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Your Excellency, Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Ministers,

Dear delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

The world is facing several major challenges: some are old, like hunger and poverty; others relatively new like climate change and energy access. Since these challenges are interconnected, they need to be tackled by all nations together if we want to achieve any success. And we need to act now!

Today we are here because we believe that universal access to sustainable energy allows people to have food, to be cured, to overcome poverty and have access to education. Meeting these needs with sustainable sources and modern energy services is crucial for development; if we want to ensure the well-being of present and future generations and contribute to a stable and equitable socio-economic growth.

Italy firmly believes that energy is the cornerstone of sustainable development, by fostering less energy and carbon intensive growth and privileging solutions with lower environmental, social and economic impact in the medium and long term perspective. Advances in innovation and technology, and the transfer of know-how and expertise are essential to supporting the transition to sustainable energy, particularly for developing countries.

At the global level, Italy is actively engaged in IRENA and fully supports the REmap 2030 proposed by IRENA in line with the objectives of SE4ALL.

At the regional level, Italy has been, since March 2014, a European co-chair with Germany of the Africa EU Energy Partnership (AEEP), which aims to improve access to reliable, secure, climate-friendly and sustainable energy services in both continents, with a special focus on achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Africa. The targets on energy access and efficiency, security and renewables of the Africa EU Energy Partnership follow the same guidelines of the SE4ALL Initiative. Fully committed to SE4ALL’s objectives is the Alliance for Rural Electrification, which also operates in close contact with the Africa EU Energy Partnership.

Ladies and gentlemen,

With a view to promoting sustainable development, I have the pleasure to announce that Italy has launched the Italy-Africa Initiative, reviving relations with Africa by promoting partnership initiatives in four priority areas: energy, environment, agriculture and infrastructure.

With specific regard to energy, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is organizing in Rome on October 13-14, 2014 the Conference “Italy and Africa: Working Together for a Sustainable Energy Future”, which will explore prospects for investment in power generation, and the development of transmission networks and renewables: all decisive factors for sustainable development.

The Conference will encourage the engagement of the Italian and African private sector for renewables deployment in Africa. It will also center on how to strengthen African energy markets, leveraging on Italy’s leadership in energy production from renewables at the European level. It will analyze Africa’s renewables potential and the comparative advantage of their us,. The conference will also host the world première presentation of the “Africa Report” of the World Energy Outlook, the most prestigious publication of the International Energy Agency.

The SE4ALL initiative is all about new challenges and opportunities: let’s be smart and efficient. Let’s put more energy into this initiative.