Welcome remarks at IEA Ministerial 2017

Ibrahim Baylan, Swedish Minister for Policy Coordination and Energy, Paris, 7 November 2017.

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Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues,

It is my honour and privilege to open this 2017 IEA Ministerial meeting. This meeting gathers Ministers from IEA Member countries, and IEA Accession, Association and Partner countries, as well as top leaders from the energy sector through the Energy Business Council.

This year's meeting takes place at a critical time. We have never lived a more modern and comfortable life, yet we see famine, wars and weather disasters hit our planet and people. It's therefore so very important that we continue to further pursue global ambitions on energy security, clean energy, strengthened international cooperation and broader policy objectives such as the Paris Agreement.

Let us start by putting our work here at the IEA in perspective.

According to recent IEA analysis, roughly 1.1 billion people still lack access to modern forms of energy. And traditional forms of solid biomass used for cooking causes up to 2.8 million premature deaths annually, mainly affecting women and children.

These are issues that some of you in this room have experienced first-hand, as have I when growing up as a young boy in a remote village in South-East Turkey before coming to Sweden.

Looking at the issue of basic energy access paints a broader picture on the theme of this Ministerial: "Energy Security for Sustainable Global Growth."

Energy access and the productive use of modern energy are prerequisites for economic development. But it also bears with it consequences on human health and environmental sustainability.

The transition to clean energy is necessary. Not only for bringing energy to all but to do it in a sustainable way. And for the first time in history, we have the possibility to do this. Costs for renewables are dropping rapidly, digitalisation and automation enables further energy efficiencies.

Especially digitalisation is an area where much headway has been made recently. I believe we are at a tipping point for astonishing achievements by combining new digital solutions with increased electrification. We are at a time when it is not just possible but also economically viable and beneficial to transition into a clean energy future.

But conditions vary considerably among countries, and there is no global silver bullet. Our mutual efforts for international collaboration on secure and clean energy systems must recognise the need for a range of solutions to ensure the most cost-effective transitions.

Diversification of energy production utilising local resources is an important driver for increased energy security, decentralised economic activity and robust and resilient energy systems.

Managing this transition, or these transitions, require correct analyses and policies to enable new knowledge, new technologies and new business models.

We have a rare opportunity at hand. If we seize this moment and steadily pave the way for the best possible conditions for our energy markets and businesses, we will be able to look back at this time in history as a major game changer.

We will see this time as the changing period when we for the first time in history could give our people access to modern energy, and to do it in a way that is not harming our health or our environment. In short: bolstering energy security for sustainable global growth.

Thank you.