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OAS Secretary General Calls on the Americas to “Facilitate the Transition to a More Sustainable Energy Reality”
April 16, 2010

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today called on the governments of the Americas to “facilitate the transition to a more sustainable energy reality,” in a spirit of multilateral cooperation, as a fundamental way of reducing poverty and with special emphasis on renewable energy sources.

“I believe all the nations and peoples in our Hemisphere should have access to clean, safe, sustainable energy for their development and their survival,” the Secretary General stated, adding that “your governments cannot and should not forgo developing the energy potential of your individual countries. But, I hope that we can all work together to do so.”

The Secretary General delivered his remarks during the opening ceremony of the second day of the Energy and Climate Ministerial meeting held at OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. The United States Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, also participated in the meeting, which he convened officially and which was attended by ministers and delegations from 32 countries of the hemisphere.

Secretary General Insulza recalled that, despite the progress achieved in recent years in many countries and the “enormous energy potential” of the region, “today some 40 million people still have no access to electricity.” This lack of electricity, he said, “translates into inefficient sanitation, weak education systems, and the inability to develop productive, income-generating activities,” and warned that the problems caused by climate change would “exacerbate these challenges.”

Overcoming the current challenges, he said, “requires political will, creativity, persistence and patience on the part of the governments and peoples of the Americas, and requires also very substantial collaboration among us.” He proposed, among other objectives, that “the region must redouble its efforts to improve energy efficiency,” “pursue and promote integration of their energy systems to the extent possible,” and “identify and develop sustainable sources of energy,” an area in which the OAS has for some time placed great attention and resources.

In this context, the Secretary General highlighted the creation of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) proposed by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, during the 2009 Summit of the Americas, and reiterated that the OAS is at the center of follow-up work on the progress of the project and the release of information about it. “We look forward to receiving your innovative partnership ideas and will work with you to establish a deep network on sustainable energy and climate that meets the needs of the Americas,” he said.

“We are at a historic crossroads today, where the nations of the Americas must unite to radically transform the way in which we produce and utilize the energy available to us. The time has come to embrace a new technological and industrial revolution,” the Secretary General concluded, calling for today’s meeting in Washington to begin a process that would grow stronger during the Second Inter-American Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities on Sustainable Development in October in Dominican Republic, and that would help the Americas contribute significantly to the Sixteenth United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in November in Cancun.

For more information about ECPA, please visit its Website at

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-123/10

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