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UN Foundation’s Kathy Calvin: Sustainable Energy Access Programs Will Improve Lives and Help the Climate

October 28, 2015

The United Nations Foundation today issued the following statement from President & CEO Kathy Calvin welcoming recent announcements from UN Member States including the governments of United States, Benin, Bangladesh, and Kenya, as well as UN agencies, private sector companies and nonprofit organizations, of significant commitments toward bringing energy access to hundreds of millions of households living without modern energy services. These programs, first announced by the White House, will drive progress on the new global goals for sustainable development, particularly Sustainable Development Goal number seven on delivering Sustainable Energy for All.

“The announcements made this week by several governments, the UN Environment Programme, private sector actors, and nonprofit organizations to bring clean, efficient, off-grid energy solutions to millions of households is a demonstration of exactly the type of support needed to showcase the Sustainable Development Goals in action, driving improvements in peoples’ lives through climate change action and sustainable development initiatives.

“As part of the White House announcement, the UN Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development have committed to a four-year initiative to bring power to health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, dramatically improving their ability to deliver services, particularly maternal and newborn health services. The initiative is one element of a program being led together by the World Health Organization, UN Women, and the UN Foundation to strengthen health systems in the region by addressing critical power issues, which itself is in support of the broader UN-led Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

“The White House noted the commitments made this week by four governments and 19 companies will combine to provide more than 500 million people access to off-grid, clean energy products and services by 2020, and will prevent the equivalent of over 350 million metric tons of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the products. These investments transform lives, provide opportunities for families, improve communities, and boost economies, while ensuring long-term protection of our shared environment. These are exactly the kinds of initiatives envisioned and inspired by the UN-led Sustainable Energy for All initiative and the new global goals for sustainable development, known as the Sustainable Development Goals. Through strategic and creative efforts over the next 15 years, we can dramatically improve the lives of billions of people around the world, eradicating poverty and protecting the planet for future generations.”