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September 2013

The Sustainable Energy for All Initiative

  • Providing universal access to modern energy services
  • Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and
  • Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

The initiative brings together the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.

The UN Secretary General’s High Level Group on SE4ALL is co-chaired by two prominent figures: Charles Holliday, Chairman of Bank of America, and Kandeh Yumkella, Chair of UN-Energy and Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization. High level representatives from the private sector, government, UN/intergovernmental organizations and civil society work together in this group to mobilize a broad range of stakeholders who can catalyze commitments and form partnerships in support of SE4ALL. In 2012, the High Level Group on SE4ALL jointly developed a global strategy and concrete agenda for action to reach the three objectives of SE4All.

The 3-year Strategic Work Program of the SE4ALL initiative was released in April 2013, detailing the milestones to be accomplished, the catalytic and facilitation activities to achieve these milestones and the manner in which the SE4ALL initiative will be organized from 2013 to 2015:

SE4ALL Governance Structure & Global Facilitation Team

The governance structure has been established in three tiers to guide, oversee and support the SE4ALL objectives.

The Advisory Board and Executive Committee will guide the SE4ALL initiative. A Chief Executive will direct the Global Facilitation Team that will catalyze the implementation of actions, projects and programs to be undertaken by a range of partners. These will be supported by Regional and Thematic Hubs. The global network of the SE4ALL initiative will be supported by partner organizations from governments, international and national organizations, businesses and civil society organizations.


Figure 1 SE4LL Governance Structure & Global Facilitation Team; source: SE4ALL 2013-2015 Strategic Work Program, April 2013

The members of the Advisory Board and Executive Committee have been nominated. The Global Facilitation Team (GFT) is currently being staffed and operationalized.

According to the SE4ALL 2013-2015 Strategic Work Program, Regional SE4ALL Hubs to support energy access shall be established in at least three regions: Africa, Asia and Latin America. These shall be set up in coordination with regional development banks and other regional organizations.

The SE4ALL Africa Hub has already been established and is hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB). Its Secretariat is responsible for carrying out the activities of the Hub and its work programme, and an Oversight and Operations Committee (OOC) provides guidance for the operations of the Hub Secretariat. The Hub will be linked to the GFT which operates under the guidance of the SE4ALL Executive Committee and the Advisory Board.

Thematic Hubs:

The SE4ALL 2013-2015 Strategic Work Program also foresees the establishment and operationalisation of two thematic hubs: an Energy Efficiency Hub in Copenhagen and IRENA acting as the SE4ALL Renewable Energy Hub to promote and accelerate renewable energy deployment.

Activities & Commitments

The Global Action Agenda developed by the High-Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All shall guide efforts undertaken to achieve the initiative’s objectives. It contains 11 Action Areas, grouped into the categories sectoral and enabling, and provides a framework for identifying high impact opportunities that will catalyze change and prompt innovation. The seven sectoral Action Areas address both power generation and the principle sectors of energy consumption. They include: Modern Cooking Appliances & Fuels; Distributed Electricity Solutions; Grid Infrastructure & Supply Efficiency; Large Scale Renewable Power; Industrial & Agricultural Processes; Transportation; and Buildings & Appliances. The four enabling Action Areas characterize cross-cutting mechanisms designed to support effective sectoral action and address existing obstacles. They include: Energy Planning & Policies; Business Model & Technology Innovation; Finance & Risk Management; Capacity Building & Knowledge Sharing.

National Governments supporting the SE4ALL initiative as well need to design and implement integrated country actions that strategically transform their energy systems. So far, more than 60 Governments from developing countries have joined the SE4ALL initiative and have expressed interest in advancing SE4ALL.

The SE4ALL initiative first focuses on creating action and generating commitments within an initial number of High-Impact Opportunities. These fall within the 11 Action Areas of the Global Action Agenda and are defined based on their significance and ability to have an immediate impact on reaching the initiative’s overall objectives.

Some examples of High-Impact Opportunities include: Universal Adoption of Clean Cookstoves and Fuels, Lightin Asia’s India Program, Solar Sister, Power the World, Sustainable Shipping Initiative or the Global Sustainable Islands Initiative.

The SE4ALL 2013-2015 Strategic Work Program organizes all implementing activities within the next three years into six workstreams (see figure 2): Country Action, Business Action & Investment, Global Advocacy and Stakeholder Engagement, Communications & Outreach, Knowledge Management, and Monitoring & Reporting.


Figure 2: SE4ALL Workstreams, source: SE4ALL 2013-2015 Strategic Work Program

Tracking Progress: The Global Tracking Framework

Tracking progress towards SE4ALL’s global objectives will be essential to sustain political commitment in the long run, to transparently clarify where the intiative stands, how various actions contribute to its objectives and how much remains to be done to achieve sustainable energy for all. A Global Tracking Framework (GTF) has therefore been developed as part of the Monitoring and Reporting workstream, which provides an initial system for regular global reporting based on indicators.

The first Global Tracking Report, a multi-agency study led by the World Bank and the International Energy Agency, was released on May 28, 2013 at the Vienna Energy Forum. It provides a comprehensive snapshot of the energy status of countries with respect to acces, action on energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as energy consumption. Using these indicators, the report attested the world major advances with regards to the objectives of SE4ALL during the last 20 years, which were to some extent diluted by rapid demographic and economic growth. The GTF has set starting points against which progress will be measured under SE4ALL, as well as concrete objectives for 2030. Given the fact that the three objectives of SE4ALL interact, it is stressed that the greatest impact can be achieved if the objectives are met simultaneously.


Table 1: SE4ALL objectives in historical perspective, source: Executive Summary, Global Tracking Framework, v1

Groups of „high-impact“ and „fast-moving“ countries were identified, which have a particularly large weight in aggregate global performance and which made particularly rapid progress on the three energy indicators over the past 20 years (1990-2010).

Two overlapping groups of 20 high-impact countries in Asia and Africa account for about two-thirds of the global electrification deficit and four-fifths of the global deficit in access to non-solid fuels. A third group of 20 high-income and emerging economies accounts for four-fifths of global energy consumption.


Figure 3: Overview of high-impact countries, 2010; source: Executive Summary, Global Tracking Framework, v1

China and, to a lesser extent India, are both high-impact and fast-moving countries with regards to all three aspects of energy sector development.

The GTF also clarifies the likely pattern of efforts across geographical regions toward the achievement of the objectives:

  • The highest rates of improvement in energy efficiency are projected for Asia (particularly China) and the countries of the former Soviet Union
  • The highest shares of RES in 2030 are projected for Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa

Current global investment in areas covered by the three objectives has been estimated at about $ 400 billion in 2010, whereas the investments required to achieve the three objectives were tentatively estimated to be at least $600-800 billion per year over and above existing levels. The bulk of these investments was associated with renewable energy and energy efficiency objectives. Also, incremental investments in energy data systems will be essential to improve the Global Tracking Framework.

The SE4ALL Global Tracking Framework full report, overview paper, executive summary and associated datasets can be downloaded from: http://www.worldbank.org/se4all

SE4ALL Strategic Work Program