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Remarks on Industrial Development at the 15th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development

Darlene Williams, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development & Research U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
Remarks at the 15th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development
New York City
May 1, 2007

The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) has already delivered some important successes over the past 102 weeks. Public-private partnerships launched at and since the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) have delivered concrete, measurable results on the ground. CSD participants have submitted more than 200 case studies into the CSD Matrix; an innovative knowledge-sharing tool with lessons learned and best practices from all corners of the globe.

As we mentioned yesterday, we still have more work to do during these two weeks. The CSD Learning Center, for example, has already begun providing practical capacity building to several hundred CSD participants. This afternoon, the Learning Center is presenting a course on innovative energy financing, describing a number of mechanisms for mobilizing much-needed private sector investment in the energy sector.

On Thursday afternoon, the Learning Center will present a course on energy efficiency in the public sector. This topic is a critical part of the work my agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is doing within the United States. HUD works with Public Housing Agencies (PHA) at the local level to lower utility consumption and costs in the most efficient and effective ways possible. In partnership with the private sector, this project has invested close to $350 million in energy improvements as of 2006. Energy savings resulting from these contracts are valued at $37 million annually.

In addition to training hundreds of CSD participants, the Learning Center is showcasing a new way of doing business within the United Nations. Since the Learning Center was piloted at CSD-11 in 2003, this expert-to-expert training model has been replicated by 9 international bodies, including 6 UN organizations.

Specific Initiatives Activities and Projects

We have been tasked by the CSD Chairman to use CSD as a platform for launching specific initiatives, activities, and projects.

We have taken the Chairman up on this offer, and for this afternoon's discussion on industrial development, I would like to highlight two such initiatives. These and others are included on the more detailed handout being distributed around the room.

  • First, one key component of industrial development is boosting industrial energy efficiency. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy will conduct 250 Energy Savings Assessments at industrial facilities across the country through their "Save Energy Now" program. These assessments typically identify opportunities to save 5-15% of a plant's total energy use.
  • Second, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly those focusing on energy, are critical to both industrial development and energy access in the developing world. The Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) plans to set up three Regional Energy Access Funds for SMEs - two in Africa and one in Asia. If these funds are fully disbursed, the targets are to assist 2,000 enterprises (benefiting 1 million people) by 2010 and 7,000 enterprises (benefiting 4.5 million people) by 2012.

Decision Document

As we look ahead to Thursday's negotiations, we hope that we can work together to produce a concise and focused decision document to complement the other successes we have achieved during this CSD cycle.

As we work on this text, we should use CSD-11's mandate as a guiding principle, in particular its call for the CSD to "focus on those areas where it can add value to intergovernmental deliberations" and to limit overlap and duplication with other international organizations.

We should also seek to avoid re-opening or re-stating previous agreements. Instead, we should reaffirm our commitment to the agreements we have worked so hard to conclude in the past.

And finally, the CSD should not interfere in the mandates and missions of organizations with their own governing bodies.


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