New York -- Access to clean, reliable energy powers economies, lights up homes, hospitals and schools, and improves lives and livelihoods. Yet around the world one billion people lack access to electricity, and three billion rely on firewood animal dung and crop waste for energy to cook their meals, boil their water and heat their homes, exposing them to health hazards and contributing to dangerous climate change.
Recognizing this, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on Governments, business and civil society to help achieve Sustainable Energy for All by 2030.
'Sustainable energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, a stable climate and a healthy environment,' he said. 'Energy powers growth and opportunity. It makes all other development goals possible, from reducing poverty to powering essential health services and providing light for children to learn.'
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is responding to this call by providing technical advice and other assistance to developing countries embracing clean energy.
Today, to showcase some of the solutions already being implemented, UNEP, in collaboration with the Magnum Photo Agency, will launch a photo exhibition at UN Headquarters in New York.
We Have The Power: Efficient, Renewable, Affordable. A UNEP Contribution to Sustainable Energy for All, will be opened by the Secretary-General. Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, will join the Secretary-General at the opening.
This initial exhibit takes the form of three photo essays by renowned Magnum photographers:
- Market Transformation for Energy Efficient Lighting, Chile (reflecting the work of UNEP's en.lighten initiative) by Moises Saman
- 'Nafa Naana' (guaranteed savings) Burkina Faso (reflecting the work of UNEP's Africa Carbon Asset Development Facility) by Dominic Nahr
- Bus Rapid Transit Improvements in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (reflecting the work of UNEP's Transport Unit) by Jerome Sessini
The exhibit illustrates the work already being done by UNEP and its partners to support the three objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
The exhibit clearly shows solutions being enacted, but which need to be scaled up and replicated around the world to help close the gap in climate action and keep global warming to just 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Magnum photographer Steve McCurry is patron of the exhibition, which will be developed and continue at various international locations through the upcoming Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024).
Sustainable energy is a key contributor to sustainable development and to the inclusive Green Economy the world will need if it is to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Sustainable energy cuts across many economic sectors and generates important benefits, including for health, education and gender issues.
'We Have The Power' shows how we can make a difference, enlightening lives, enriching economies and promoting environmental well-being.
The exhibit will continue at UN Headquarters until Friday, 6 December 2013.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the voice for the environment in the UN system. Established in 1972, UNEP's mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP is an advocate, educator, catalyst and facilitator, promoting the wise use of the planet's natural assets for sustainable development. It works with many partners, UN entities, international organizations, national Governments, non-governmental organizations, business, industry, the media and civil society. UNEP's work involves providing support for: environmental assessment and reporting; legal and institutional strengthening and environmental policy development; sustainable use and management of natural resources; integration of economic development and environmental protection; and promoting public participation in environmental management.
About Magnum Photos
Magnum Photos is a photographic cooperative of great distinction that is owned by its photographer-members. Acclaimed for their powerful individual vision, Magnum photographers chronicle the world and interpret its people, events, issues and personalities with empathy for their subject matter. Founded at the MoMA after the close of World War II in1947 by the legendary Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David 'Chim' Seymour, Magnum Photos celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2007. Today the agency encompasses over 70 members of extraordinary talent and diversity and reflects a longstanding tradition of individual vision. Through its four editorial offices in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo, a digital library of 450,000 images, and a network of 15 subagents, Magnum Photos provides photographs to the press, publishers, advertising, galleries, and museums across the world. Its Cultural Department produces more than 200 exhibitions per year worldwide. By capturing defining moments of the 20th century with iconic images that have shaped our collective memory, Magnum Photos continues to set a standard for photographic integrity and authorship. For more information about Magnum Photos, please visit www.magnumphotos.com