra Leone, on April 5, launched the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative at the UNIPSIL compound, Signal Hill Road in Freetown.
The event is in recognition of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
In his statement, the Chairman of the UN Secretary General’s High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All, Sierra Leonean born Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, who gave the keynote speech at the event, said that access to energy for all is crucial in order to achieve transformation and prosperity in Sierra Leone.
Dr. Yumkella noted that access is linked to every aspect of development including health, poverty reduction, education, economic growth and gender empowerment since in developing countries women and children bear greater burdens of providing energy for domestic use.
In his remarks, the Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Mr. Oluniyi Robin-Coker, said that the Government of Sierra Leone recognizes the significance of energy for all for domestic and production use, adding that the Government passed an Energy Policy into law in 2009 with the aim of addressing the mounting energy needs to propel the country forward.
He added that Sierra Leone needs the technology transfer as well as the capacity in order to meet the challenge of energy efficiency and energy for all in the country.
In his comments, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Richard Konteh, said that the Ministries responsible for trade and industries and that of energy and water resources are working on a joint Cabinet paper to address sustainable energy for all by June 2012. “This will serve as a concrete step towards addressing the burning issue of energy for all in the country,” Dr. Konteh stated.
The presentations by the UN Chair on Sustainable Energy for All, the Minister of Energy and Water Resources, the Minister of Trade and Industry and the UN Resident Coordinator, Dr. Wondimagegnuhu Alemu and UNDP Country Director, Ms. Mia Seppo were followed by discussions, questions and answers in which some civil society representatives called for a paradigm shift with regards to the energy outlook for the country in the years to come.
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, recognizing that “…access to modern affordable energy services in developing countries is essential for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and sustainable development, which would help to reduce poverty and to improve the conditions and standards of living for the majority of the world’s population.”
In support of the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All, the UN Secretary-General recently launched the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative to identify and mobilize action on three objectives by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.