Group of Friends on SE4ALL Highlights Progress, Plans

Sustainable Energy for All22 April 2013: The Co-Chairs of the Group of Friends on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) – Denmark, Norway and Pakistan – hosted a high-level event to update UN Member States on SE4ALL and others and gather support for sustainable energy. The event took place on 22 April 2013, in New York, US, in follow-up to the first meeting of the SE4ALL Advisory Board, on 19 April, in Washington, DC.

In keynote remarks, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said sustainable energy makes all other development goals possible. He spotlighted the roles of the private sector and civil society, noting that the latter provides insight into communities' greatest needs.

SE4ALL Advisory Board members then gave comments, beginning with Christian Friis Bach, Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark. He said to ensure access, prices must be low, while to achieve efficiency, they must be high; and for investment, they must be right. A first step to realizing SE4ALL, he said, is to combat fossil fuel subsidies worldwide, which could lower global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 13%. He also noted Denmark's plans to create a SE4ALL hub in Copenhagen.

Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, Minister for Energy, Republic of South Africa, echoed energy's importance for development, saying “energy enables,” and outlined specific ways South Africa is changing its energy mix. Mustapha Bakkoury, CEO, Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), called for accelerating renewable projects in countries that offer the right conditions, in order to create economies of scale. He highlighted the benefits of a renewable energy approach to meeting Morocco's electricity demand, which he said will double by 2020 and again by 2030.

Kandeh Yumkella, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and who will begin as Chief Executive Officer of SE4ALL in June 2013, emphasized that energy for all is about people, including a pregnant woman in his village – “my cousin, my aunty, my mother” – who gathers wood all day, so she can have a better life. He said he wants to focus on “converting commitments into kilowatt hours.” He said that moving from US$9 billion to 50 billion does not happen through aid but through investment, meaning that business models will be the key to transformation. For these reasons he said, energy is central to the post-2015 development agenda and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The event also included presentations on concrete actions and commitments under the SE4ALL Initiative. Fiza Farhan, CEO, Buksh Foundation, explained the Clean Energy Lending Model being used to advance renewable energy in Pakistan is the “mission critical” thing to do before other types of development can take place. Adnan Amin, Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and SE4ALL Advisory Board member, outlined IRENA's plans to act as the Initiative's hub for renewable energy, including by creating a platform for collaboration among countries and investors, and noted the Renewable Readiness Assessments (RRAs) that have taken place in 19 countries to date. Also speaking on the panel were: Kristian Bye, CEO, BR!GHT products; Roger Ford, Accenture Development Partnerships; Pepukaye Bardouille, International Finance Cooperation; and James Cameron, Climate Change Capital. [IISD RS Sources] [SE4ALL Website] [IISD RS Story on First Meeting of Advisory Board] [Statement of UN Secretary-General]