Fifth Vienna Energy Forum looks at the role of sustainable energy and the SDGs

May 12, 2017: The fifth Vienna Energy Forum took place last week, convening energy leaders from around the world to discuss this year’s theme of “Sustainable Energy for the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement”.

The week comprised of various side events followed by two days of high-level plenary sessions. Keynote speakers included Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, India, Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All.

Speakers highlighted the vital links between energy, climate and development, as well as the synergies among the SDGs and the importance of joint and integrated approaches for faster, more successful implementation. During his keynote speech, Minister Goyal told the audience that “energy access is the mother of all sustainable development goals.”

Speaking at the Forum, Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, said: “The global goals on energy agreed in 2015, together with our commitments under the Paris Agreement, must herald increased action to secure an energy transition that provides sustainable energy for all. We are not on track yet, and we urgently need to be.

“Better energy means a revolution in energy productivity, a focus on ending energy poverty and much more renewables. This will secure clean air, new jobs, warm schools, clean buses, pumped water and better yields of nutritious food. The price of technology is dropping, smart policy exists, finance exists, and we must now bring these together where they are needed most. Promises made should be kept. If we know we can build these energy systems not just for the few, but for all, why would we wait?”

This year’s event, organized by UNIDO, the Government of Austria, IIASA, and SEforALL, bought together 1500 delegates to the Austrian capital. LI Yong, the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said: “Enhancing access to affordable, reliable and clean energy is key to stimulate economic growth and ensure energy security. At the same time it is critical to accelerate clean energy innovation as an indispensable part of an effective, long-term global response to our shared climate challenge.”

It was also announced during the Forum that ENEL, one of the world’s leading global utilities, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) would work together with key stakeholders, in cooperation SEforALL, on accelerating sustainable energy, including power grid efficiency and electrification.

The partners intend to work in cooperation with several actors on developing an initiative that would help in creating local skills, deploying state-of-the-art technologies and enabling markets to improve access to energy.

The World Bank Group also launched the latest SEAR Report – State of Energy Access Report – which looks at the status and nature of progress on the issue of access to energy services, and is produced as part of the Sustainable Energy for All Knowledge hub. This year’s report shows that urgent measures are needed to speed up access to modern energy services or there will still be several countries in 2030, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a significant percentage of the population going without electricity.

Watch the opening session with all high-level keynote speakers again on the UNIDO Facebook page here.

 

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