(UN News Center) - United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for next weeks Group of Eight Summit in Russia to focus on what energy security means for people living in developing countries and also to address the environmental consequences of energy consumption especially the current overwhelming and deeply entrenched reliance on fossil fuels.
Mr. Annan, speaking in Berlin at an event hosted by the UN Association of Germany and the Bertelsmann Foundation, also highlighted that the scientific consensus is overwhelmingly clear: climate change is happening, and humans are contributing to it.
He drew attention to energy security as it relates to people living in developing countries. More than a billion and a half of them live with no electricity at all, while many of those who do have access have to endure frequent power outages, Mr. Annan noted, pointing out that without more reliable energy supplies, these people are condemned to perpetual poverty.
Energy security cannot be achieved without recognition of the environmental consequences of energy consumption, especially our currently overwhelming and deeply entrenched reliance on fossil fuels, he said. By producing greenhouse gases and other pollutants, these fuels affect the sustainability of life itself. Our reliance on them puts the very future of humanity at risk.
Mr. Annan said the need to increase energy supplies in order to fight poverty could entail a vicious circle but added that this does not need to happen, pointing out that fossil fuels can become cleaner, or even clean, and highlighting among other things that energy efficiency can improve significantly, in transport, buildings, appliances and manufacturing, reports Trend.
Collectively, we do have the knowledge and resources both to conquer the poverty that blights so many lives, and to safeguard our planet and its climate. What we lack, so far, is the will to deploy that knowledge and those resources in the right way. Next weeks summit is when that can, and must, begin to change, he said, referring to the meetings that will take place from 15 to 17 July in St. Petersburg.
Mr. Annan also emphasized trade during his speech, in particular the need for developing nations to truly benefit, and he linked his remarks to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a time-bound set of eight targets for tackling poverty, illiteracy and other global ills.
He described next year as a defining moment for Germany, as it assumes the presidency of both the European Union and the Group of Eight, and he also pointed out that 2007 would mark the mid-point for the MDGs, which fall due in 2015, warning that while much progress has been made, more work needs to be done.
Certainly, there has been a great deal of progress, he said, pointing to advances in Asia and Africa. But staggering obstacles remain to meeting the Goals by 2015, he warned, citing studies showing that in sub-Saharan Africa, there are some 140 million more people enduring extreme poverty today than there were 15 years ago.
While in Germany, the Secretary-General met a number of senior officials, including President Horst KС†hler, with whom he discussed developments in Africa.
Mr. Annan also travelled to the Henning von Treskow barracks, the location of the EU Operations Headquarters, where he attended a working lunch hosted by the Federal Defence Minister, Franz-Josef Jung.
Speaking to reporters later, the Secretary-General hailed Germany for its leadership of the European Force (EUFOR) which will be supporting security during the election process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The Force, he said, shows the solidarity and commitment of Germany, and Europe, to the operations in Africa.