By Joan Erakit
NEW YORK (IDN) – Sharing seems second nature to the Kazakhs, so much so that one cannot attend a meeting at the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the United Nations without being ushered into the dining room.
“It’s is in our tradition. When someone visits your home, you must offer them food and share a meal together,” Ambassador Kairat Umarov told dignitaries gathered at the mission on July 25.
The occasion to break bread was in part to brief fellow missions and UN partners on EXPO 2017 Astana, currently being held in the capital city of Kazakhstan – an exhibition on “Future Energy” that has already seen 1 million visitors since its opening on June 10 2017.
In partnership with Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDs), and Cihan Sultanoğlu, UN Commissioner-General for the Organization’s participation in Expo 2017, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States of UNDP, the Mission of Kazakhstan hosted the Central Asian country’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi in a forum to focus on energy as a tool to eliminate poverty.
“EXPO 2017 is on its way to becoming a legend. By September, when it ends, it will leave behind an immeasurable legacy on how new technologies and innovations can help advanced as well as vulnerable countries to achieve SDG 7 on renewable energy,” said Ambassador Umarov, Kazakhstan’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York.
There is no doubt that renewable energy is something many countries are beginning to prioritize as economies and populations grow. For EXPO 2017, Kazakhstan chose the theme Future Energy to help shepherd the global community in its effort to address energy challenges and to act as a thought partner.
“The vision of Future Energy is to highlight solutions and paths that ensure sustainable energy management,” said Tileuberdi, adding: “These pathways are aimed at combating climate change and reducing CO2 emissions, promoting energy alternatives – renewable energy in particular – and driving energy efficiency programmes, ensuring energy security, managing energy production, storage and use and guaranteeing universal access to sustainable energy.”
During the EXPO, Kazakhstan has followed through with its commitment to collaborate with other countries – most importantly landlocked and small developing countries whose ability to access renewable energy sources is often limited. One of EXPO’s main goals is to demonstrate the importance of equal and fair access to energy sources, taking into consideration poverty, climate, gender equality and social justice. What the EXPO 2017 ‘Future Energy’ is addressing is inclusivity, making it clear that Renewable Energy must be a shared resource among all.
Under-Secretary General ‘Utoikamanu emphasized the need to address energy and energy poverty in the context of LDCs, SIDs, and LLDCs by utilizing information sharing and investment in energy moving forward. “I am convinced that we can end the draining energy poverty in vulnerable countries, if we pool together the know-how and skills we have in the energy sector and share it with vulnerable countries,” said ‘Utoikamanu.
One of the major challenges that initiatives spawned from EXPO 2017 will face is the democratization of access to technologies and tools that promote renewable energy – especially for LDCs, SIDs, and LLDCs. The price of energy is simply too high in some countries, and that the lay woman or man who must rely on energy sources to take care of his/her family cannot benefit from the future energy if it is not equally and fairly accessible.
According to ‘Utoikamanu, this is something that small countries are placing high on their priority list. “Many of the vulnerable countries have already prepared their national strategies and are keen to move forward,” she said, noting that it’s now up to the support of partners to help accelerate the process. “EXPO 2017 has provided an excellent platform to start.”
Of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 7 tackles the energy issue calling for access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
The government of Kazakhstan is not blind to the difficulty of achieving such a goal and therefore hails its EXPO 2017 as a practical first step to working with all interested parties to ensure its success.
“The theme of the EXPO is all the more important, given that today, energy comes from many sources that contribute to climate change. The world must take urgent action to ensure that everyone has access to clean, efficient and affordable sources of energy, and we hope the EXPO will help us resolve these issues and contribute to a more sustainable world,” said Tileuberdi.
With over 100 countries and organizations on display and in an atmosphere of collaboration, EXPO 2017 continues to welcome guests to Astana and its 25-hectare exhibition until September 10. [IDN-InDepthNews – 01 August 2017]
Related article: EXPO 2017 Shows the Way to Sustainable Energy Solutions.
Photo: Ambassador Kairat Umarov, the Kazakh Permanent Representative to the UN, addressing guests as UN Under-Secretary-General Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDs, and KazakhFirst Deputy Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi look on. Credit: Kazakh Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.
IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate