12 April 2021
Energy Working Groups Release Draft Reports
Photo by Dominik Vanyi/ Unsplash
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The outcome of the High-level Dialogue on Energy will be based on the five reports currently being prepared by technical working groups.

The initial drafts have been released for discussion at working group meetings in April.

Meanwhile, UN Member States who serve as global champions are preparing Energy Compacts, and stakeholders are invited to submit input on each theme through an online form.

Preparations for the UN’s 2021 energy summit are advancing through the work of five inter-agency, multi-stakeholder groups. The initial drafts of five thematic reports have been released for discussion at working group meetings in April.

The UN Secretary-General will convene the high-level dialogue on energy in September 2021 at the level of heads of state and government. The event will result in a non-negotiated outcome that identifies roadmaps to achieving SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy) by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050, consistent with the Paris Agreement on climate change. The dialogue’s outcome will be based on the reports currently being prepared by the five working groups.

The working groups held their first round of meetings in February-March 2021 and then prepared an annotated outline for their respective topics. 

The co-leading agencies of each working group have now issued the draft reports on each topic, and the groups will discuss them during the second round of meetings, convening virtually as follows:

  • Energy access: 19 April
  • Energy transition: 15 April
  • Enabling the SDGs through inclusive, just energy transitions: 20 April
  • Innovation, technology and data: 13 April
  • Finance and investment: 14 April

IISD’s Earth Negotiations Bulletin will provide a summary of each working group meeting. 

Following further consultations and drafting, the working groups will launch their reports during Ministerial Thematic Forums during the week of 21 June 2021.

The first set of Energy Compacts on each theme is also expected to be presented at the ministerial forums. UN Member States who serve as global champions are preparing these compacts to mobilize concrete action through voluntary commitments from Member States, private companies, regional and local governments, NGOs, and others.

Illustrative examples of commitments that could be made by various stakeholders are provided by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), which serves as the Secretariat of the High-level Dialogue. For example, a Member State could commit to declaring a moratorium on unabated coal-fired generation by a specified date, while a city could commit to developing a strategy for its buildings sector that includes renewable energy and energy efficient targets that are consistent with SDG 7 and the Paris Agreement. A business, meanwhile could commit to ensuring that a specified share of its total energy consumption will come from renewable sources by a given date. A civil society organization could commit to providing capacity building for data collection to monitor progress on SDG 7. Multi-stakeholder actors could make commitments related to delivering green investment and incentivizing renewable energy and energy efficiency commitments.

The Secretariat also suggests guiding principles for selecting commitments, such as:

  • Alignment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement; 
  • Leaving no one behind and strengthening inclusion; 
  • Strengthening interlinkages and synergies; and 
  • Feasibility and verifiability using baselines, targets, and data sources.

Workshops on creating energy compacts are planned for April, May and June 2021.

DESA is also organizing a virtual consultation among stakeholders to gather input on each of the five themes from NGOs, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, the private sector, philanthropic organizations, major groups, and other stakeholders. The online input form asks about challenges related to the theme, recommended measures, and specific examples of actions that could be scaled up.

Contributions are publicly visible on the platform. After the submission deadline of 23 April 2021, DESA will prepare a summary of the inputs and feature selected messages during a technical dialogue in late April 2021. [Website for High-level Dialogue on Energy] [SDG Knowledge Hub coverage of High-level Dialogue]

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