High-level Event Explores SDG 7 Implementation
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High-level representatives of governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector showcased commitments and actions toward Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 during a high-level event organized by Denmark and the UN Secretary General's Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4All).

SE4ALL27 September 2015: High-level representatives of governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector showcased commitments and actions toward Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 during a high-level event organized by Denmark and the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4All).

‘Implementing Sustainable Development Goal 7: The Role of partnerships in ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’ took place on 27 September 2015, in New York, US, on the margins of the UN Sustainable Development Summit.

During the High-Level Opening Segment, Kristian Jensen, Foreign Minister of Denmark, stressed the need for: political will to create policy frameworks for greening energy and trade liberalization; creating robust models to accelerate public-private partnerships (PPPs); and international cooperation for fostering access to sustainable, reliable and affordable energy for all. Jim Yong Kim, World Bank President, said energy is the single most important element for developing economies, while energy efficiency is the foundation for a low-carbon economy. Noting the imperative to triple global investment in energy to US$1 trillion per year in order to achieve SDG 7 by 2030, Kim underscored the need to create a level playing field and a stable business environment for leveraging the private sector.

Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), said he will convene a high-level event on climate change, sustainable development and financing, focused on the opportunities provided by PPPs, and will support advancing the work on the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (ADB), stressed the need for unlocking Africa’s potential in terms of energy, both conventional and non-conventional, and for finding the right energy mix. He called for governments to dedicate a sufficient part of their GDP to their energy sectors.

Lionel Zinsou, Prime Minister of Benin, said people ask for light first, and connectivity second. He shared that Benin will launch the ‘Light for All and Connectivity’ program, which aims to bring solar kits to 100% of households within one year. Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said the EU cooperation strategy is based on three pillars – supporting policy development, improving the regulatory environment, and using innovative financial instruments.

Reema Nanavaty, Head of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), underscored that any discussions on the production, management and ownership of energy should consider women, especially poor women. She called for half of the funds provided by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to be directed to supporting women in producing services that expand access to clean energy for all. Masahiko Horie, Ambassador for Global Environmental Affairs, Japan, noted that Japan has become the most energy efficient economy in the world. Horie highlighted the benefits of government-established targets for energy efficiency, and highlighted a program in which advisors visit companies to provide advice for energy efficiency improvements.

Ludovico Alcorta, UNIDO, stressed the need to change the impacts of manufacturing on the environment. He highlighted partnerships, and noted that financial institutions have not yet mainstreamed energy efficiency into their lending. Naoko Ishii, Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO and Chairperson, said projects and programmes to help promote energy efficiency include: working with other banks to create a facility for investment in small-scale renewable energy; providing guarantees and working with local banks to teach energy efficiency audits; and aggregating street lighting projects in multiple cities to increase the size of the project and assist cities with lower credit ratings.

Stephen Groff, Asian Development Bank (ADB), reported that the ADB will double its climate financing and is launching a SE4All report for the Asia-Pacific region. Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, Prime-Minister of Iceland, stressed that geothermal energy is a real alternative for hundreds of millions of people, and should be part of the global sustainable energy mix.

Ingrid Hoven, Director General of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, noted that in 2014 Germany’s sustainable energy portfolio was €3 billion and focused on 23 countries. She said Germany plans to facilitate access to sustainable energy to 100 million people by 2030. Steve Howard, IKEA Group, underscored that the strategic assets of the 21st century are above the ground – water, wind, sun, land, forests, human capital – and thus renewable energy is the future, with fossil fuel energy only the alternative.

During the discussion that followed, private sector participants called to: address government regulations that challenge the scaling-up of programs; receive the buy-in of these renewable energy programs by the public; and have programs that are replicable, business-oriented, and that measure the impact and success of a program through key social metrics. They also discussed the link between sustainable development for all and the climate process, noting that the “road from Paris” will include hard decisions on energy sector reforms, and explaining that in order to make new clean alternatives viable, frameworks need to be grounded in jobs.

The Sustainable Energy For All (SE4All) initiative was launched in September 2011 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to outline how governments, business and civil society can work together to make sustainable energy for all a reality by 2030. SE4All’s three goals are to: ensure universal access to modern energy services; double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. [IISD RS Briefing Note] [IISD RS Sources]


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