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Remarks by Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, to Green Electricity Conference

Nairobi, 23 November 2009 - The Right Honorable Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya;

Her Excellency Elisabeth Barbier, the Ambassador of France;

Honorable John Michuki, Minister of Environment of Kenya;

Honorable Kiraitu Murungi, Minister for Energy;

Mr Jean-Michel Debrat, Deputy Director General of the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD).

Delegates, ladies and gentlemen

Let me say how delighted I am to be here today and that UNEP is a partner in this conference.

In the past three years, since taking up the post of Executive Director of UNEP, one has witnessed the green spark of a potential green electricity revolution ignite.

One that holds the promise of delivering clean and green power to the majority of Kenya's citizens who are still without access to that electricity so necessary for development.

I think it is to the great credit of the Government of Kenya and of the entrepreneurs and private investors-locally and globally-that together you have seen the bright light, and seen that it can be green.

Kenya is not blessed with coal and while there may be oil and gas either on or off-shore, this remains more hypothetical rather than reality as we meet.

But this country is blessed with an abundance of 'natural' fuels-from the hot rocks of the Great Rift Valley to wind and solar.

Perhaps one day Kenya's coastal waters may also be a source of green electricity as a result of new technologies-some of which are being tested in various parts of the globe-that can harness the currents and the tides.

Ladies and gentlemen,

That Kenya's renewable energy sources are now beginning to be harvested is in large part due to the urgency of climate change.

The carbon markets of the UN's emission reduction treaty-the Kyoto Protocol-have over recent years accelerated investment into the green electricity sector in developing economies.

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Further Resources

UN Carbon Markets Powering Green Energy Growth in Africa

UNEP: Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) - Energy Branch

UNEP: Green Economy Initiative


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