PARIS, 4 March 2014: Mr. Pascal Canfin, French Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for Development held a bilateral meeting with CEO Kandeh K. Yumkella, of the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SEforALL) at his Paris-based office where he affirmed his country’s support and commitment to the initiative.

Speaking about joint collaboration and of France’s interest in harnessing an inclusive process for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) slated to be hosted by his country in December 2015, Minister Canfin expressed his desire to see the SEforALL initiative potentially contributing to a successful outcome of COP 21.

In his remarks, Mr. Yumkella noted deep gratitude for the minister’s support in bringing the initiative’s message to the attention of the France Heads of State Summit held under the leadership of President François Hollande during the Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa in Paris in December 2013.

The Elysée Declaration affirmed “support for the United Nations Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) initiative and particularly welcomed its aims to ensure universal access to modern energy services, to double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. France will support countries which commit to national and regional SEforALL plans through a technical assistance facility aimed at speeding up the development of sustainable energies in Africa.”

In response to Mr. Canfin’s strong interest in supporting developing countries to achieve their energy access aspirations and end energy poverty, Mr. Yumkella noted that along with other organizations including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the EU Commission, SEforALL is working assiduously to help countries develop their SEforALL Action Agendas or Action Plans for meeting the three targets by 2030, a set of investment prospectuses to attract investment into key programmes or projects under the national agenda or plan. “This is in addition to a Gap Analysis of existing energy programmes or activities including the extent of their sector reforms, a list of donors offering support, an analysis of gaps in policy and enabling conditions and an assessment of what needs to be done to achieve the SEforALL targets through smart public-private-partnerships,” said Yumkella.

On accelerating Investments and Innovation Opportunities for Energy Efficiency, CEO Yumkella further stressed that again in partnership with Accenture Paris, Schneider Electric, GDF Suez, Johnson Control and others, SEforALL has brought these companies together to form a consortium to demonstrate solutions and innovations needed to achieve the doubling of the annual rate of energy efficiency. This is an effort to demonstrate what is working and can be scaled-up, showcase business and partnership opportunities and show OECD and emerging economies’ effort to curb their emissions through energy efficiency measures since 80% of emissions emanate from 23 of these countries. Said Yumkella, “in fact we are having our first meeting tomorrow with selected partners, some French corporations and business leaders at the Paris office of Accenture on the topic Climate Change: Incentivising Business Leadership to Drive Energy Efficiency. CEO Jean-Marc Ollagnier of Accenture has agreed to lead this coalition and will be supported by Mr. Achim Steiner and UNEP.”

Yumkella also noted the possibility of forming a Solar Coalition which seeks to bring together a consortium of countries and companies to invest in more Research and Development (R&D) whereby the cost of solar can be made universally competitive with fossil technologies in a decade. All of these efforts are geared towards providing a platform for identifying , formulating and recommending concrete initiatives for both SEforALL’s Advisory Board Energy Efficiency Committee, the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September 2014 which should help achieve a successful outcome to COP-21.

Ahead of Minister Canfin’s meeting, Mr. Yumkella also held bilateral meetings with the L'Agence Française de Développement to discuss technical assistance t African countries for the Access Agenda and Investment Prospectus formulation.

Photo Credit: Anthony Kamara | SEforALL