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Remarks by Achim Steiner at East African Power Industry Convention

Nairobi, 1 September 2010

Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

We meet here a week after the birth of the 2nd Kenyan Republic, an historic moment full of new directions; possibilities and opportunities for this country and its people.

Part of that opportunity hinges on the path the power industry takes over the coming years and decades.

Will it be focused on a fossil fuel future based on oil, gas or coal or an increasingly a renewable one based on harnessing the abundant 'natural fuels' found here - from wind and water to solar and geothermal and perhaps one day even tidal or wave.

Indeed can we, at the dawn of a new era in Kenya's history with itself, and with the wider world, envision Green Energy; within a Green Economy in a 21st Green Republic?

Ten, perhaps even five years ago some might have smiled at such a notion: but not today.

It is in many ways already happening from the 300MW wind farm in Turkana to the rapidly expanding generation of, and exploration for, geothermal along the Rift Valley.

The challenge is how to maintain this fledgling momentum and to accelerate and scale-it up.

Before I come to this, let me perhaps share a journey that UNEP, headquartered here in Kenya, recently embarked upon that echoes to your challenge and indeed that of economies everywhere - developed and developing.

A journey that is crystallizing the elements of how to achieve a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy and the logic underpinning such an evolution.

Two years ago, UNEP launched the Global Green New Deal/Green Economy Initiative, as nations around the world struggled with successive food and fuel price surges and persistent environmental challenges, compounded by a deep financial and economic crisis.

The basic thrust behind the these twin concepts is that is that the economic models of the 20th century are unlikely to assist in achieving the multiple goals the international community has set ranging from combating climate change to supplying freshwater, sufficient food and overcoming poverty - particularly on a planet of more than six billion people, rising to some nine billion by 2050.

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