On June 4, 2014 the first Sustainable Energy for All Forum (SE4ALL) was opened at UN Headquarters in New York.
SE4ALLwas a three day event with three concrete goals: access, efficiency and renewable energy, which convened over 1000 participants. The forum helped to assess progress on sustainable energy since the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012, showcased successes, shared best practices, presented new commitments, and catalyzed action to help shape the global energy debate for the next decade.
The event which included a mix of plenary sessions and working groups, tackled each of the three goals of the forum by involving all relevant stakeholders including among others, youth groups, indigenous communities, private sector representatives, civil society representatives and regional and national government leaders.
Day 1: Wednesday June 4, 2014
With a pact agenda and hundreds of speakers participating (conference services recorded 200 speakers and 46 sessions on the first day), the conference successfully showcased a mix of policy recommendations to expedite the transition towards cleaner energy sources. Such policies included strengthening the role of cities as new frontiers of energy sustainability, supporting innovative business models and multi stakeholder partnerships to help catalyze energy efficiency solutions such as modern cooking appliances and fuels and clean energy mini-grids.
Day 2: Thursday June 5, 2014
The second day of the forum was the setting for the Secretary General’s announcement of the launch of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2024. Highlighting the important role of renewable energy and the SE4ALL initiative, Mr. Ban stressed that the initiative had helped bring “light and power where there was none”. Mr. Kandeh Yumkella, the CEO of SE4ALL confirmed that there is the public and private sector, as well as civil society need to work together to make this initiative work. Agreeing with Mr. Yumkella’s comments, the Secretary General stressed that it would be possible to double the share of renewable given that the money exists, that it is simply a case of needing to establish public funds to encourage private funds to follow with their own investment in renewable energy.
Day 3: Friday June 6, 2014
Closing the plenary on Friday, Mr. Fred Krupp, the President of the Environmental Defense Fund, commented that there is no high carbon path to prosperity for those countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. With that in mind, Mr. Krupp reminded Member States of their moral obligation to find a new path for those countries that cannot find prosperity in this carbon constrained world. Referring to the wide variety of environmental policies being carried out in high emitting countries (USA: regulations to limit vehicles emissions; China: implementing 7 cap and trade programs; India: implementing cleaner clean cook stove programs to reduce emissions by 1 billion tons of Co2 equivalent by 2020).
Adding weight to Mr. Krupp’s remarks, Mr. Yumkella explained that, in bringing such a wide diversity of speakers and partners together, SE4ALL had allowed for a holistic overview of energy issues across the globe and given a voice to those that don’t have a voice, with the intention of connecting to renewable energy the 1.4 billion people that currently lack access to energy.
For more information about SE4ALL and the outcome of the meeting please visit the official website at http://www.se4all.org/.
For a summary of the proceedings please also visit the IISD website at http://energy-l.iisd.org/news/se4all-holds-first-forum-addressing-energy-in-post-2015-agenda/.