18 July 2018 New York City, US
HLPF Side Event: Leadership on Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform for Sustainable Energy Access and Poverty Reduction

Leadership is required to move away from inefficient and harmful fossil fuel subsidies (SDG 12) towards sustainable energy systems with access to energy for all (SDG 7). Fossil fuel subsidies stood at about US$425 billion in 2015. This is 7.5 times more than the amount of financing required for universal electricity access. Reforming subsidies has massive benefits as a means of implementation for the global transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies. Nevertheless, reform requires effort from political leaders, civil society and sound information to be successful. This side event presents opportunities for financing and delivering the SDGs through fossil fuel subsidy reform, with a focus on sustainable energy access. Speakers will present replicable strategies for fossil fuel subsidy reform with high benefits for poverty reduction, gender and the SDGs. These strategies include better targeting of subsidies and subsidy “SWAPs”, i.e. shifting fossil fuel subsidies towards sustainable energy solutions like renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as investments in public transport.

The event will see the launch of a report on the interlinkages between energy access and fossil fuel subsidies.

The side event is organised by New Zealand on behalf of the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (“Friends”), with Finland, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway as co-organisers. IISD's Global Subsidies Initiative is coordinating the event.


  • Chair and opening remarks: Craig Hawke, Permanent Representative of New Zealand (TBC)
  • Moderator: Scott Vaughan, President and CEO, IISD
  • Panelists:
    • Annika Lindblom, Secretary General, National Commission on Sustainable Development and Counsellor, Ministry of the Environment, Finland
    • Anna Zinecker, Policy Advisor, IISD
    • Ligia Noronha, Director, Economy Division, UN Environment (TBC)

date: 18 July 2018
time: 6:30 pm
venue: UN Headquarters, Conference Room 11
location: New York City, US
contact: Anna Zinecker, IISD
phone: +41774580731
e-mail: azinecker@iisd.org