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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 30th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

Inner City Press

 

UN Ban Names Bank of America & Shell Oil On Sustainable Energy, Banning Questions?

 

By Matthew Russell Lee

 

UNITED NATIONS, November 27 — Sustainable Energy for All was UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s topic when he spoke to the press this morning along with World Bank president Jim Kim. Inner City Press tweeted photo here.

  A handout praised Bank of America, as predicted, despite its role in funding mountain top removal coal mining. Also named for praise was Shell, embroiled in environmental scandals in Nigeria and elsewhere.

 

  These contradictions should be answered by the UN.

 

  But Ban’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky, who canceled the day’s UN noon briefing for this, took only two questions. First was CBS — will they report it? — by coincidence the president of the UN Correspondents Association, about Iran.

“Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President, to both, in light of the Iran deal in Geneva, do you foresee, since you’re speaking of energy, an increase in the sale of Iranian oil because of the lifting of transportation and insurance sanctions? And Mr. Secretary-General, do you see a UN resolution necessary to do that?”

 

 

  The second question was about nuclear power. Jim Kim said the World Bank does not fund such projects.
[The UN did not transcribe that.]

 

   Why did the “press encounter” – Ban’s last one had no questions at all — end then? Why was the UN system’s noon briefing canceled for a two-question stakeout?

 

   We must note that a former UN correspondent who was thrown out, Pincas Jawetz, told the new Free UN Coalition for Access that he was banned from attending the press encounter, though he showed an invitation from the organizers. Mr. Jawetz actually knows about the environment, and SE4ALL, and reports on it.

 

   The new Free UN Coalition for Access protests this.
UNCA, on the other hand, played a role in Jawetz’ ouster. That’s why UNCA is now referred to as the UN’s Censorship Alliance.

 

   Back in Warsaw, Ban Ki-moon’s response on including coal industry lobbyists, for example in the recent climate change talks was that “We must work together so that everyone can be part of the solution. Of course we recognize the importance of coal and fossil fuels in many economies at this time.”

    But Bank of America’s presence is part of a growing trends of commercialization at and of the United Nations. On November 26, 2013, for example, alongside singer Mohammed Assaf was his corporate promoter from Dubai-based MBC media group, permitted to use the UN press conference as an advertisement for MBC.

 

  Inner City Press wrote about it, and others have picked it up, saying for example that the “corporate storyteller” of MBC “was there to essentially use Assaf’s appearance at the UN as an advertisement for MBC, which is wrong.”

   But at the UN, the corporate infiltration continues.

 

   Earlier this same week, a fine play about violence against women was sponsored by the Italian oil company ENI, which also openly advertises with and sponsors the pseudo press advocacy group Ban partners with.

 

  One point is, these partnerships hurt the United Nations or what it is supposed to be.

 

   The UN decided to cancel, preempted by Ban’s and Kim’s press encounter on SE4ALL, its normal noon briefing, at which questions for example about the Haitian refugees drowned off the Bahamas and bombings in Sudan could be asked. So Inner City Press will cover the Sustainable Energy for All event.

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 Above are the words of Matthew Russell Lee who reports from the UN for Inner City Press. He seems to be the only specimen of a generalist left at the UN Press Corps – the other UN accredited media seem to follow only the fashion of the day – hence the matter of the only two questions that the UN staff allowed at what was just a steak-out rather then the advertised PRESS CONFERENCE.  Those two questions  related to Iran and the Geneva meeting-results that had absolutely no relationship to the matter of the SE4All topic of the advertised meeting with the Press by people present in the building at this day – because of the meetings that went on several floors bellow – to be accurate – in the UN basement.

Regular Journalists have no time to sit in at the basement meetings – so they have no information of what actually goes on. It is sad but true – knowledge is a child of interest. This while regular journalism gets a question from the editor who pursues a completely different interest from what goes on that day at the UN – hence the questions that are not related to the topic being discussed.

The injustice of the UN Press Office staff is thus done to the UN Secretary-General and his guests who actually had things to say but without journalistic inquiry, their ideas just do not get out to the public.

It looks as if the UN Press Office is afraid of hearing questions from interested media when the subject is sustainability, climate change, the world’s use of polluting fossil fuels or questions about corporate or government interest involvement at the UN – so only those following what I called “topics in fashion” are allowed and on those really sensitive issues the concept is that you can just copy the official press release. So the fake Press Conference is just the foil for the Press release. And who does not believe me – just search the internet for real information. You will find fast that there are no different points of view – only flat copies of the official release except from one or two sources like ICP.

We will proceed showing what we found on the internet – putting the accent on what the speakers said themselves – if we can
find the verbatim. Eventually, in separate postings we will try to report on the results achieved in the meetings and the direction of the follow ups – obviously – this without having gotten help from the UN Information outlet.

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Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s opening remarks at press conference with Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group following Sustainable Energy for all High-Level Advisory Board Meeting

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 27 November 2013

 

Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to be joined by Dr. Jim Kim, President of the World Bank today.

We have just concluded the second meeting of the Sustainable Energy For All Advisory Board.

I thank all the leaders from Government, business community and civil society for their strong commitment for sustainable energy.

I am impressed by the growing momentum in support of Sustainable Energy for All.

Brazil’s “Light for All” programme has reached 15 million people.

Nearly all Brazilians now have access to electricity.

Norway has committed to invest 2 billion Norwegian Kroner in 2014 for global renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Bank of America announced that its Green Bond, the world’s first of its kind, has raised $500 million for three years, as part of its 10-year $50 billion environmental business commitment.

The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) announced a $1 billion fund for energy access.

Now we need others to follow and build on these commitments.

Achieving the goals of Sustainable Energy For All needs massive new and additional investment.

And we need Sustainable Energy For All for sustainable development – for reducing poverty and raising opportunity, for combating climate change and laying the foundations for the future we want.

Our Advisory Board has agreed to take on this challenge and report back at the high-level partners meeting on Sustainable Energy for All that we will convene in June next year.

Together they will work to build momentum and scale up actions in four areas: finance, energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

At the same time, I will continue to engage Member States to make sustainable energy a central concern of the post-2015 development agenda.

Sustainable energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, a stable climate and a healthy environment.

We need to make modern energy services available to all. But we have to do so sustainably.

Our current energy systems are not sustainable.

The global thermostat is rising, threatening development goals and economies small and large.

It is clear that we need a transformation in how we produce, use and share energy.

That is why I launched Sustainable Energy for All initiative in 2011.

And that is why so many influential leaders are coming on board.

I thank you for your attention.

Dr. Jim Kim will now make his statement, then we will be glad to answer some questions.

Thank you.

——————

Kim said that financing is the key to achieving these goals. ” To reach our goals for access to energy, energy efficiency, and renewed energy, we need to mobilize an additional 600-800 billion dollars a year from now to 2030.”

“We are now starting in countries in which demand for action is most urgent,” he said. “In some of these countries, only one in 10 people has access to electricity. It is time for that to change.”

Ban praised Brazil’s “Light for All” program that has reached 15 million people, Norway’s commitment of 2 billion kroner (some 330 million U.S. dollars) in 2014 for global renewable energy and efficiency, and Bank of America’s Green Bond that has raised 500 million dollars for three years as part of its 10-year 50 billion dollars environmental business commitment.

He also lauded the announcement of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to earmark 1 billion dollars for energy access.

“Now we need others to follow and build on these commitments. Achieving the goals of Sustainable Energy For All needs massive new and additional investment,” Ban said, underlining the initiative’s crucial roles in achieving overall sustainable development, reducing poverty and raising opportunity, combating climate change and “laying the foundations for the future we want. “

“The global thermostat is rising, threatening development goals and economies small and large,” he added. “It is clear that we need a transformation in how we produce, use and share energy.”

Ban and Kim also announced that energy assessments have been launched in 42 countries, which account for 361 million people without access to electricity. At least 12 of these assessments will be completed by April 2014, and will serve as the basis for energy investment prospectuses developed for each country, they said.

The Wednesday meeting was the Advisory Board’s second, bringing together 42 representatives of business, finance, governments and civil society in a global public-private partnership. A Finance Committee was established on Wednesday by the Advisory Board and will lead efforts to seek financing.

Kandeh Yumkella, the secretary-general’s special representative and chief executive of Sustainable Energy For All, pointed to widespread support not only for the UN initiative, but also for energy to be at the heart of the global development agenda beyond 2015, the deadline for the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals.

“Eighty-one countries are now participating in this initiative, ” he said. “Their action is complemented by that of private sector companies and associations, as well as civil society groups. We will continue to work with key stakeholders to achieve sustainable energy for all, to drive action that transforms lives.”

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And the UN’s own  PRESS RELEASE   said:

UN Secretary-General and Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President President Jim Yong Kim Outline Plans to Mobilize Financing for Sustainable Energy for All

NEW YORK, 27 NovemberUnited Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim today announced a concerted effort by governments, international agencies, civil society and private sector to mobilize financing to deliver universal access to modern energy services such as lighting, clean cooking solutions and mechanical power in developing countries, as well as scaled-up energy efficiency, especially in the world’s highest-energy consuming countries.

After a meeting of the Advisory Board of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative
(SE4ALL ), which they co-chaired, they welcomed the growing momentum.

“Energy powers growth and opportunity,” said the UN Secretary-General. “We count on all actors to lead by example in scaling up and accelerating action that will provide clean, efficient and sustainable energy for all. Today’s many announcements are a testament to the resolve of partners to chart a path forward.”

Among these announcements, Brazils “Light for All” programme reached the milestone of 15 million beneficiaries, resulting in over 99 per cent of the population having access to electricity. Norway has committed to support renewable energy and energy efficiency activities with about NOK 2 billion in 2014.

Bank of America announced that its Green Bond, the world’s first of its kind, has raised $500 million for three years, as part of Bank of America’s 10-year $50 billion environmental business commitment.

The OPEC Fund for International Development announced $1 billion fund for energy access.

The United Nations Development Programme announced the creation of a Hub for Bottom Up Energy Solutions to advance energy access at country level.

The World Bank has launched a City Energy Efficiency Transformation Initiative covering 50 cities worldwide.

The two leaders also announced that energy assessments have been launched in 42 countries, which account for 361 million people without access to electricity. At least 12 of these assessments will be completed by April 2014, and will serve as the basis for energy investment prospectuses developed for each country. A Finance Committee established today by the SE4ALL Advisory Board will lead efforts to seek investor financing for them.

“Financing is the key to achieving these objectives,” said World Bank Group President Kim. “To reach our goals for access to energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy, we need to mobilize an additional $600-$800 billion a year from now to 2030. We will now start moving in countries in which demand for action is most urgent. In some of them, only one in ten people has access to electricity. It is time for that to change.”

President Kim also said that the SE4ALL Advisory Board pressed for rapid action to scale up energy efficiency improvements, especially in OECD countries which include the world’s largest energy consumers. Denmark and the United Nations Environment Programme have launched an energy efficiency hub to support this process.

Kandeh Yumkella, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Chief Executive for Sustainable Energy for All, pointed to widespread support for not only Sustainable Energy for All from numerous partner, but for energy to be at the heart of any negotiated outcomes on a Post-2015 Development Agenda. “Eighty-one countries are now participating in this initiative,” he said. “Their action is complemented by that of private sector companies and associations, as well as civil society groups. We will continue to work with key stakeholders to achieve sustainable energy for all, to drive action that transforms lives.”

——————————————————————————–
Media contacts:
Christopher Neal, cneal1@worldbank.org, +1 202 473-2049, mobile: 202-468-9710, World Bank GroupMr. Anthony Kamara, A.Kamara@SE4ALL.org, +43-699-1458-3402, United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL),Mr. Wynne Boelt, boelt@un.org, +1 212-963-8264 – United Nations Department of Public InformationDetails at:  www.sustainableenergyforall.org/
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