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New Commitments Announced at High-level SE4ALL Event

24 September 2012: A high-level luncheon on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) spotlighted updates and announcements on the three goals of the initiative related to access, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Members of the SE4ALL High-Group, its technical group, and other partners outlined actions and new commitments made after the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), and plans for the future. The luncheon was followed by a high-level panel event on SE4ALL.

Kandeh Yumkella, Chair of UN-Energy, Director-General, UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), and Co-Chair of the SE4ALL Group, said the initiative had exceeded expectations in its first year, including by making energy access an issue in the evolving sustainable development goals (SDGs), but stressed the second phase of moving from declarations into implementation would be more difficult and require strong partnerships.

Christian Friis Bach, Denmark's Minister for Development Cooperation, noted the importance of pricing for making sustainable energy a good investment. He said his Government plans to create an energy efficiency hub in Copenhagen.

Nebojsa Nakicenovic, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), announced the completion of the Global Energy Assessment (GEA) after a six-year process involving 300 authors and 200 reviewers. The GEA's key message is that achieving the SE4ALL goals will require a "fundamental transformation" of the global energy system and this system will be “very far from business as usual,” with radical improvements needed in energy efficiency. Nakicenovic said the goals are achievable, however, and pursuing all of them at once will yield synergies and cost savings.

Newly announced SE4ALL commitments and activities noted at the meeting include: the creation of an electrification roadmap and the provision of access to 500 million people, by Eskom; the provision of lighting to midwives in Uganda, by We Care Solar; the upcoming release, by Accenture, of 19 industry reports on how the private sector can contribute to SE4ALL while driving business value; an analysis of power pools by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), in African sub-regions and islands; the “RoofPoint” programme to take advantage of energy efficiency opportunities in the roofing sector; and the Sustainable Endowment Institute's Billion Dollar Clean Challenge to support energy efficiency by providing data at the project level.

Adnan Amin, IRENA's Director General, highlighted the Malta Islands Summit held in September 2012, where island governments expressed their commitment to the transition to sustainable energy. Amin stressed the importance and feasibility of this transition, and that the process is moving quickly.

Leandro Alves, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), announced a commitment of US$5 billion over five years for SE4ALL-related work in the region. He said the private sector is expected to provide 90% of financing for sustainable energy, and noted the Bank's work on the first Eastern Caribbean sustainable energy programme. He reported that all 15 countries in the region are working with the UN on rapid assessments that will be completed by October.

Closing the event, Charles "Chad" Holliday, Chairman, Bank of America and SE4ALL Co-Chair, called for partners to create early wins to demonstrate that sustainable energy goals are achievable. [IISD RS Sources] [SE4ALL Press Release] [IISD RS Story on High-level Event] [IISD RS Story on Islands Summit in Malta]