Highlighting Critical Role of Sustainable Transport in Reducing Emissions, Pollution, Secretary-General Commends Innovators at Energy Award Ceremony

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the United Nations Energy Grant Award Ceremony, in New York today:

Your Excellency Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly; Dr. Patrick Ho, Secretary-General of the China Energy Fund Committee; Wu Hongbo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to join you.

I commend the Department of Economic and Social Affairs on this very successful UN Energy Grant programme and I thank the China Energy Fund Committee for its generous support. This is the second year that we are recognizing leadership and innovative practices in sustainable energy.

The theme for the grant this year is energy for sustainable transport. The efficient use of clean energy sources and technologies in developing sustainable transport options is critical for sustainable development. They link economic growth, social equity, a stable climate, a healthy environment and sustainable cities. The rapidly growing transport sector is already responsible for nearly a quarter of energy-related greenhouse-gas emissions.

Transformation is critical if we are to limit global warming to well below 2C. Transport also contributes to air pollution that is linked to some 3 million deaths a year. The answer to these problems is not less transport – it is sustainable transport.

This was emphasized last month at the first-ever Global Sustainable Transport Conference in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. We need transport systems that are environmentally friendly, efficient, affordable and accessible. Technological advances and innovative thinking can get us there.

During my time as Secretary-General, I have been impressed by many creative approaches. Three years ago, I rode on a bamboo bicycle made by women in Ghana. Last year, I took a solar taxi to work. And a few weeks ago, I met again with Bertrand Piccard, the pilot of the Solar Impulse, which has just completed a round?the?world journey powered purely by solar energy.

These are just a few examples of the ideas and initiatives we need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. To transform the transport sector we need investment and action from all Governments, businesses, the scientific and technological communities, and civil society. That means mobilizing funds from a variety of sources and fostering North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation. And that is why this event is so important.

Beyond announcing the award of the grant, we are celebrating the work of all the featured applicants. We are honouring bold and creative initiatives that can move us towards the future we want. Please join me in in expressing our thanks and commendation.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, together, we are embarked on an exciting journey to a better future. I urge you all to remain engaged. Exchange experiences and lessons learned and encourage each other to go faster and further.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our blueprint for peace, prosperity, dignity and opportunity for all on a healthy planet. Let us not rest until we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Thank you.

Source: United Nations