His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: October 22 will never be the same again – it will rather be observed as the World Energy Day every year, it was announced at the World Energy Forum on Monday.

With this, Dubai has once again created history, officials at the World Energy Forum said.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, led the signing ceremony of the International Declaration for the World Energy Day along with 24 heads of states and governments participating at the three-day World Energy Forum, which started in Dubai on Monday.

Announcing the initiative, Dr Harold Harold Hyunsuk Oh, President and Chairman of World Energy Forum, said, “On July 22 this year, when we met His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid in Dubai he announced that the first day of World Energy Forum of this year, which is October 22, will be marked as the World Energy Day, every year, following its endorsement. Today we are witnessing a new beginning in the move for a new energy civilization.”

The initiative, launched by World Energy Forum, has secured instant support for 24 countries, and if endorsed by others, could become the World Energy Day every year. October 22 joins April 22 – that is celebrated globally as Earth Day and June 5 – observed as the World Environment Day.

Earth Day is an annual day on which events are held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth's natural environment. Now Earth Day is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year.

World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated every year on 5th June to raise global awareness of the need to take positive environmental action. It is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

It was the day that United Nations Conference on the Human Environment began. The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was from June 5 to 16, 1972.

It was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. The first World Environment Day was in 1973. World Environment Day is hosted every year by a different city with a different theme and is commemorated with an international exposition in the week of 5 June.

The event marks the beginning of a new era marking a third day – October 22 – as the World Energy Day.

The prestigious event is taking place outside the United States for the first time.

In his keynote speech, Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Deputy Ruler, said the World Energy Forum 2012 is an ideal platform to share the best practices among world countries in the field of energy.

“The forum will increase the mutual cooperation as well as knowledge and expertise exchange among world countries seeking tangible progress towards cleaner, safer, and more sustainable energy that enhance the social development.”

Leaders from member states of the United Nations, international organisations and over two thousand delegates, scores of national energy ministers and top leaders from the industry and corporations are taking part in the forum.

Energy poverty is holding back the potential of people and economies across the globe but concerted efforts by countries can plug impoverished communities into the future, said officials at the World Energy Forum on Monday.

Wu Hongbo on behalf of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, pledged to fight energy poverty in his opening keynote address at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre  on Monday.

“One if five people lack access to electricity and some 2.7 billion people depend on wood or animal waste for cooking at a great cost to human and environmental health,” Hongbo told delegates.

With climate change looming as a growing threat across the planet, Hongbo said “sustainability energy is the golden threat naturally for these challenges. We believe it can support economic growth, social equality and healthier environment.”

The promise of sustainable energy is critical, delegates heard, given that the world is expected to see its energy consumption grow by 70 per cent over the next 25 years.

Despite increasing electricity generating projects being constructed around the world, people do not have the luxury of lighted homes or electric cooking, leading to abject poverty and reduced.

In addition to marking October 22 every year as World Energy Day, Hongpo said other conferences and advisory board efforts by the UN and member countries are making a difference.

Dr. Harold Hyunsuk Oh, President and Chairman of the World Energy Forum, told delegates that no one should be without electricity.

He proposed that “energy access should be a fundamental right for every person…and should be made a priority by highest authorities in every land.”

Hyunsuk said the “world is going through an unprecedented energy transformation” from fossil fuels to all kinds of new renewable energy such as solar and wind.

Despite the evolution, he noted that “almost half of the population relies on biomass for its daily energy needs…to light up the world, we need more than business as usual.”

Hyunsuk said the world needs a “new paradigm” and introduced his concept of what he called the formation of a new smart energy movement, a new initiative taken up by World Energy Forum.

Just such a movement is being urged of all energy producers and consumers to re-examine how we produce and use energy in an environment that can no longer afford the daily consumerism demands of seven billion people in the ways of yesteryear.

Hyunsuk said the world needs to begin smart energy practices and work on a number of fronts ranging from energy conservation, efficiency, reducing environmental impact and encouraging investment in the energy sector.

“Everyone is invited to participate in the smart energy movement,” he said.
To properly gauge the success of the new movement proposed by the WEF, he said that a new smart energy index that will record key points, global progress and make recommendations for the future, he said.

The new index will be guided by a committee comprised of scientists and experts.

Earlier, Shaikh Mohammad received heads of delegations participating at the Forum.

Welcoming the UAE guests, Shaikh Mohammad hoped that the Forum will achieve its aspirations of providing peoples with sustainable energy.

Also present at the meeting were Shaikh Maktoum; Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy; Dr Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water; Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaibani, Director of Dubai Ruler's Court, and several other top officials and dignitaries.