Back in New York for the regular rendez-vous at the UN general Assembly week. This year, my agenda is divided by topics as I will attend events related to my priorities. The first day was dedicated to the Sustainable energy for all initiative (SE4ALL). I spent the morning with my colleagues of the High Level Panel to agree on the organisation of our work. I was really satisfied to realise that we are all still fully mobilised to make the goal of universal access to clean energy by 2050 a reality. After the meeting, as I was walking along the sculptures of the UN garden, I thought that this was not another ‘one-shot’ event but a real adventure which was launched last January by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. I then had lunch with Helen Clark, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
We shared views on the development agenda: reflection on post-MDGs process, on the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, but also on the future of Afghanistan, of Somalia, Sudan, Mali and the Sahel region, which Helen visited few weeks ago, and on the EU-UNDP cooperation.
In the afternoon, I attended a public event on the SE4ALL initiative, and Ban Ki-moon gave the opening speech. I confirmed EU commitment to dedicate time, human resources and money to this ambitious but necessary endeavour. I underlined that we had started to turn our words into action by funding the first solar power station in Burkina Faso, a regional project of hydropower in the Great Lakes region and the establishment of a Renewable Energy Fund in Ghana. I wish we will be able to officially cut some ribbons over the next months to give more visibility to EU actions on energy access, efficiency and promotion of renewables. (Read the full speech)
I attended a few other meetings and took the chance to discuss with some of my counterparts and partners as I bumped into them over the long corridors of the UN premises. This is another useful aspect of the week: as the whole development community is gathered in the same place, we can unlock some files, launch projects or simply exchange information and get to know each other better to move things ahead. I guess some New Yorkers might be less enthusiastic when they see the city partly blocked on 1st avenue, although most of them find the week “exciting” due to the concentration of Heads of States on the island!