SUMMARY OF THE FIRST SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL FORUM 4-6 JUNE 2014
The first Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Forum convened from 4-6 June 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The Forum’s 1000 participants assessed progress on sustainable energy since the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012, showcased successes, shared best practices, presented new commitments, and catalyzed action to help shape the global energy debate for the next decade.
On the first day of the Forum, representatives from governments, UN agencies, international organizations, the private sector and civil society attended 46 different parallel panel discussions featuring over 200 speakers. During the second day, a Global Leadership Dialogue was convened through global leaders’ panels; the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2024 was officially launched, with the first two years to focus on energy for women and children’s health; and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) launched REmap 2030, a renewable energy road map to double the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix between 2010 and 2030. On the final day, ministers, government delegates and other stakeholders addressed energy in the post-2015 development agenda.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SE4ALL
In December 2010, the General Assembly adopted resolution 65/151, declaring 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. The resolution also requested the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with relevant agencies in the UN system and UN-Energy, to organize and coordinate activities to be undertaken during the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. In that resolution, the General Assembly recognized that access to modern affordable energy services in developing countries was essential for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and sustainable development, which would help reduce poverty and improve the conditions and standard of living for the majority of the world’s population.
In response to resolution 65/151, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative to mobilize action from all sectors of society to realize sustainable energy for all by 2030. The Secretary-General set three interlinked objectives to be achieved by 2030: providing universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
In September 2011, to guide the work carried out under the SE4ALL initiative, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed a High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All, comprising global leaders from around the world. Drawn from the business and financial sectors, governments, civil society and the UN system, the group has worked to mobilize a broad range of stakeholders to catalyze commitments and form partnerships to support achieving the SE4ALL targets. The Chair of the SE4ALL Executive Committee is Charles “Chad” Holliday, Chair of Bank of America. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the initiative is Kandeh Yumkella, Chair of UN-Energy and former Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
GLOBAL ACTION AGENDA: The Global Action Agenda was developed and endorsed by the High-level Group in April 2012. It provides a strategy for governments, the private sector and civil society to engage with the UN as a convening platform where key stakeholders from both developing and developed countries can mobilize commitments, foster new public-private partnerships and leverage the investments needed to make the transformative changes to the world’s energy systems.
The Global Action Agenda identifies 11 “action areas” that provide a framework for organizing collaborative efforts across all relevant sectors. The action areas are classified into “sectoral action areas” and “enabling action areas.” The sectoral action areas are: (a) modern cooking appliances and fuels; (b) distributed electricity solutions; (c) grid infrastructure and supply efficiency; (d) large-scale renewable power; (e) industrial and agricultural processes; (f) transportation; and (g) buildings and appliances. The enabling action areas are: (a) energy planning and policies; (b) business model and technology innovation; (c) finance and risk management; and (d) capacity-building and knowledge-sharing.
INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL: During 2012, numerous activities and initiatives were undertaken in support of SE4ALL. The roll-out of the International Year took place at the World Future Energy Summit held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from 16-19 January 2012. Between February and May there were regional roll-outs in Asia (New Delhi, India on 1 February 2012), Europe (Brussels, Belgium on 8 February 2012), Africa (Nairobi, Kenya on 18 February 2012), for small island development States (Bridgetown, Barbados from 7-8 May 2012), and the Pacific (Suva, Fiji on 18 May 2012).
At Rio+20, sustainable energy for all was a consistent, high-profile theme. Several high-level side events on the issue were organized. Significant commitments to action in support of the achievement of sustainable energy for all were announced and were included in the online Conference registry of voluntary commitments. The Conference outcome document, “The Future We Want” also takes note of the SE4ALL initiative and the determination of stakeholders to make sustainable energy for all a reality. Numerous UN agencies and other organizations also sponsored events throughout the year (see the Secretary-General’s report on the International Year in document A/67/314).
INTERNATIONAL DECADE ON SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL: In December 2012, the UN General Assembly declared 2014-2024 as the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All. Resolution 67/215 calls upon Member States to galvanize efforts to make universal access to sustainable modern energy services a priority. The resolution stresses the need to improve access to reliable, affordable, economically-viable, socially-acceptable and environmentally-sound energy services and resources for sustainable development.
The Assembly calls upon governments, as well as relevant international and regional organizations and other relevant stakeholders, to combine, as appropriate, the increased use of new and renewable energy resources, more efficient use of energy, greater reliance on advanced energy technologies, including cleaner fossil fuel technologies, and the sustainable use of traditional energy resources, to meet the increasing need for energy services.
SE4ALL FORUM SUMMARY
The first Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Forum opened on Wednesday morning, 4 June 2014. Chad Holliday, Chair, SE4ALL Executive Committee, explained that SE4ALL has three goals—access, efficiency and renewable energy—and with World Bank leadership and support from other organizations, it is measuring progress to ensure it has an impact.
Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, stressed the important role of young people as innovators, consumers and voters, who contribute in a meaningful way to development at large. Reema Nanavaty, Self-Employed Women’s Association, noted that rural women demonstrate how energy can transform lives, and argued for a platform through SE4ALL that enables poor people and women as users, owners and managers of energy devices. Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth, noted that indigenous communities are in the most remote, least electrified and poorest areas of North America, and called for a just, “graceful” transition to renewables, and less investment in and fewer subsidies for fossil fuels.
MULTI-STAKEHOLDER PARTNERSHIPS DAY
After the opening plenary, the Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships Day began with parallel panel discussions under six different themes. The following is a summary of the ideas that emerged during the day. For more details, see IISD’s daily coverage at http://www.iisd.ca/energy/se4all/2014f/html/crsvol181num5e.html.
GROWING THE MOVEMENT: Under this theme, several panels convened to address how civil society organizations and stakeholders can engage in advocacy campaigns and outreach under the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All. Thematically, the panels addressed two general issues: reasons for engaging civil society, and ways for women, youth and business partners to participate in the SE4ALL process.
On the need to engage civil society, some panelists explained that civil society has demonstrated a demand to participate fully in SE4ALL. However, others noted that more capacity and resources are needed to reach full participation and engagement.
Panelists considered ways to leverage multi-stakeholder partnerships based on the progress and lessons learned from Rio+20 SE4ALL commitments. As one example, it was noted that local entrepreneurship in the area of off-grid electrification has provided maximum impact, and has triggered the broader solar market. Some panelists described examples of successful initiatives on increasing involvement of women, youth and business partners in the SE4ALL process. Others noted the many risks confronting business and the importance of national policy development for building an effective international framework. In terms of youth engagement, it was noted that youth play an important role in facilitating the transition to a sustainable energy future.
CATALYZING INVESTMENT THROUGH INNOVATIVE BUSINESS MODELS: Under this theme, speakers noted the SE4ALL Energy Access Committee’s recommendation to pursue off-grid, decentralized, bottom-up energy solutions and smaller-scale technologies. Participants called for more support from the public sector, which could take the form of, inter alia: reducing risks for small- and medium-scale renewable energy projects, such as solar; and reducing costs to operators, in order to engage smaller providers and ensure distributive access. It was noted that fuel economy policies have already improved fuel efficiency.
Panelists highlighted that the private sector also has a role to play in complementing development finance and innovative financing for deployment, by scaling up investment for energy efficiency, which needs incremental investment of US$300 billion, and by advancing fuel efficiency technologies. They also noted that collaboration between energy providers and microfinance institutions could strengthen supply.
Speakers suggested local financial institutions could support the long-term sustainability of clean energy mini-grids and that the cost and complexity of mini-grids will fall as they achieve scale and standardization, while highlighting lack of capacity of financial intermediaries as a challenge for accelerating energy efficiency.
Clean cookstoves served as a case study on this topic, with participants discussing the need to build market demand and attract investment, and ensure not only the broad availability of stoves but also their adoption by users. Speakers cited the need for “patient capital” to encourage growth, and the close involvement of women at every stage to ensure success.
One panelist gave SolarAid as another example of an innovative business model, describing it as an organization that unites both commercial and advocacy work. Speakers also highlighted pay-per-use approaches to energy access, rather than consumers’ needing to own an entire system.
PARALLEL MULTI-STAKEHOLDER SESSIONS: A series of multi-stakeholder panels addressed issues related to: women’s empowerment; research and analysis; energy efficiency; wind for prosperity; and renewable energy, using Brazil as a case study. Many panelists underscored the academic and analytical developments in the areas of energy demand and energy efficiency policy. Several research developments and reports were discussed, including: the SE4ALL Knowledge Hub; Global Energy Assessment through the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis; and State of Energy Access Report through the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program.
Other panelists offered their on-the-ground insights, with one panelist describing the life of Indian salt workers and how 70% of earnings used to go to buying diesel. She explained that, through solar pumps, salt workers have been able to dramatically increase income and savings. Stakeholders also discussed the transition to energy efficient appliances and equipment, specifically addressing national energy efficiency success stories. A Global Platform to accelerate the transition to efficient appliances and equipment was launched as part of this discussion.
SHARING KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCES, DEVELOPING CAPACITY: Panels discussed several specific initiatives and reports, including the Energy Access Practitioner Network, the 2014 Poor People’s Energy Outlook Report, the SE4ALL Capacity Building Hub called “Specialized Training, Education and Experiential Resources (STEER),” and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century’s (REN21) Global Renewables 2014 Global Status Report.
Many panelists highlighted activities at the local level, such as the provision of finance to local entrepreneurs and rural areas, and small-scale, decentralized energy projects, while also emphasizing the importance of multi-stakeholder processes and private sector engagement. Recurrent themes were the importance of empowering women, and the linkages between energy access and health, water, food production, and transport. Several participants emphasized the need for a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on securing sustainable energy for all, and said targets on renewables and energy efficiency need to be more ambitious than current ones in order to keep global temperature increases below 2°C.
ACCELERATING COUNTRY ACTION: During the parallel sessions on this theme, governments, regional development banks, international organizations and other stakeholders described different country-level initiatives. They noted that sustainable energy is not another aid problem, but is about investments and business models, and public policy is needed to incentivize the process.
Government initiatives discussed included:
- the Tonga Energy Roadmap;
- promoting access to energy in Tanzania;
- Nicaragua’s progress in renewable energy generation and efficiency;
- Ghana’s work on access to energy and challenges with off-grid electrification;
- energy infrastructure development in Rwanda;
- Senegal’s energy strategy and rural electrification programmes;
- Guinea’s investment prospectus, which involves expanding the electricity network, using mini-grids, and expanding off-grid services to remote areas;
- Bangladesh’s Investment Prospectus Framework and Vision 2021 “electricity for all” plan; and
- Guatemala’s strategy on clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions.
Donors and the private sector called for: more education; the use of development assistance to leverage public and private funds for energy development; increased access to finance and the inclusion of local financial institutions; innovative finance; development of outcome monitoring; the right kind of business model; risk mitigation; and making projects commercially viable.
One panel examined the international energy and climate initiative, Energy+,which aims to fund energy access, renewable energy, and energy efficiency in low-income developing countries.
Other speakers noted the need for political leadership, sustained commitment and an enabling policy environment. Regional energy partnerships for the promotion of sustainable industrial development and regional cooperation for scaling up access to modern energy were also mentioned. Some spoke about the roles of parliamentarians and public-private partnerships in accelerating national action. At the local level, it was noted that civil society can provide a “reality check” of policies’ effectiveness, and that local communities, small enterprises, incubation centers in rural and semi-rural areas, and local entrepreneurs are all important parts of the solution.
ADVISORY BOARD AND GLOBAL LEADERSHIP DIALOGUE ON SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL
TEN YEARS TO TRANSFORM THE WORLD’S ENERGY: UN DECADE OF SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL 2014-2024: On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that as a result of SE4ALL’s efforts, a growing number of people “have light and power where there was none before.” He sees this Forum as an annual meeting place for the global energy community, where it can assess progress and mobilize new partners, in order to shape a new energy future.
Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, speaking via video message, conveyed the World Bank Group’s commitment to working with participants during the “action phase” of SE4ALL. UN General Assembly President John Ashe welcomed the launch of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, noting progress already made to consider a standalone goal on sustainable energy for all in the current draft of the proposed SDGs. Iceland’s President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson offered his country as an example of how clean energy can provide a solid foundation for economic growth, based on Iceland’s generation of 100% of its electricity and heating from sustainable energy sources.
Other speakers, including Andris Piebalgs, European Union (EU), Zhang Yuqing, National Energy Administration, China, Helen Clark, UN Development Programme (UNDP), Luis Alberto Moreno, Inter-American Development Bank, and Suma Chakrabarti, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, supported the global launch of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All. They highlighted the linkages between access to sustainable energy and poverty reduction, and the need for commitment, investment-friendly markets and innovative solutions to provide universal access to sustainable energy.
THIRD MEETING OF THE SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL ADVISORY BOARD: This session reported on the work of the SE4ALL Advisory Board and Committees. Chad Holliday emphasized that action is needed in the next five years to fundamentally change the energy system in a sustainable way by 2030, stressing the need to examine whether the risk-reward ratio of actions taken is right. SE4ALL CEO Kandeh Yumkella highlighted the need to align politics, policy, pricing and partnerships, and called for investments of US$600-800 billion per year over the next two decades to achieve the SE4ALL “energy revolution.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that there is clear evidence that doubling the share of renewable energy is economically viable and beneficial to all.
Participants also heard reports from the various committees of the SE4ALL Advisory Board.
GLOBAL LEADERSHIP DIALOGUE: On Thursday, six global leadership dialogues were held. For more details, see IISD’s daily coverage at http://www.iisd.ca/energy/se4all/2014f/html/crsvol181num6e.html
Catalyzing Large Scale Financing and Investment for Sustainable Energy for All: This panel examined how to bridge the gap between the needs of investors and the required US$600-800 billion to achieve the SE4ALL targets. Participants set forth a number of recommendations, including:
- targeting the growth areas of proceeds bonds, municipal green bonds, project bonds, and asset-backed securities;
- focusing on four thematic areas that need attention to close the funding gap: green bonds; development finance institution private risk sharing; aggregation; and insurance;
- instituting favorable tax treatment to make renewable energy more competitive;
- using local commercial banks that can play an aggregating role and scale up energy efficiency projects;
- integrating markets, energy sources, and public and private efforts; and
- developing a global programme to advance credit worthiness of utilities.
One panelist underscored the need for a new, 21st-century paradigm for engaging communities and civil society during the project design process to include environmental values and stability. Another stressed the importance of a clear policy and regulatory framework, as well as incentives, to attract investors.
The Energy Linkages: This panel discussed linkages between sustainable energy and other issue areas, highlighting the central role of energy for all facets of sustainable development. Panelists paid particular attention to the energy-women nexus, stressing the need to recognize women not only in terms of the disproportionate impact on them, but also as agents of change and enablers of SE4ALL goals. They commended efforts to expand energy access to women and children, including through UN efforts such as the collaboration on women’s health and energy between UN Women, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Foundation.
Speakers provided specific examples, such as on cookstoves, “solar suitcases” and electric spinning wheels, to show that clean energy interventions can provide health, environmental, economic, and security benefits. Some participants stressed the importance of political will to achieve the benefits of these nexuses and called for closer inter-ministry collaboration to engage relevant government departments in energy policy development. Others noted that new types of risk, such as climate change and severe weather events, will change the perspective on energy infrastructure development, and underscored the importance of national energy policies, which half of the world’s countries have not yet developed.
Doubling the Share of Renewables in the Global Energy Mix: Several speakers stressed that this target is achievable, noting the reduction in solar costs by 70-80% in recent years, and that costs have come down enough for subsidies to also come down. Others drew attention to constraints or conditions: developed countries will need regulation to enable the shift to renewables; political leadership at the highest level is needed to reduce financing risk; and while technology is “taking care of itself,” the high cost of financing remains a constraint.
One speaker highlighted solar as a major wealth creation opportunity, but said the cost of capital hinders its growth. Participants debated whether solar and wind can drive the doubling of renewables in the global energy mix. These sources play a larger role in countries that focus their energy system on electricity, said one. Another said biomass will be a major part of achieving the target, given its current high share in the renewables mix. One speaker expressed disappointment in the current cost of capital and high risk premiums placed on investments, despite the performance record of renewables in developing countries.
Ensuring Universal Access to Modern Energy Services: This panel identified some of the challenges and opportunities that face the SE4ALL objective of ensuring universal energy access. The panelists identified barriers that hinder access and opportunities for overcoming them, specifically through case studies.
On opportunities to overcome energy barriers, panelists considered the need to: coordinate policies that affect energy issues; establish appropriate tariffs, prices and policies for stability and affordability; and close the “infrastructure gap” in Africa through finance. One panelist underscored the need to expedite energy access through capacity building, technology development and formation of “unusual partnerships.” Another emphasized that the successful delivery of electricity to remote rural households can transform the lives of poor communities, especially youth and women.
Panelists also noted that access to energy grids, while important, is not enough to solve the problem entirely; innovative solutions for affordability are needed to ensure access.
Doubling the Global Rate of Improvement in Energy Efficiency: Participants considered ways for both private enterprises and governments to support energy efficiency. They noted that private enterprises need to see a higher rate of return from investing in energy efficiency projects, before they will take an interest in providing financing. On the role of governments, speakers highlighted urban planning for renewable energy, enforcing building codes for energy efficiency and encouraging companies to create jobs in green energy technology. Participants noted many governments’ lack of financial capacity to incentivize the private sector.
Several areas for public-private collaboration were suggested, including: a combination of credits provided by private enterprises, with subsidies provided by state institutions; education for both sectors; and cooperation to reduce gas flaring. One mentioned the importance of partnerships among governments.
Catalyzing Bottom-up Financing and Investment for Sustainable Energy for All: This panel discussed reaching the poor and improving sustainable energy for all at the “bottom of the pyramid.” Participants stressed that different categories of poor people have different finance needs. Drawing from concrete country initiatives and projects, panelists identified the need for:
- rural banks and finance for rural entrepreneurs;
- government to make energy more affordable, accessible and reliable;
- engagement with the private sector;
- more innovative financing solutions, such as mobile phone and pay-as-you-go technology for finance;
- communities to organize themselves, for example through integrated grids that communities own and manage;
- upfront capital investments and strong leadership to support countries in special situations;
- measures to accelerate renewable energy use through incentives such as feed-in tariffs for geothermal and photovoltaic energy;
- attention to cultural and policy requirements for each type of energy within a larger “energy ecosystem”; and
- cross-sectoral policy conversations enabling ministers of energy, health and agriculture to develop energy policy together.
THE HUMAN FACE OF SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL: ENERGY, WOMEN, CHILDREN AND YOUTH
On Thursday, Lynn Featherstone, UK, announced the global campaign on sustainable energy for women and children’s health, saying that women and girls bear the brunt of energy poverty. Mark Lyall Grant, UK, welcomed this special focus for the first two years of the UN Decade on Sustainable Energy for All, noting that the SE4ALL Global Facilitation Team is designing the campaign and everyone is welcome to participate.
Hans Brattskar, Norway, noted the large change in gender equality and women’s empowerment in Norway over the last 40 years, through civil society engagement, political decisions and investments in education and healthcare. Helen Clark, UNDP, said access to energy is not an end in itself but a means to improving human development. Lakshmi Puri, UN Women, called for access to energy to be considered a human right, and noted the importance of mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment in energy policies at all levels.
Babatunde Osotimehin, UN Population Fund (UNFPA), linked maternal and infant mortality to lack of electricity in hospitals and clinics, and called for public-private partnerships to fill the gap in services critical to women and children. Maria Neira, WHO, addressed global conditions for air pollution and health, noting that each year more than four million people die prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution through increased risk of pneumonia, stroke, pulmonary disease and lung cancer.
REMAP 2030 LAUNCH
On Thursday, IRENA launched REmap 2030, a road map to doubling the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix by 2030. Adnan Amin, IRENA, said the 36% renewable energy target is both ambitious and realistic, and REmap 2030 provides an operational framework to reach the target.
Amin noted cost declines for renewables, and said the overall transition will cost less than half of current spending on fossil fuels, and generate health, environmental and climate-related savings. The report also finds that the resulting energy mix could limit global temperature rise, and that renewable energy has already created 6.5 million jobs.
HIGH-LEVEL MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE: ENERGY IN THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
Kandeh Yumkella opened Friday morning’s session and said the Forum has demonstrated that the three SE4ALL targets are achievable, make economic sense, and help the environment, noting that the remaining challenge is to speed up implementation of actions. He welcomed the inclusion of energy as the seventh proposed SDG in the post-2015 development agenda.
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Martin Sajdik said the success of the Forum will have considerable impact on the final shaping of the post-2015 development agenda. He stressed the linkage between investments and the rule of law, adding that an accountable legal system is a precondition for stable and transparent investments.
Felipe Calderón, former President of Mexico, and Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, described the choice between economic growth and tackling climate change as a “false dilemma.” He said the Commission will issue a report in September 2014 demonstrating that it is feasible to achieve both. To maximize this outcome, he suggested, inter alia: building better cities; avoiding unsustainable technologies in favor of low-carbon, modern approaches; ensuring larger government investment in research and development so that renewable energy generation will become cheaper than generating fossil fuel energy; and stopping deforestation.
Iceland’s President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson urged an energy transformation that is “small-scale, simple, practical and incremental,” highlighting that innovations and cost reductions in technologies allow individual households to “become their own energy companies.” He called for bringing existing technologies to all people, and promoting research and development for a “solar Apollo project” to reduce the costs of solar technology and storage systems.
Ministerial Statements: Burkina Faso stressed the need for, inter alia: sustainable supply of electrical power, which will be achieved by developing connections with other countries; increased access to electrical services; promotion of renewable energy; and rational management of demand for energy, including through updated studies on the consumption of firewood. Côte d’Ivoire said he would like to see continued investments for structural, regional, and national projects to be part of sustainable energy for all.
Nicaragua called for new patterns of consumption and production to balance the global population with a planet of limited resources. He outlined Nicaragua’s efforts to provide reliable energy supply including through renewable sources. Rwanda said its energy mix is 50% renewables and 50% diesel, and that the latter is costly, especially for a land-locked country. He expressed a wish to learn from others on promoting biomass alternatives.
Tanzania urged SE4ALL to focus on Africa, highlighting that energy is a powerful driver for long-term economic growth, which is necessary to address poverty reduction and socio-economic development. Turkmenistan highlighted the importance of international attention to the reliable transit of energy and its role in sustainable development, recalling two UN General Assembly resolutions adopted on this topic in 2008 and 2013.
Brazil said it is giving priority to solar and photovoltaic options for energy production, and celebrating the success of its Light for All programme, which has supplied electricity to more than 15 million people. China stressed the need for: a clean and safe energy strategy; high-efficiency, modern energy solutions; and the development of solar and other renewable energy sources.
The Gambia said it has been chosen as a SE4ALL pilot country for West Africa, and expressed hope that small-scale renewable energy projects in the country will become a baseline for meeting renewable energy goals in off-grid communities. Guatemala said primary energy comprises 55% of its consumption, while renewables remain high-cost and, therefore, are not accessible to the population or profitable for investors. He called for the post-2015 agenda to include a platform to facilitate the transfer of technology, research and development.
Ireland emphasized the importance of including an energy target in the post-2015 development agenda, including a specific focus on women and the most vulnerable people, while also highlighting that 2020-2030 will be critical for the EU in its transition to a low-carbon economy. Nigeria highlighted national and regional efforts in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and noted that the recent reform of the country’s power sector has created new opportunities for investors.
Norway identified the following priority areas: good governance, including the rule of law and independent justice systems; education, in particular for girls; and gender equality from both an economic and a human rights perspective. He also underscored the need for a framework for more predictable financing. Romania said that energy price volatility, climate change and reduced access to low-carbon technologies can hamper the achievement of the SE4ALL goals.
The Holy See said true sustainable energy for all requires a “radical” paradigm shift in behavior and view of the economy and development, and called for prioritizing energy consumption and distribution on the basis of justice and solidarity. Greenland said: sustainable energy solutions are a challenge and the country cannot be a “first mover” in providing technological solutions; and it depends on technology for clean energy at reasonable costs.
Government Statements: Slovakia noted the strong links between energy services and the MDGs, and supported a standalone goal on energy in the SDGs. Azerbaijan emphasized its national strategy for the development of alternative and renewable energy sources, with a particular focus on solar and wind energy, despite being a gas-rich country.
Denmark noted that while its economy has grown by 78%, energy consumption has remained more or less the same, and noted that the SE4ALL Energy Efficiency Hub was initiated to play a role in achieving efficiency goals. Italy described its regional activities, including the Italy-Africa initiative, which aims to strengthen relationships with Africa through priority areas of energy, the environment, and infrastructure.
Kazakhstan said Astana EXPO 2017 will have the theme “Future Energy,” and highlighted his government’s actions for an environmentally-friendly and energy-secure world, with an emphasis on inclusiveness, social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication. Kenya welcomed the dedication of the first two years of the UN Decade to women’s and children’s health, and said participants in the Forum should commit themselves to implementation.
Colombia noted that the current production system based on highly polluting fossil fuels demands the development of a new global energy matrix based on sustainable sources of energy, and highlighted Colombia’s challenges of using hydropower, as well as efforts to assess other sources, such as wind, solar and geothermal energy. Kyrgyzstan noted its national strategy for sustainable development, with particular attention to hydropower and the creation of a favorable environment for investments in this area, while also expressing hope that the development of sustainable energy will be reflected in the post-2015 development agenda.
The Netherlands stressed the need for governments, NGOs, and business actors to work together, offering the work of Philips Lighting and its partnerships with national governments as an example. Pakistan welcomed the integration of energy into the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda, and said that the Forum will provide a global roadmap for mobilizing domestic and foreign capital for delivering energy commitments, especially to the poorest and most vulnerable.
Peru said sustainable energy must be a basic part of the post-2015 development agenda, and highlighted the country’s plans to provide renewable energy sources to its entire population by 2021, the bicentennial of its independence. Solomon Islands said investing in renewable energy is “the most cost-effective way to guarantee humanity’s survival,” calling for a UN system-wide approach to investment, including through the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and UNDP country programmes. She said the post-2015 development agenda must enable and incentivize global partnerships for energy efficiency and renewable technologies.
Spain noted that it is the first country where wind energy has become the primary technology for generating electricity, and expressed support for the inclusion of sustainable energy in the post-2015 development agenda. Uganda expressed support for a standalone SDG on ensuring access to affordable, sustainable and reliable modern energy services for all, while highlighting its efforts to further develop hydropower, and rural and urban electrification projects through grid extensions, mini-grids and photovoltaic solar home systems.
Belarus urged a new strategic look at energy issues that is more systematic, coherent, and effective, noting that this should be included in work towards a post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Indonesia said that it has set a target of increasing the share of renewable energy in the national energy mix by 23% in the next ten years. Malaysia highlighted, inter alia, its efforts for energy efficiency in manufacturing and building, and its 2015 rural electrification target. He called on SE4ALL members to present solid deliverables at the next Forum.
New Zealand, where renewables provide 80% of electricity, supported the six proposed targets for sustainable energy as part of the post-2015 development agenda, and said local community participation is an essential component in providing sustainable energy for all. The Russian Federation highlighted the absence of international institutions dealing with stability of energy supply and transit, accidents at energy facilities, and international energy cooperation, and called SE4ALL a forum for open and non-politicized expert discussion, while noting the inadequacy of the institutional framework to implement its objectives.
Sierra Leone noted its investments in hydroelectricity, thermal, solar and bioenergy, and its engagement in regional collaborative projects on power transmission. Myanmar noted that its electrification rate is only 13% and that a majority of households depend on solid fuels. He promoted energy independence, grid expansion and energy efficiency.
Nepal underscored the role of sustainable energy in realizing its commitment to graduate from least developed country (LDC) status by 2020. Zimbabwe said its Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation identifies renewable energy as a key element of development, shared his country’s goal of becoming energy secure using natural resources, and conveyed its commitment to increasing private sector investment in the energy sector, including in renewables.
Barbados said her country is striving for a viable renewable energy and energy efficiency sector as part of its green economy efforts, and to help reduce imports of fossil fuels. Tonga highlighted the country’s energy insecurity, high dependence on fossil fuels, weak energy sector, and low investments in renewable energy, which has adverse impacts on other sectors, and emphasized the importance of developing the Pacific Regional Data Repository.
The United Arab Emirates called sustainable energy the only way to decouple economic growth and climate change, and emphasized its engagement with the shift towards renewable energy and energy efficiency, including US$750 million in grants and soft loans for renewable energy projects in developing countries in 2013. Australia described its efforts to address energy during its 2014 G20 presidency, adding that the G20 will focus on ways to, inter alia, bolster energy efficiency and build resilience of gas markets.
Egypt discussed its efforts towards a “Master Plan of Renewable Energy in Egypt,” which will begin by connecting wind and solar energy to the grid. Japan noted that it is a “crucial moment to inspire the world,” and discussed initiatives it has taken under the strategy to implement Actions for Cool Earth, which focuses on furthering technical innovation and low-carbon technology, and pledges assistance to developing countries of ¥1.6 trillion from 2013 to 2015.
Niger said Africa has enormous natural resources but populations live in “intense energy precariousness,” and good governance and management of the resources must be brought to bear. He added that exploiting even a small percentage of Niger’s potential solar power would make the country self-sufficient. Turkey highlighted that energy, while absent from the MDGs, is now considered a key part of the international development agenda, and said it should be recognized that countries can choose appropriate paths to sustainable energy according to national priorities and common but differentiated responsibilities and capacities.
Maldives emphasized that small island developing States contribute the least to climate change, yet are among the most vulnerable, and called for partnerships for technology provision, investor-friendly policies, and engagement of the private sector. The United Kingdom underscored the importance of access to electricity for the livelihoods of women and children.
International Organizations’ and NGOs’ Statements: TheUN Economic Commission for Europe stressed the need to “get the rules of the game right,” in order to improve the technical, economic, environmental and social efficiency of the entire energy system.
WHO proposed defining health-related indicators to measure energy access in terms of “how much health you are generating,” such as reduction in deaths caused by air pollution.
The Environmental Defense Fund said there is no high-carbon path to prosperity, and noted important moves by several actors, including the cuts to carbon pollution from power plants recently proposed by the US, and Europe’s cap-and-trade system.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) provided an overview of progress toward achieving the SE4ALL targets, including through: the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa; the Africa Policy Framework for Sustainable Charcoal; the SE4ALL Africa Hub; the Africa Clean Energy Corridor initiative; the development of action plans and investment prospectuses for Kenya and The Gambia; and the SE4ALL High Impact Opportunity on Sustainable Bioenergy.
The World Energy Council highlighted the energy “trilemma”—energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability—and stressed the importance of energy as a standalone SDG, considering enduring challenges, such as the expected continued dominance of fossil fuels in the energy mix in 2050.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) underscored the need for the SE4ALL process to reach out not only to the energy supply side but also the energy demand side, as the needs and voices of energy users need to be heard. ENERGIA International Network described its commitment of €12 million to provide technical and financial assistance to country programmes in Africa and Asia that strengthen the capacity of women and small enterprises to deliver energy services to over two million consumers by 2017.
The Asian Development Bank noted his region’s continued reliance on traditional biomass for daily heating and cooking needs, said energy access must be expanded to reach the 600 million energy-poor in the region, and said the SE4ALL regional hub will be launched at the upcoming Asia Clean Energy Forum in Manila.
The Global Wind Energy Council said that for renewable energy, “doubling is just the beginning,” and that governments must stop subsidizing CO2 emissions at US$110 per ton, and put a price on carbon, in order to protect the climate system.
The Islamic Development Bank announced the launch of the Renewable Energy for Poverty Reduction initiative and the Renewable Energy Alliance for the Poor, explaining that this will provide electricity through off-grid and renewable energy solutions, and envisioned SE4ALL providing a forum for stakeholder dialogue to discuss capacity-building, bankable projects, the role of the private sector, regulatory reform and the creation of an enabling policy environment, and financing.
The International Energy Agency highlighted the complementarity of its work to SE4ALL’s, noted its upcoming special report on Africa’s energy outlook, and stressed the importance of energy in the SDGs.
Kandeh Yumkella thanked Member States, institutions and civil society organizations for their ideas, support and experiences. He said SE4ALL is about bringing partners together, looking holistically at energy issues and giving everyone a voice. He said the sustainable energy movement has just started, and there is a need to decide the long-term institutional framework for sustainable energy partnerships: what will be its legal form, and how will it be financed and supported. “It’s a long journey,” Yumkella noted, “and we have just taken the first step.”
Yumkella closed the first SE4ALL Forum at 1:45 pm.