Second Annual Sustainable Energy for All Forum - “Financing Sustainable Energy for All”

The second annual Sustainable Energy for All Forum on "Financing Sustainable Energy for All" was held from 18-21 May 2015 in New York. Leaders from government, finance, business, civil society and international institutions attended the Forum in order to help shape the direction of energy policy for the decades to come.

The main objectives of the 2nd SE4ALLForum were to assess the progress of the SE4All initiative, to inspire action by sharing knowledge and success stories, and to track progress towards 2030, while expanding the broader movement of stakeholders to advance the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024).

At the opening of the 2015 Forum, Kandeh Yumkella, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief Executive, SE4ALL, stressed that “Our mantra going forward is very simple: converting commitments to kilowatt hours for real people.” Following the opening plenary, an intense two-day programme of more than 70 multi-stakeholder sessions on the topics of finance, access, energy efficiency, renewable energy, the global policy agenda and growing the movement continued. Several initiatives and reviews of SE4All were presented, including a EuropeAid initiative to boost electrification (ElectriFI), which aims to unlock private sector investment in renewable energy in developing countries, and the 2015 edition of IRENA's "Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review", which reports that 7.7 million people worldwide are employed by the renewable energy sector (+18% compared to 2014). A new methodology on short-lived climate pollutants, which shall quantify and monitor emission reductions from black carbon, and REN21's Renewables Global Status Report 2015 were introduced as well. A share of 22% renewable energy in the global power sector and significant progress outside of Europe and North America could already be achieved, but despite this development participants highlighted the need for further progress in the heating and cooling sector.

During the first two days, the focus was placed on enabling conditions for investment, mobilizing finance, promoting off-grid electrification, expanding existing energy subsidies and creating opportunities to invest in decentralized clean energy solutions. In a panel on energy access in crisis settings, participants recognized the vulnerabilities of women and girls in conflict settings and emphasized the need to bring this issue to the attention of policymakers during the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) process.

On 18th May 2015, ECREEE and UNIDO jointly organized a special ECOWAS session on „ECOWAS Regional Sustainable Energy Policies supporting national SE4ALL Actions“ at the Forum. The session focused on how regional policies provide a profound framework to foster national SE4ALL actions, showcased the ECOWAS approach in contributing to the SE4ALL targets through regional and national Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Action Plans and the development of SE4ALL Action Agendas in all 15 ECOWAS member countries.

The last two days consisted of a two-day "Global Energy Ministerial", which included a high-level debate on key policy issues and new commitments to implement and finance actions contributing towards the SE4All targets. The Global Energy Ministerial was divided into (1) a policy dialogue addressing financing, interlinkages among energy, women and children's health, and global energy cooperation, and (2) discussions with a focus on the future of energy with statements on continued commitments related to the SE4All agenda.

At the closing of the Forum, Kandeh Yumkella summarized the Forum’s achievements, including „changing the narrative“ to have a standalone SDG for energy, launching country action in more than 100 countries, establishing a multi-stakeholder platform with private banks and investors, and identifying over US$ 120 billion in potential new annual investments. Video addresses by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim emphasized the need for a renewable energy SDG, a bankable pipeline of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, and a reform of country-level energy sectors to attract investment.

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