Mark Malloch Brown
Administrator United Nations
Under Secretary-General United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Secretary General World Energy
More than 175 governments have committed to Agenda 21, the
programme for achieving human-centred sustainable development adopted at the
1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro,
Agenda 21 noted energy's importance to sustainable development. The June 1997
Special Session of the UN General Assembly, convened to review progress on
Agenda 21, went further. It emphasised that sustainable patterns of energy
production, distribution, and use are crucial to continued improvements in the
quality of life. It also declared that the ninth session of the United Nations
Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-9), in 2001, should focus on issues
related to the atmosphere and energy and to energy and transport.
To inform the discussion and debate, the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Department of Economic and Social
Affairs (UNDESA), and World Energy Council (WEC) initiated the World Energy
Assessment in late 1998. This report analyses the social, economic,
environmental, and security issues linked to energy supply and use, and assesses
options for sustainability in each area.
We offer the World Energy Assessment as an input to the CSD-9
process, the Rio Plus Ten meeting in 2002, and beyond. We believe
that a synthesis of reviewed and validated information on energy production and
consumption patterns will be a valuable tool for energy planners at the regional
and national levels, and for many other audiences as well.
Our energy future will largely depend on the actions not only of
governments, but also regional alliances, the private sector, and civil society.
For this reason, this assessment is the centrepiece of an outreach effort by
UNDP, UNDESA, and WEC. This outreach includes regional dialogues, exchanges
among developing countries and between developing and industrialised countries,
and consultations with a wide range of stakeholders, including the private
sector, which is not always brought into debates.
The World Energy Assessment represents a collaborative effort
involving the three founding organisations, 12 convening lead authors, and the
teams of experts they assembled. Drafts of the report were sent out to a wide
audience of experts and government representatives for review and consultation.
This review included a special Advisory Panel meeting, an electronic posting,
and consultations at the local, regional, and global levels, as well as with
non-governmental organisations. The Editorial Board considered the content of
the chapters at six meetings over the course of 16 months. Whereas the overview
reflects the combined judgement and scrutiny of the Editorial Board, each
chapter is the responsibility of its convening lead