Five one-day Ministerial Thematic Forums took place from 21-25 June 2021, on the five High-level Dialogue on Energy themes: energy access; innovation, technology and data; energy transition; enabling SDGs through inclusive, just energy transitions; and finance and investment.
Among other highlights, speakers discussed the need for energy pathways to be integrated into the solutions for achieving all SDGs, and to ensure that, whatever energy strategy is chosen, social equity and inclusiveness are central.
As he opened the Ministerial Thematic Forums leading to the High-level Dialogue on Energy (HLDE), UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the world is “running far behind in the race against time” to achieve SDG 7 by 2030, and the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. HLDE Co-Chair Achim Steiner said the world “stands on the cusp of a historic tipping point,” a clean energy revolution that will radically reshape our economies and societies, but “how fast and how fairly it happens is really up to us.”
Other opening speakers highlighted that the outcomes from the Ministerial Forums and the HLDE itself will seek to accelerate the energy transition. HLDE Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin explained that the Thematic Forums would produce two outcomes: a summary to inform a political roadmap for concrete actions toward achieving clean and affordable energy for all by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050; and a series of energy compacts. HLDE Co-Chair Damilola Ogunbiyi noted that as many as 25 energy compacts would be shared during the week, and encouraged all to announce them as soon as possible.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin analysis from the Forums highlights that the energy compacts are hoped to “motivate other countries, companies, and organizations to step up and make their own commitments” during the HLDE in September 2021. The first energy compact to be announced set the bar high, as Per Heggenes, IKEA Foundation CEO, and Ashvin Dayal, Rockefeller Foundation, announced a joint energy compact involving USD 1 billion over ten years to bring distributed renewable energy access to one billion people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and, in the process, eliminate about one billion tons of carbon emissions.
Five one-day Forums took place from 21-25 June 2021, on the five HLDE themes:
- energy access;
- innovation, technology and data;
- energy transition;
- enabling SDGs through inclusive, just energy transitions; and
- finance and investment.
On energy transition, ministers and other high-level speakers discussed the need to capitalize on the strong momentum for energy transition to achieve SDG 7 and scale up renewables, green investment, jobs, and empowerment of people and countries. On enabling SDGs through inclusive, just energy transitions, key themes of the discussion included the need for: energy pathways to be integrated into the solutions for achieving all SDGs; ensuring that, whatever energy strategy is chosen, social equity and inclusiveness are central; integrating the gender dimension into any strategy developed; and pursuing systemic approaches, not quick fixes.
The HLDE will be the first global gathering on energy under the auspices of the UN General Assembly since the UN Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy in 1981. The Dialogue, which the UN Secretary-General will convene at the summit level, seeks to promote implementation of the energy-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as to accelerate ambition towards the achievement of SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy). [ENB coverage of the Ministerial Thematic Forums]