Vienna Energy Forum Discusses Sustainable Energy for SDG, Paris Agreement Implementation
UN Photo/Pasqual Gorriz
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The Vienna Energy Forum (VEF) 2017 met under the theme ‘Sustainable Energy for the Implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement’ from 9-12 May 2017, in Vienna, Austria.

A report, titled ‘Green Technology Choices: The Environmental and Resource Implications of Low-Carbon Technologies,’ was published by the International Resource Panel (IRP).

Enel, a utilities company, and UNIDO announced that they will work together with stakeholders, in cooperation with SEforALL to accelerate sustainable energy.

15 May 2016: Participants at the the Vienna Energy Forum (VEF) 2017 emphasized the role of sustainable energy in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement, with discussions highlighting synergies among the SDGs and the importance of joint and integrated approaches for successful implementation.

The VEF, which met under the theme ‘Sustainable Energy for the Implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement,’ convened from 9-12 May 2017 in Vienna, Austria. The biennial event was organized by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and International Affairs, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) initiative, and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). Approximately 1,650 participants from 128 countries, international and non-governmental organizations, academia, civil society and the private sector attended the event.

Addressing the Forum, UNIDO Director General Li Yong said that implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement calls for a global transformation that goes beyond the energy sector, to include holistic technology solutions, entrepreneurship, policy innovation, new financing instruments and partnerships. Rachel Kyte, SEforALL CEO, called for a revolution in energy productivity, a focus on ending energy poverty and more renewables.

UNIDO Director General Li Yong said that implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement calls for a global transformation beyond the energy sector that includes holistic technology solutions, entrepreneurship, policy innovation, new financing instruments and partnerships.

The meeting resulted in VEF 2017 key messages. These included, inter alia: energy is the key enabler for food security, health and water, and a holistic nexus approach is needed that mitigates trade-offs and enhances interlinkages among these sectors; cities are advocating for innovative approaches to urban design and transformative change, which could use renewable energy; affordable and clean energy represents the biggest opportunity to mitigate and adapt to climate change; technological innovations are central for sustainable energy development; solutions depend on innovative and inclusive business models that can be scaled up, replicated and are self‐sustaining; governments can stimulate innovation through setting ambitious targets and providing incentives to achieve those goals; and the public sector should embrace the private sector as the driver of innovation.

During the VEF, Enel, a utilities company, and UNIDO announced that they will work together with stakeholders, in cooperation with SEforALL to: accelerate sustainable energy, including power grid efficiency and electrification; and develop an initiative to help create local skills, deploy state-of-the-art technologies and enable markets to improve access to energy. Speaking about the partnership, Kyte said this type of partnership will help achieve SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), while Li Yong added that ‘energy is a prerequisite for industrialization and will help achieve SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure).

A report, titled ‘Green Technology Choices: The Environmental and Resource Implications of Low-Carbon Technologies,’ was published by the International Resource Panel (IRP). The report looks at eight energy efficiency technologies and 36 sub-technologies across buildings, industry and transportation and assesses the benefits, risks and trade-offs of energy efficiency technologies deployed alongside low-carbon electricity supply technologies. It finds that: low-carbon technologies lead to clean air, save water and reduce land use; and 25 billion tonnes of emissions and 17 million tonnes of particulates a year could be avoided through low-carbon and energy efficiency technologies. The report compared two scenarios: one for a global temperature rise of 6°C; and the other assuming a global temperature rise below 2°C is achieved. IRP is a group of natural resource management experts hosted by UN Environment.

Also during the VEF, UNIDO and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) organized a side event to discuss strengthening the role of women in the transition towards a sustainable energy system. Speakers mentioned, among other things, the need to reduce gender inequalities in access to and control over energy resources; under-representation of women in sustainable energy and in the field of science, technology, engineering and math, more generally; and discussed the promotion of gender-sensitive action around the energy transition. [VEF Website] [Key messages from the VEF] [UNIDO Press Release on the VEF] [UNIDO Press Release on Enel, UNIDO and SE4ALL Partnership] [UNIDO Press Release on Women in the Energy Transition] [Green Technology Choices: The Environmental and Resource Implications of Low-Carbon Technologies] [UN News Story on the IRP Report] [UNEP Press Release on the IRP Report] [ENB Coverage of the VEF]


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