Li Junhua, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Excellencies, distinguished participants,

It is my privilege to address you today on this important occasion, the 2023 global energy interconnection conference. Today, we convened amidst a world grappling with unprecedented challenges. At its halfway point, the implementation of the sustainable development goals is seriously off track. The vast majority of the targets are either moving too slowly, stalled or even regressed. Only about 15% are progressing at pace. Likewise, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have yet again warned that we are on track to the climate disaster unless we change the course immediately. The global average temperature has already risen by 1.2 degree compared to the pre-industrial level. We need to dramatically accelerate our efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals and objectives of the Paris agreement.

Distinguished participants, just 1 week ago at the SDG summit, the world leaders pledged to renew their push to achieve the sustainable development goals in full and on time. A successful push for universal access to clean and sustainable energy sources is critical to land the endeavour.

Globally, 675 million people still lack the access to electricity. And 2.3 billion people are still using polluting fuels to cook. We must double down on the energy transition, through the renewable energy and energy efficiency.

As stressed by the UN secretary general, it is a mission critical to continue the progress of phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies, as well as putting a price on carbon and to triple the private and public investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We also need to create a regionally and globally interconnected energy system to boost the uptake. I commend the Global Energy Interconnection of the renewables. Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) for organizing this event to promote energy infrastructure interconnectivity. UN DESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) stands ready to collaborate with GEIDCO and many other relevant partners to advance the 2030 agenda and the Paris agreement, ensuring a dignified and prosperous life for all and a sustainable future for humanity.

I wish you a very productive discussion.

Thank you.