Photo: Photo: A family in Tarialan, Uvs Province, Mongolia, uses a solar panel to generate power for their ger, a traditional Mongolian tent. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe. - Photo: 2016

UN-Backed Strategy to Mobilize Sustainable Energy for All

By Jaya Ramachandran

BRUSSELS (IDN) – Over 1.2 billion people – one in five of the world’s population – do not have access to electricity. The majority are concentrated in about a dozen countries in Africa and Asia. Another 2.8 billion rely on wood, charcoal, dung and coal for cooking and heating, which results in over four million premature deaths a year due to indoor air pollution.

Without electricity, women and girls have to spend hours fetching water, clinics cannot store vaccines for children, many schoolchildren cannot do homework at night, and people cannot run competitive businesses.


With this in view, Goal 7 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), endorsed by world leaders in September 2015, seeks to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.

Aware that without rapid progress on Goal 7, it will be impossible to deliver on other SDGs by 2030, the Strategic Framework for Results 2016-21 ‘Going Further, Faster’, was backed on June 15 by Sustainable Energy for All’s Advisory Board of high-level figures from the public and private sectors and civil society, co-chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

“The new Sustainable Energy for All strategy provides a powerful tool for delivering on the promises of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. Affordable, clean energy is the golden thread that links economic growth, increased social equity and a healthy environment,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

Sustainable Energy for All was first created in 2011 as an initiative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as a Quasi-international Organization with a strong and structured relationship to the United Nations.

“To achieve universal access to clean, affordable energy we need to unlock hundreds of billions of dollars in finance,” said World Bank Group President Kim. “This can only happen if we take a truly innovative approach to building public-private partnerships and mobilizing investment. SE4All is well positioned to be a critical player in expanding access to clean and affordable energy to all.”

Rachel Kyte, Sustainable Energy for All’s Chief Executive Officer and Special Representative of the Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All, said: “We will empower leaders to go further, faster by brokering partnerships and unlocking finance. This will help us secure an energy transition that is clean, affordable and just – because no one must be left behind.”

The Sustainable Energy for All initiative brings together top-level leadership from all sectors of society – governments, business and civil society. Working together, they strive to achieve a broad-based transformation of the world’s energy systems and build a more prosperous, healthier, cleaner and safer world for this and future generations.

Meeting the dual challenge – reducing the carbon intensity of energy while making it available to everyone – requires a radical rethink of the way we produce, distribute and consume energy, and this is central to Sustainable Energy for All’s strategic approach.

Its three objectives are to: ensure universal access to modern energy services; double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

The new strategy marks a turning point, building on Sustainable Energy for All’s strong advocacy role ahead of the SDGs and Paris Agreement to embark on a new phase where the emphasis is on helping partners to take rapid, tangible action on those agreements.

It states that “Sustainable Energy for All empowers leaders to broker partnerships and unlock finance to achieve universal access to sustainable energy, as a contribution to a cleaner, just and prosperous world for all”.

Key points include the following:

Sustainable Energy for All is developing ‘heat maps’ based on data from its Global Tracking Framework – developed by a coalition led by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and World Bank Group – to help focus resources where they can have most impact. While every country matters, the heat maps offer a framework for identifying those where action is most needed, and where successes can inform solutions elsewhere.

Sustainable Energy for All will work to mobilize the huge investment needed to achieve the three objectives, estimated to be at least one trillion dollars annually – a tripling of current flows. It will work with others to help develop robust pipelines of bankable projects, an enabling policy climate, ways to address investor risk and financing approaches that can unlock the right type of capital at the right time.

It will catalyze action on energy access through both grid connections and decentralised solutions.

It will encourage governments to take an ‘energy efficiency first’ approach in policy planning, making this so-called first fuel an integral part of holistic energy systems.

It will help leaders to scale up renewable energy by leveraging the work of its partners and celebrating success stories.

It will help leaders to make the right choices on energy policy and action, supporting the exchange of ideas, data, evidence and best practice.

It will take an inclusive, people-centred approach, ensuring that the voices of the energy poor are heard and that women are full participants and beneficiaries.

As a global platform, it will create a space where new partnerships can be created, questions can be aired, solutions explored and successes celebrated.

The full strategy document will be unveiled at the Business and Climate Summit in London on June 28. [IDN-InDepthNews – 16 June 2016]

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

Photo: A family in Tarialan, Uvs Province, Mongolia, uses a solar panel to generate power for their ger, a traditional Mongolian tent. Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

2016 IDN-InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters

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