21 June 2021
Working Groups Prepare Recommendations for Energy Forums
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The Technical Working Groups discussed: energy access; energy transition; enabling the SDGs through inclusive, just energy transitions; innovation, technology, and data; and finance and investment.

The Working Groups’ five reports will be launched during this week’s Ministerial-level Thematic Forums.

Five multi-stakeholder Technical Working Groups prepared reports on the five priority themes of the High-level Dialogue on Energy (HLDE). The reports contain substantive recommendations for Ministerial-level Thematic Forums, taking place from 21-25 June 2021, and together, seek to provide a global roadmap for achieving affordable and clean energy for all by 2030, on the road to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Technical Working Groups brought together actors from UN and international agencies, national governments, business, academia, and civil society to address: energy access; energy transition; enabling the SDGs through inclusive, just energy transitions; innovation, technology, and data; and finance and investment. Each Technical Working Group held three virtual meetings, with the first meeting focusing on adjustments to the reports’ outlines, the second discussing comments on the first draft, and the third collecting final comments on a revised draft report.

The report on energy access highlights the need to: address socioeconomic inclusiveness; align costs, reliability, and affordability of energy services; put people at the center of efforts to deliver energy; and promote local entrepreneurship and engagement of women and youth. It emphasizes that access to electricity and clean cooking are equally important.

The report on the energy transition underscores the need for enhanced international and regional cooperation to share technology and integrate power markets. It recommends, among other actions, rapidly scaling up the deployment of renewable energy, improving the average rate of energy efficiency, and phasing out coal.

The report on enabling the SDGs through inclusive, just energy transitions explores the “multidimensions” of the SDGs, and stresses the need for implementing policies with attention to social equity and inclusiveness. It calls for, inter alia, education, reskilling, training, capacity building, promotion of informed consumer behavior, and accelerating actions to ensure gender equity.

The report on innovation, technology, and data acknowledges the need for innovations in policies and finance, and not just in technologies. It recommends: commercializing new technologies at scale; creating markets that favor energy technologies and help with the energy transition; leveraging digitalization; and improving the collection, management, and application of data systems.

The report on finance and investment calls for countries to boost investment in sustainable energy to achieve an inclusive recovery, for finance flows to be consistent with increasingly ambitious climate strategies, and for subsidies that encourage wasteful use to be removed.

These Working Groups’ reports will be launched during Ministerial-level Thematic Forums, taking place from 21-25 June 2021.

The ENB analysis of the Technical Working Groups notes that “[s]ome Technical Working Groups’ discussions pushed for the reports to contain specific examples of actions to achieve global energy goals.” However, in having to make political compromises, the reports “may not be able to meet this standard.” According to ENB, “voluntary compacts were pointed to as a way in which specific actions that need to be taken could be documented to collectively build momentum.” The Ministerial Forums will be “the first opportunity to raise the visibility of the energy compacts to which the Technical Working Group process contributed.”

The HLDE, scheduled for September 2021, will be the first global gathering on energy under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) since the UN Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy in 1981. The UN Secretary-General will convene the Dialogue at summit level to promote implementation of the energy-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), and of the Paris Agreement on climate change. [ENB Summary of the High-level Dialogue on Energy Technical Working Groups: 22 February – 26 May 2021] [Ministerial Thematic Forums Webpage]

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