Ethiopia hosts successful Executive Assembly

IMG_0190The Ethiopian government hosted the World Energy Council’s annual Executive Assembly in Addis Ababa last month to much acclaim. The meeting was addressed by the President of Ethiopia, His Excellency Dr Mulatu Teshome, and welcomed representatives of over 47 member committees. In addition to discussions around key global topics and the regional energy issues impacting the area, the meeting approved a number of resolutions, including a new brand for the Council, the location of our 2017 Executive Assembly, details of our forthcoming reports and the appointment of new officers.

This year’s event marked the first time that an Executive Assembly has been held in Sub-Saharan Africa, and special thanks go to the Council’s Ethiopian National Committee, and in particular to Minister Alemayehu Tegenu for his support in organising such an excellent meeting. Held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 26th to 30th October the event also played host to some 80 energy leaders, including 19 government ministers from Africa, Europe and the US, representing the entire energy spectrum who met to discuss critical issues facing the energy industry during a series of events. The Assembly also resulted in principal governance decisions being taken for the Council’s member community with comprehensive discussions taking place during Committee meetings.

The week began with a Secretaries’ Strategy Day where our member committee secretaries highlighted key success stories in their region and the London Secretariat was able to update secretaries on the work programme ahead of the World Energy Congress. Our Argentinian member provided an update on the World Energy Academy programme which they instigated a year ago. It was good to learn that the programme is going from strength to strength with more and more member committees organising similar activities. The Colombian member committee highlighted their experiences of setting up a World Energy Academy programme. Currently 5 member committees have launched World Energy Academy programmes, 5 more are planned and a further 8 are being considered. This was a significant high point for the day and an initiative that was celebrated throughout the week.

20 Future Energy Leaders from the Council’s FEL-100 network were also present in Addis Ababa where they held workshops, went on site visits and hosted a FEL Summit meeting. There was a significant amount of cross-over between the FEL activities and the main Executive Assembly meetings. This was the first time outside of a World Energy Congress that we were able to welcome such a large contingent of Future Energy Leaders and their attendance greatly enhanced the week of activities.

The standing committee meetings were popular with active participation from members and observers. The meetings heard that the 2015 Energy Trilemma Index would be launched on 11 November. The 2016 World Energy Trilemma report would once again be formally presented to the Clean Energy Ministerial meeting to be hosted by the US government in May 2016 with the 2016 Index to be presented at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul. Work is advancing well on our next World Energy Scenarios report which this time will look at the energy system to 2060 and may include an additional scenario to supplement the well-received Jazz and Symphony scenarios. In addition to the full scenarios report, which will be presented to the World Energy Congress in Istanbul, it was also announced that a Latin American scenarios deep dive would be presented in Brazil in June 2016. Work has begun on our flagship World Energy Resources report and members were asked to ensure that they provide feedback and information to the Study Group in a timely manner to ensure that the report can be finalised well in advance of the World Energy Congress and to feed insights into our other reports.

Following extensive consultation with members, the Executive Assembly approved the adoption of a new brand for the World Energy Council and the recommendation that we move away from using the acronym ‘WEC’ in favour of the World Energy Council in full or Council for short. The chairs recommendation included a request that member committees use the new brand and celebrate their membership of the World Energy Council. To support this request, the London Secretariat will be contacting all secretaries in the New Year so that they can be provided with the tools they need ahead of the next World Energy Congress.

The Executive Assembly was also presented with a message that had been developed by the chairs of the Study Groups, the Communications and Strategy Committee members and the Officers Council setting out the World Energy Council’s recommendations to the forthcoming Conference of the Parties meeting in Paris (COP21). The message was then sent to Christiana Figueres, the Executive Director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, (UNFCCC), who welcomed the message in a video address played to delegates at our Energy Trilemma Summit. The message has now been sent to all Parties ahead of the COP21 in Paris and will be supported by meetings to be led by the Chair and Secretary General.

There was significant debate surrounding a revised subscription formula to fund the work of the World Energy Council. Members requested that more time be given to enable additional reflection, and it was agreed that members should provide feedback to the London Secretariat by 31 March 2016 to enable the Finance Committee consider any alternative recommendations.

The Executive Assembly voted that next year our 2017 Executive Assembly would be held in Lisbon, Portugal. The meeting also heard that plans for the 23rd World Energy Congress to be held in Istanbul, Turkey from 9 – 13 October 2016 were well advanced. We already have over 100 confirmed speakers and logistics are being arranged to enable the Congress to be even better than our last event in Daegu, South Korea. Looking further ahead, the meeting in Addis Ababa also witnessed the signing of the contract to the host our 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in 2019.

The week of activity concluded with the Energy Trilemma Summit, which included a wide range of sessions on energy access, renewables and resilient energy infrastructure. There was also a session on COP21, where Marie-José Nadeau, Chair of the World Energy Council, presented the Council’s messages to a well-attended forum and press briefing. As mentioned Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary warmly welcomed the messages in a video address to the global energy leaders’ community and said: “It is encouraging to see the messages from the World Energy Council to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.” A World Energy Leaders’ Summit (WELS) was also held in the margins of the Summit under the theme of “The Africa Energy Trilemma: Unleashing the power of regional market creation” with global energy leaders and government officials from some 42 countries.

The President of Ethiopia gave a special address at the conclusion of the meeting highlighting the importance and success of the gathering. The final words however were left to our Regional Vice-Chair for Africa, Bonang Mohale, who thanked our hosts for the excellent arrangements and said:  “We on the African continent know, if we don’t pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, we will forever be at the tail end of development.” He added: “Africa’s biggest challenge has less to do with the quantum of resources we have, than with the solid management of our efforts.”

It was clear from the many discussions during the week that our first Executive Assembly in Sub- Saharan Africa had been a great success and had positively contributed to the dialogue for a more sustainable energy outlook in Africa. The agenda now moves to our African Regional meeting, the Africa Energy Indaba, to be held in February 2016 in Johannesburg and then onto the 23rd World Energy Congress in October 2016 in Istanbul.