Oct 22, Dubai: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today advised the world leaders to avoid using food crops for fuel production to prevent the threat to food security and not use agricultural land in search for alternative energy sources.
"We must not let the hunger of alternative energy lead to an increase in hunger for food.... The food energy for peoples' lives should not be made the driving energy for cars," the President said addressing the World Energy Forum in Dubai Monday.
Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum opened the World Energy Forum 2012 opened on Monday at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The high-level international conference is held in Dubai from October 22-24 under the theme of "A Forum for World Leaders" with the participation of world leaders, national energy ministers and industry top leaders.
Describing Sri Lanka's future plans to reduce dependency on imported fossil fuels, the President said Sri Lanka has added wind, solar and dendro power as alternative energy resources.
Sri Lanka seeks to increase the share of renewable energy in power generation to 10 percent in 2015 and to 20 by percent by the end of 2020, the President said adding that conventional energy resources such as hydro-power have enabled Sri Lanka to produce nearly half of its energy requirement through Green means.
However, the President pointed out that alternatives to fossil fuels are not cheap, at least at their initial stages and therefore, developing countries should be encouraged to make correct choices in determining alternative energy resources most beneficial for all in the long term.
He criticized the practices of developed countries using unsustainable and environmentally damaging methods to harness energy and depleting global energy sources in their path to development.
Noting that grave depletion of energy resources, environmental damage and disparities in sharing of energy resources have been resulted from the actions of those countries, the President said today everyone carries the "burden of healing our planet" to ensure sustainable energy use to benefit future generations.
However, this is not a time to blame, the Sri Lankan President said, stressing that the need to consider the aspirations and rights of the developing world in sharing energy resources in a just and equitable manner is a must.
He pointed out that in addition to monetary assistance the transfer of technologies on sustainable energy generation to developing nations is now an imperative because a technology must move into economic viability for developing countries to embrace sustainable and clean energy.
Any policy that would not consider the imbalance in the ability of developed and developing nations to absorb new technologies is likely to be rejected by the people, President Rajapaksa explained.
"It is extremely important to balance the right of every nation to development with our shared desire to have a sustainable and Greener planet," he said.
For the first time, the World Energy Forum has been organized outside the headquarters of the United Nation in New York.
At the forum today an agreement has been signed to declare October 22 of every year as the World Energy Day.
First lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, Parliamentarian Sajin Vas Gunawardena, Member of the Western Provincial Council Naufer Fowsi, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga also participated in today's conference.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)