The G20 and Energy Efficiency: A Successful First Year
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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G20 Energy Ministers recently met in Istanbul, Turkey, for the very first G20 Energy Ministerial.

It was a historical moment, not only for international dialogue on energy sustainability, but also for the efficient use of energy.

G20 Energy Ministers recently met in Istanbul, Turkey, for the very first G20 Energy Ministerial. It was a historical moment, not only for international dialogue on energy sustainability, but also for the efficient use of energy.

Through the Ministers’ welcome for the ‘Report on the Voluntary Implementation of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan,’ coordinated and prepared by the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC), energy efficiency achieved a level of international recognition that I personally have felt it has merited for a long time now.

Energy efficiency has huge benefits, such as reducing bills for individuals and communities, lowering local and global pollution levels, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing energy security and contributing to economic productivity—all of this representing a social benefit. However, energy efficiency very rarely received the attention it deserves in the arena of energy decisions over the past years.

As Chairman of the IPEEC Policy Committee, I have had the honor and privilege of launching and participating in the G20 energy efficiency endeavor from the very beginning in November 2014, when G20 Leaders endorsed the Energy Efficiency Action Plan in Brisbane, Australia. Since then, I have witnessed first-hand the immense amount and high quality of work conducted by participating G20 countries, international organizations and IPEEC´s Secretariat in the six main streams of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan: transport, networked devices, buildings, industrial energy management, electricity generation and finance.

As I look back on this past year, I am struck by the impressive outcomes achieved through strengthening international collaboration and bonds on energy efficiency. The G20 Energy Efficiency Action Plan started as an opportunity for countries to voluntarily cooperate on energy efficiency; what has been accomplished this year is a testament to the dedication of participating governments and to the real value that international cooperation brings to technical and policy design.

My very own experiences these last few months only add to my belief. In my role as Co-Chair of the Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group (EEFTG), a new work stream jointly chaired by France in which I represent my country Mexico, I have worked with 12 other countries to address the pressing need to mobilize and increase investments into energy efficiency projects and programs. The extensive consultations we held as part of our work involved numerous financial institutions and experts, international organizations, market actors and many hours of intensive dialogue and conferences across the world. The specific outcome of these collective efforts has been the ‘Voluntary Energy Efficiency Investment Principles’ for participating G20 countries, aimed at accelerating capital flows for energy efficiency. Last week, G20 Energy Ministers specifically recognized these Principles in their Communiqué, a great and rewarding success for energy efficiency finance, and for the international collaboration that helped achieve it. It represented a historical moment as I said, especially for those of us who have been personally involved in the work of the Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group.

The future of international cooperation on energy efficiency seems bright. In the Communiqué, Ministers agreed “to further work to ensure that the [Energy Efficiency Action] Plan has a long term perspective.” As Director General for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability at the Ministry of Energy in Mexico, and as Chairman of the IPEEC Policy Committee, I welcome this development on behalf of my own country, G20 participating countries and international organizations, and very much look forward to strengthening energy efficiency progress under the G20 Presidency of China in 2016.

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