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Seeking Leadership & Innovation in Sustainable Development

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 18 2014 (IPS) - Sustainable energy and sustainable development are key components of a new initiative launched by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) and the China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) .

Entitled “Powering the Future We Want,” the initiative provides $1.0 million annually to individuals or institutions that have showed leadership and innovation in energy practices towards sustainable development.

“We expect the recipient(s) to identify lessons learned and underlying factors of best practices, and share the lessons learned with decision-makers and practitioners from other countries, through capacity building workshops and seminars,” said Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, at the signing ceremony Friday.

The approach is a response to a call by member states during the 2012 Rio+20 Conference, where they acknowledged a lack of efforts in spreading best practices and sharing successful experiences.

This issue was highlighted as a limiting factor in the path towards sustainable development and the reduction of implementation gaps.

China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Liu Jieyi, said, “Without the development of developing countries, the development of the world would be incomplete.”

Hence, capacity building in developing countries plays an important role in the success of this collaborative scheme. UN-DESA and CEFC hope this can be achieved through south-to-south cooperation and innovative partnerships.

The initiative comes in the midst of active dialogue on the post-2015 Development Agenda. Occurring at such an appropriate time, Jieyi stressed that steps must be taken to ensure the common future of developing countries and that of the international community. He expressed his pride in CEFC in “taking the lead and setting the example” in this direction.

CEFC is a non-governmental, non-partisan, not-for-profit Chinese think tank committed to promoting international dialogue and understanding of cultural values, regional cooperation and energy security.

Patrick Ho, Secretary-General of CEFC, highlighted the importance of energy as a strategic commodity for the development of a country, thus contributing to the challenges and sufferings that stem from efforts to gain resources for the security and interests of individual countries.

“Energy belongs to every one of us on this earth. Access to energy should be a basic universal right. There is enough energy to go around for every one of us and for our children,” he said.

“Energy security at this global level should transcend all parochial, selfish and private reasons.” He also added that global energy is a global challenge that demands global participation.

Grant recipients are chosen through competitive review and selection process by the Technical Advisory Group and High Level Steering Committee, with participation from relevant U.N. systems.

Only those with the most creative, practical and implementable practices that address the world’s challenges in sustainable development will be rewarded, according to Hongbo. He added that the selected “will still need to work hard after winning” and hopes that competition will be fierce.

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