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Inaugural Meeting of the High Level Coalition on Health and Energy
Statement by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

9 June 2021

Dr. Tedros,

It is an honor to be a part of this distinguished group working to advance genuine and practical solutions on health and energy.

The interlocking environmental crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution are already having a devastating impact on the human rights of millions of people – disproportionately people already in situations of vulnerability.

Access to clean and sustainable energy is essential to the fulfillment of the human right to health, as well as a host of other rights – including to development, to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and indeed, to life itself.

It is vital to a sound and more sustainable recovery from the interlinked health, economic, social and environmental crises that we face.

Better access to safe, clean, sustainable and affordable energy can help remedy inequalities and ensure that environmentally sustainable technologies work to improve people's lives.

It is gratifying to see so many leaders come together to advocate for rapid, sustainable, and equitable change in this area.

I particularly commend the proposed strategic roadmap's incorporation of human rights. As implementation of the roadmap goes forward, I will continue to encourage that this work is equitable, participatory, and prioritizes the rights of those who have least access to clean energy.

I am committed to working through this Coalition, and with our UN and regional partners, Governments, civil society and the private sector, to increase access to safe, clean and sustainable energy for all. My Office will continue to support States in understanding how action on clean energy can unlock tremendous impact on human rights, development and well-being.

This Coalition can help by calling for an end to reliance on coal. By demanding, and enabling, action to fulfil SDG 7 and ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. By clearly articulating how energy poverty harms health and many other human rights. And by amplifying the voices of those who rightly demand equitable access to safe, clean and sustainable energy for their households and communities.

In supporting clean energy for everyone, every member of this Coalition is also working to realize human rights for all

I look forward to working together.