The high-level event on ‘Implementing Sustainable Development Goal 7: The Role of partnerships in Ensuring Access to Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable and Modern Energy For All’ took place on 27 September 2015 in New York, US, on the margins of the UN Sustainable Development Summit.
The event celebrated the adoption of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 on energy, and showcased commitments and actions towards SDG 7 by a wide range of stakeholders, including high-level representatives of governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector. The event was organized by the Government of Denmark and the Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative.
OPENING HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT
The high-level event was opened on Sunday morning, 27 September by Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer designate, SE4All Partnership, who was Master of Ceremony for the segment. Kristian Jensen, Foreign Minister of Denmark, stressed the need for: political will to create the right policy frameworks for greening energy and trade liberalization, in order to enable freer circulation of resources across borders; opening the markets for clean technologies; creating robust models to accelerate public-private partnerships; and international cooperation to foster access to sustainable, reliable and affordable energy for all.
Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank, said energy is central to development and is the single most important element for the world’s developing economies. He stressed that energy efficiency is the foundation for a low-carbon economy. Noting the imperative to triple global investment in energy to 1 trillion per year in order to achieve SDG 7 by 2030, he underscored the need to create a level playing field and a stable business environment to engage the private sector.
Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General, called for working horizontally, across sectors, and for leveraging multi-stakeholder partnerships in implementing SDG 7. He noted that SE4All was created to serve as a toolbox for all the stakeholders.
Mogens Lykketoft, President, UN General Assembly, noted that implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will require determination, partnerships, innovation, financing and transfer of clean technologies. He announced that he will convene a high-level event on climate change, sustainable development, and financing, focused on the opportunities provided by public-private partnerships (PPPs), and that he will support advancing the work on the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries.
Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank, expressed the Bank’s strong support for SE4All. He stressed the need to unlock Africa’s energy potential, both conventional and non-conventional, and the importance of finding the right energy mix. He underlined the importance of political will and the need for governments to dedicate a sufficient part of their GDP to their energy sectors.
PANEL 1: ENSURE UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE, AND MODERN ENERGY SERVICES BY 2030
This panel was moderated by Kandeh Yumkella, former Special Representative and CEO, SE4All. Lionel Zinsou, Prime Minister, Benin, highlighted that people ask for light first and connectivity second. He shared that Benin will launch the “Light for All and Connectivity” programme, which aims to bring solar kits to 100% of households within one year.
Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said the EU cooperation strategy is based on three pillars: supporting policy development, improving the regulatory environment, and using innovative financial instruments.
Naif Alotaibi, Deputy Minister for Petroleum Affairs, Saudi Arabia, said success in providing sustainable energy will only occur through inclusive and broad approval, and using a mix of energy sources, including traditional hydrocarbon and unconventional energy sources that should be used in a complementary and balanced manner.
David Hallam, UK Envoy for Post 2015 Development Goals, UK Department for International Development (DFID), said it is important to focus on research and evidence gathering in order to best meet the energy needs of women and girls.
Reema Nanavaty, Head, Self Employed Women’s Association, India, underscored that discussions on the production, management and ownership of energy should take women, particularly poor women, into consideration. She called for half of the funds provided by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to be directed to supporting women in producing services that expand access to clean energy for all.
Radha Muthiah, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, explained the main drivers of the organization’s success in ensuring the usage of 3 million clean cookstoves: bringing the multiple stakeholders together; being extremely disciplined in building a solid conceptual foundation; and ensuring that the focus is on usage, not on the access. She underscored the importance of engaging the users right from the production phase, in order to get the products right.
Parminder Vir, Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu Foundation, said a lot of foot soldiers will be needed to realize the SDGs. In that regard, she said the Foundation will support 1,000 African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years to create 1 million jobs and bring US$10 billion to Africa.
Dejan Ostojic underscored that SDG 7 is not only about energy but is also an enabler for other services that support SDG 3 (health), SDG 4 (education) and SDG 6 (water and sanitation); and that it should therefore be addressed as a cross-cutting issue. Speaking about governments’ commitments and institutional reforms, he stressed the need to ensure that subsidies reach people who need those subsidies.
Participants from the private sector stressed the need to inter alia: address government regulations that challenge the scaling-up of programmes; ensure the buy-in of these renewable energy programmes by the public; and develop programmes that are replicable and business-oriented, and whose impact and success can be measured through key social metrics.
PANEL 2: INCREASE SUBSTANTIALLY THE SHARE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THE GLOBAL ENERGY MIX BY 2030
This panel was moderated by Adnan Amin, Director General, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Isabella Lövin, Minister of International Development Cooperation, Sweden, stressed that every government should make it a priority to make a shift to a 100% renewable energy use. She said developed countries have the responsibility to transition to clean energy systems while helping developing countries leapfrog to the same systems.
Noting the commitment of the Bahamian Government to produce 30% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2030, Kenred Dorsett, Minister of Environment and Housing, Bahamas, said barriers to this include economies of scale and grid stability.
Andra Rupprechter, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment, and Water Management, Austria, said 32% of energy consumption in Austria is from renewables, and the aim is to reach 40% by 2030. He stressed that Austria does not use nuclear power as it is not sustainable and is dangerous.
Annick Girardin, Minister for Agriculture and Francophony, France, stressed the need for showing solidarity with Africa, noting the region has not contributed to the gas emissions that affect the world today. She said the Group of 7 (G7) will provide support for increasing the region’s access to energy.
Francesco Starace, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of ENEL, spoke about the great potential of digital technology, mini grids and new ways of energy storage to contribute to implementing SDG 7.
Peder Holk Nielsen, President and CEO, Novozymes, highlighted that food versus fuel is a false dichotomy, as biofuels provide farmers with sustainable and reliable energy sources to address food security aspects.
Participants from the private sector discussed the link between sustainable development for all and the climate process, noting that the road from Paris will include hard decisions on energy sector reforms. They also discussed that in order to make new clean alternatives viable, frameworks need to be grounded in jobs.
PANEL 3: DOUBLE THE GLOBAL RATE OF IMPROVEMENT IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY BY 2030
This panel was moderated by Martin Bille Hermann, State Secretary of Development Policy, Denmark. Alexei Texler, First Deputy Minister of Energy, Russian Federation, said a federal law on energy conservation was implemented in 2009 and highlighted the Russian Federation’s national target of increasing production of renewable electricity 15-fold from current levels. He further explained that the government focuses on transitioning to innovative development models through energy saving technologies.
Inger Andersen, Director-General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), stressed the need to identify ways to use wood-based energy efficiently and to include the 1 billion people in Africa who are or will be using wood-based energy in the conversation on modern renewable energy sources.
Masahiko Horie, Ambassador for Global Environmental Affairs, Japan, noted that Japan has become the most energy efficient economy in the world. He highlighted the benefits of government-established targets for energy efficiency and an energy management advisory programme, in which advisors visit companies and provide advice for energy efficiency improvements.
Ludovico Alcorta, Director Research, Statistics & Industrial Policy Branch, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), stressed the need to change the way manufacturing affects the environment and to create incentives and mechanisms to capture the possibilities. He highlighted partnerships and work with financial institutions, noting that the latter have not mainstreamed energy efficiency into their lending yet. He encouraged participants to spread the word on the Accelerator programme.
Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility (GEF), said projects and programmes to help promote energy efficiency include: working with other banks to create a facility for investing in small-scale renewable energy; providing guarantees and working with local banks to teach them how to carry out energy efficiency audits; and aggregating street lighting projects in multiple cities to increase the size of the project and assist cities with lower credit ratings. She also highlighted the importance of establishing a knowledge platform within the GEF and for covering project preparation costs to scale up energy efficiency projects.
Stephen Groff, Vice President, Asian Development Bank (ADB), reported that the ADB is seeking to double its climate financing and is launching a SE4All report for the Asia-Pacific region this week. He highlighted that the challenge is to use ADB’s balance sheet to scale up incentive systems for others to invest in energy efficiency.
Gregor Robertson, Mayor, City of Vancouver, Canada, reviewed efforts his city has undertaken, including the adoption of the greenest building code in North America and setting the goal that, by 2020, all new buildings will be carbon neutral. He noted the benefits from tracking and publicizing progress towards goals to promote “active transportation,” including walking, biking and public transportation. He also suggested redefining what sister cities are and seeking to achieve more tangible results from these partnerships.
Fleming Voetmann, Head of Sustainability and Public Affairs, Danfoss, said energy efficiency is not just about saving carbon, it is also about saving money that could be used for other SDGs, like education and healthcare.
CLOSING SEGMENT: ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 7
This panel was moderate by Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General, UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, Prime-Minister, Iceland, stressed that geothermal energy is a real alternative for hundreds of millions of people and should be part of the global sustainable energy mix. He said the Global Geothermal Alliance will support the implementation of geothermal energy, mobilize political support and raise awareness.
Tone Skogen, Deputy Minister, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, underscored the need to mobilize all sources of financing, public and private, for achieving SDG 7, as well as to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. She reiterated Norway’s commitment to continue providing financial support for SE4All until 2018.
Ingrid Hoven, Director General, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, noted that in 2014, Germany’s sustainable energy portfolio was 3 billion Euros and focused on 23 countries. She said Germany plans to facilitate access to sustainable energy to 100 million people by 2030.
Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), called for support for these countries, stressing that two-thirds of LDCs do not have access to energy.
Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group, underscored that the strategic assets of the 21st century are above the ground – water, wind, sun, land, forests and human capital – and thus renewable energy is the future, the fossil fuel energy becoming the alternative. He called for participants to aim to reach 100% renewable energy use.
Sheila Oparaocha, International Coordinator, ENERGIA, highlighted her organization’s efforts to promote sustainable energy for all, including working with national governments and the media to raise public awareness. She also stressed the need to pay special attention to providing women with access to sustainable energy and to capital.