UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched on Monday an initiative designating 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, with the aim of reaching its set goals by 2030.
He called on governments, the private sector and civil society to actively support his initiative, at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
"This is the right time for this initiative," he said.
The plan has three goals -- ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
The UN chief said he had appointed a "high-level group from business, finance, government and civil society to spearhead action on the initiative."
"It is neither just nor sustainable that one person in five still lacks access to modern electricity," he told participants.
"It is not acceptable that three billion people have to rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating," he added.
Explore further: The winners and losers in Tesla's battery plan for the home