The current tough global economic conditions warrant collective action on energy efficiency and sustainable economic strategies, said Queen Rania of Jordan at the opening of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) .
Addressing a gathering of world leaders and energy industry experts, Queen Rania said: “Nowadays, the world is facing economic times which require sufficient efforts. The unrest amongst the Arab world and the region mostly resulted from issues such as unemployment, lack of education and economic downturn.”
“By being here today , you’re already part of the solution to the global energy crisis...fuelling our future with innovation and humanity. Bringing power, and with it, empowerment, to millions around the world,” said the Queen.
She praised Abu Dhabi’s vision for sustainable energy and its vital role in meeting future requirements.
“I cannot think of a better place for us to gather. Abu Dhabi’s bold vision for sustainable energy is transforming this nation and inspiring our region...at a time when the Arab world is at a critical juncture. No one can predict the future, but this much is true: energy requirements will play a vital role in determining it,” she added.
Queen Rania said the Arab world has the richest and the poorest countries in energy in spite of proximity of energy resources.
“The Arab world includes some of the richest and the poorest countries in terms of energy resources. This stark disparity is evident even in countries that share borders. Despite neighbouring some of the most oil-rich countries, my country, Jordan,  relies on imports to cover 96 per cent of our energy needs,” added the Queen.
She pointed out that the Arab world has another paradox which stems from the poor opportunities being offered to the young generation which led to a wave of unrest in the region.
“Our region hosts yet another contradiction. We’re rich in the energy of our overwhelmingly young population, but poor in the opportunities we can offer them. And we’ve all seen the result of that. Frustrated energies spilling onto the Arab street over the past two years.
She quoted Gallop poll survey on unrest in the region which showed that the majority of Arab youth still place finding a job as their number one priority.
“But in the absence of long-term, sustainable solutions to our energy needs, progress will be slow and uneven. Not just in this region, but everywhere. Today 1.4 billion people, one in five in the world, still cannot access grid electricity. For a billion more, access is unreliable,” the Queen stated.
She added that without sustainable energy, there can be no sustainable development as “energy is humanity’s lifeblood; where it flows, prosperity burgeons. Where it stalls, the impoverished and disadvantaged languish...burdened by multiple challenges.”
Queen Rania said that the most crippling effects of energy poverty are felt by children. It is a cruel irony that those who’ve had the least to do with climate change and energy crises are paying the highest price.