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Historical archive

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg

Welcome Address “High Level Event on Sustainable Energy for the Least Developed Countries”

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Office of the Prime Minister

United Nations, New York, 23 September 2013

UN General Assembly 2013.

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Ladies and gentlemen,

More than a hundred years ago Norway was one of the poorest countries in Europe. Today Norway is one of the richest countries in the world.

Energy has been essential for our development.

Hydropower completely transformed our society.

It started our process of industrialisation.

It enabled us to have factories.

And it gave us goods for export and jobs.

As access to energy was crucial for the development of the Norwegian economy, it is today equally crucial to economic growth and development for the least developed countries.


Modern energy provides light and cooking facilities.

It promotes reading and communicating.

It creates jobs and prosperity.

And it improves women’s health and gender equality.


So, the world needs energy.

At the same time, we need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

There is no conflict between access to modern energy and development with low emissions.


Green growth is possible.

In developed countries. And in developing countries.


There is no “one size-fits all” solution when it comes to sustainable energy.

Policies and technologies will vary from place to place. They will depend on national and local circumstances.

  • In rural India and the Solomon
    Islands solar panels could be the right choice.
  • In Ethiopia, Bhutan and Nepal hydropower could be the right solution.
  • And in Tanzania clean cook stoves could be the best technology to invest in.

Having said this, I think there are three overarching strategies that will promote access to sustainable energy:

First, we need to include sustainable energy in the new goals that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals. 

Sustainable energy for all is an ambitious but achievable goal.


The Millennium Development Goals have been a successful framework.

They have provided a common vision.

Helped us measure progress.

And given clear direction and priorities.


Let us now use a framework of this kind to promote sustainable energy.

Second, the energy sector must be attractive for business.


Developing countries need foreign technology and know-how in order to develop their energy potential. They need foreign investments.

The development of Norway’s energy sector was also helped by foreign companies, they brought with them capital and expertise.

First in the hydropower sector. And later in developing our oil and gas resources.

Foreign business helped us develop our own capacity. Today Norwegian hydropower and oil and gas companies have world-class technologies that are in high demand around the globe. 

Foreign companies invested in Norway because we have a level playing field.

We have a transparent and stable tax and regulatory system.

This is good for the companies because they make a profit, but it is also good for the economy as a whole.


Third, we need to phase out harmful fossil fuel subsidies.

In many countries such subsidies make a big dent in public finances.

They are bad for economic efficiency. And they are bad for the environment.

Fossil fuel subsidies reduce the incentives for promoting energy efficiency. And they give fossil fuels a comparative advantage over renewable energy.


In addition, fossil fuel subsidies do not benefit the poor the most, but those with the highest energy consumption.

So fossil fuel subsidies are also bad for economic distribution.


Ladies and gentlemen,

I welcome the Secretary-General’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative.

I applaud the personal commitment to this agenda shown by the Secretary-General and the World Bank President.

Norway will continue to support your efforts to ensure sustainable energy for all.


Let us today – developed and developing countries alike – send a clear signal that sustainable energy for all is possible.

Thank you. 

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