Speech by OPEC Secretary General to the Rio+20 Conference

Delivered by HE Abdalla Salem El-Badri, to the High-level round table at the Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Theme: "Looking at the way forward in implementing the expected outcomes of the Conference", Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 22 June 2012

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Rio+20 is extremely important for individuals, for nations and, of course, for the entire planet.

We welcome the outcome document and we value the positive spirit and the inclusive process that led to this achievement.

In implementing past commitments, many successes have been registered and progress was made. But there are still many gaps in implementation.

It is indeed important that the Rio+20 outcome document carries forward what has been agreed upon in previous summits on sustainable development and reinforce implementation.

The future should ensure the balanced integration of economic development, social development, and environmental protection, as these are the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development.

The principles and provisions contained in the 1992 Rio Declaration should remain the cornerstone of sustainable development. In particular, the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity, the right to development, the sovereign right of States to exploit their natural resources, as well as the UN principle of permanent sovereignty of States over their natural resources.

The process to define sustainable development goals should also assess implementation gaps in previously agreed goals and commitments, particularly the Millennium Development Goals, and should aim to address these gaps. It is important that previous commitments made, are adhered to.

It is also essential to remember that sustainable development is country-led and country-driven. No one-size-fits-all model exists.

For many developing countries, the primary focus is on alleviating poverty. And in this regard, a catalyst in helping alleviate poverty is access to affordable modern energy services. These have positively impacted the lives of billions in terms of providing light, power and mobility; we now need to make sure they positively impact the lives of billions of others, especially the 1.4 billion people that lack access to electricity and the 2.7 billion that rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating. Energy poverty needs the urgent and critical attention of world leaders, so as to alleviate this blight on humankind in the years and decades ahead.

What this underlines is the importance of all types of energy for economic and social development. While some are new and emerging from a low base, other types of energy have contributed for centuries to satisfy human energy needs and are projected to continue to play an important role in the foreseeable future. It is thus essential to promote all cleaner energy technologies, including carbon capture and storage.

My Member Countries are already making significant efforts in deploying these technologies, as well as to diversify their portfolio of energies, in areas such as hydro, solar and wind. We recognize that renewable energy has a part to play in our future. And, of course, it is also crucial we continue to strive to use energy ever-more efficiently. In this regard, technology transfer to developing countries and capacity building must constitute essential means of implementation.

Looking ahead, we need to work together. We must continue the process of inclusivity, achieving outcomes by consensus, with transparent country-led negotiation, building upon the principles, provisions and commitments already made.

Thank you for your attention.