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Ministers, leaders from business and civil society to assess progress, chart way forward to reach targets on energy access, efficiency, renewable

Ministers, leaders from business and civil society to assess progress, chart way forward to reach targets on energy access, efficiency, renewable

United Nations, New York, 27 May – Momentum is building for the first annual Sustainable Energy for All Forum, to be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 4-6 June.  Over one thousand leaders, experts and energy practitioners are confirmed to participate, from government, business, international organizations and civil society groups, to review progress and share innovative solutions.

Kandeh Yumkella, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and CEO of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, said: “The Forum is shaping up to be a major stepping stone, where we can collectively assess the results of our commitments, spur new efforts and together chart a way forward to achieve our objectives.”

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.  Over $50 billion in commitments were made by businesses and others at the Rio+20 conference in 2012; a number of these commitments have been met and exceeded, while others are in progress.

The Secretary-General and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim co-chair the Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy for All, which brings together over 40 eminent persons from government, business, civil society and international organizations. The Board will meet in conjunction with the Forum.

In promoting sustainable energy solutions, the Forum will help build towards the UN Climate Change Summit in September, which will focus on solutions to climate challenges.  The UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024) will be launched globally on 5 June, with a focus on energy for women and children’s health during the initial two years.

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. How to address this energy poverty while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change is a crucial global challenge.

Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity and a healthy environment. Sustainable development is not possible without sustainable energy,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  “That is why I launched the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative in 2011. Now, the Decade and Forum will help us stay on track to meet the objectives we have set.“

Among the high-level government representatives joining Mr. Ban at the June Forum will be President Olafur Grimsson of Iceland and over 20 ministerial-level officials, from Brazil, China, Ecuador, Gabon, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Tanzania and other countries, plus the European Commission.  A high-level dialogue will be held on 6 June with ministers and other leaders on energy in the post-2015 development agenda, to help shape and set the direction for the global policy discourse on energy for the crucial decades to come.

Yumkella added: “This event represents a unique partnership between policymakers and business, civil society and experts – all coming together with one vision, one objective and one clear message that we can and will deliver the Sustainable Energy for All goals. We believe energy must be a global goal in the post-2015 development agenda.”

On the opening day of the Forum (4 June), focusing on multi-stakeholder partnerships, presentations will showcase and assess on-the-ground country-level action. Panels will review progress on sustainable energy solutions, in areas ranging from renewable energy – both grid-tied and off-grid – to modern cooking fuels and cookstoves and energy efficiency in buildings, appliances and transportation.  In addition, perspectives from business and civil society leaders will be heard, including on engagement around youth, women and children.

Marie-José Nadeau, Chair of the World Energy Council, added: “Universal access to energy is far from becoming a reality. On current paths, a population of up to 530 million will still be without access to electricity in 2050. This is why the World Energy Council is an active supporter of this important forum and the wider SE4All initiative. We are determined in our commitment to address the challenge of energy access with a view of enhanced efficiency in the delivery modern energy services to all.”

Those expected to participate from the business and investment community include CEOs and leadership from Accenture, Acciona, Bank of America, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Danfoss, Deutsche Bank, Duke Energy, Enel, First Solar, Global LPG Partnerships, Novozymes, Philips Lighting, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and Sumitomo Chemical, as well as the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Brazilian National Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank.

Also joining will be dozens of leaders from civil society groups, institutes and foundations working on energy access, efficiency and renewables, including from Energia, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Practical Action, the Self-Employed Women’s Association, the Solar Electric Light Fund, Solar Sister, Student Energy, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), We Care Solar, the World Energy Council, WWF China and USA, plus the Rockefeller Foundation and the UN Foundation, as well as UN System and international organizations such as the International Energy Agency and  International Renewable Energy Agency.

Speakers and panelists are being posted as confirmed, along with the Forum programme and information about media accreditation, at www.se4all.org. A comprehensive media advisory will be issued in the next week.

World Energy Council

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