Section Navigation

Sustainable Energy Recent Articles

UN Secretary-General Calls for Greater Investment and Commitment to Meet Sustainable Energy for All Targets, Tackle Energy Poverty and Climate Change

Billions of dollars in sustainable energy financing and actions reported as leaders from government, business and civil society join in first annual SE4ALL Forum at UN

Decade launched with two-year campaign on energy for women and children’s health

(5 June, United Nations, New York) – Billions of dollars in financing, investments and action for sustainable energy, against commitments made in 2012, were reported by high-level participants in the first annual Sustainable Energy for All Forum taking place at the UN on 4-6 June.

Over 700 representatives of government, business, international organizations and civil society groups have gathered, two years after the Rio+20 conference in June 2012, to assess progress on tens of billions of dollars in commitments made there and to review innovative solutions to eliminate energy poverty and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the SE4ALL initiative in 2011 with three objectives:  ensuring universal access to modern energy services, and doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030.

At the Forum today, the Secretary-General called on all SE4All partners to intensify their actions, so that the targets can be met.  “Our common goal is in sight,” he said.  “We have seen that solutions exist and that people are implementing them.”

Looking forward to the 23 September Climate Summit in New York, the Secretary-General said, “The more you bring in terms of concrete deliverables, the more we can achieve towards our objectives, and the better we can support global efforts to combat climate change and strengthen resilience.  I count on all actors here today to deliver new and expanded commitments and partnerships that will transform the global energy landscape.  We have the responsibility, and we have the power.”

Results and further commitments announced

Among the results announced today, Bank of America said that, of the $50 billion in financing it had committed over ten years, it was on track with $5.5 billion delivered in the first year, as well as the introduction of green bonds as an investment solution for sustainable energy. The African Development Bank said that, since Rio+20, it had approved sustainable energy projects totaling some $2 billion and mobilized co-financing totaling some $4.5 billion.

Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development, announced that the European Union (EU) had awarded 95 million euro for 16 rural electrification projects across 9 African countries, that would generate projects costing more than 155 million euro in total. Mr. Piebalgs also announced the EU was planning new grant commitments totalling 3 billion euro to support sustainable energy projects in about 30 countries, which would leverage investments between 15-30 billion euro.

The US Government, through the Power Africa initiative recently announced by President Barack Obama, represented at the Forum by Carlos Pascual, Special Envoy for Energy at the State Department, is committing more than $7 billion for financial support and loan guarantees over the first five years. Power Africa’s partners have committed to provide over $14 billion in finance through direct loans, guarantee facilities and equity investments.

Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, announced funding to support global energy efficiency “accelerators” in partnership with the EBRD and UNEP, improving access to finance for industrial efficiency projects and promoting high efficiency products, such as air conditioners, lighting and motors.  Ishii said, “These initiatives will reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and save money. By supporting these global efforts, the GEF will provide countries with policies, technology and access to finance to support energy efficiency investments.”  She also noted that the GEF has just completed its sixth replenishment, resulting in a record commitment of $4.43 billion to be programmed during the next four years.

Ten years to transform the world’s energy

The UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024) was launched globally today, by the UN Secretary-General, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim (by video) and John Ashe, President of the UN General Assembly, which had designated the Decade as a vehicle to increase advocacy and action.

Kandeh Yumkella, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and CEO of SE4ALL, announced that the initial two years of the Decade would be focused on a campaign for energy access for women and children’s health.  He said, “Energy issues are global issues. But everywhere around the world, including in Africa, energy is a woman’s issue. It can mean the difference between safety and fear, freedom and servitude, and even life and death. The world must come together to end energy poverty and ensure that the poor can manage their lives and thrive economically.”

Lynne Featherstone, the United Kingdom Parliamentary Under Secretary for Development, said in a video message that the UK would be supporting this campaign to promote awareness and action to address the conditions that negatively affect women and girls who lack electricity or modern fuels.  They have recently announced support of 4.5 million pounds for gender and energy research and 7 million pounds for clean cooking facilities.

Currently one out of five people lives without access to electricity, and nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste to cook their food, leading to over four million deaths a year, mostly women and children, from the effects of indoor smoke.

Considerable work is already underway, including through initiatives and networks such as the Global Alliance for Clean  Cookstoves. The Government of Norway is also funding work by the UN Foundation to electrify health facilities in five African countries, to improve service delivery and reduce maternal and child mortality.

Yesterday, the opening day of the Forum, over 40 events focused on multi-stakeholder partnerships, assessing on-the-ground country-level action and concrete solutions. In addition, perspectives from business and civil society leaders were heard, including on engagement around youth, women and children.

The Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy for All, co-chaired by the UN Secretary-General and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, reported on the work they are undertaking to advance energy access, efficiency, renewables and finance and investment.

For complete programme, speakers, webcast and multimedia and digital materials,

see www.se4all.org.  On Twitter: #SE4ALLForum

Two fact sheets give details of actions and progress reported by SE4ALL partners:

SE4ALL Results And Deliverables: Partners Making Progress (part 1)

SE4ALL Results And Deliverables: Partners Making Progress (part 2)

Media contacts:

Pragati Pascale, p.pascale@se4all.org, tel +1 917-744-2114

Anthony Kamara, a.kamara@se4all.org, tel (+43-699) 1458-3402

Ornesha Reagan, o.reagan@un.org, tel +1 347-651-9521

Media contacts for SE4All partners can be found at here