UN SE4ALL forum kicks off this week in New York

Posted on 2 June 2014

The WEC will be active at the UN’s first Sustainable Energy for All Forum, to take place this week (4-6 June) at the UN headquarters in New York.

Flags of member nations flying at UN headquarters. The WEC will be taking an active part in the first SE4ALL Forum. Photo: UN Photo/Joao Araujo Pinto

At the Forum heads of state, ministers, business leaders, and civil society will be assessing progress to and charting the way forward to reach targets on energy access, energy efficiency, and renewables.

More than 1800 leaders, experts, and energy practitioners are confirmed to participate at the event. They come from governments, businesses, international organisations, and civil society groups.

Kandeh Yumkella, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and CEO of the SE4ALL initiative, said: “The Forum is shaping up to be a major stepping stone, where we can collectively assess the results of our commitments, spur new efforts and together chart a way forward to achieve our objectives.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the SE4ALL initiative in 2011 with three objectives:  ensuring universal access to modern energy services, and doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030.  Over $50 billion in commitments were made by businesses and others at the Rio+20 conference in 2012; a number of these commitments have been met and exceeded, while others are in progress.

The Secretary-General and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim co-chair the SE4ALL Advisory Board, which brings together over 40 eminent persons from government, business, civil society and international organizations. The Board will meet in conjunction with the Forum.

In promoting sustainable energy solutions, the Forum will help build towards the UN Climate Change Summit in September, which will focus on solutions to climate challenges.

The UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All will focus on energy for women and children’s health during the initial two years

The UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024) will be launched globally on 5 June, with a focus on energy for women and children’s health during the initial two years.

Currently one out of five people lives without access to electricity, and nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste to cook their food, leading to over four million deaths a year, mostly women and children, from the effects of indoor smoke. How to address this energy poverty while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change is a crucial global challenge.

“Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity and a healthy environment. Sustainable development is not possible without sustainable energy,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  “That is why I launched the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative in 2011. Now, the Decade and Forum will help us stay on track to meet the objectives we have set”.

Unique partnership

Among the high-level government representatives joining Mr Ban at the June Forum will be President Olafur Grimsson of Iceland and over 20 ministerial-level officials, from Brazil, China, Ecuador, Gabon, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Tanzania and other countries, plus the European Commission.  A high-level dialogue will be held on 6 June with ministers and other leaders on energy in the post-2015 development agenda, to help shape and set the direction for the global policy discourse on energy for the crucial decades to come.

Yumkella added: “This event represents a unique partnership between policymakers and business, civil society and experts – all coming together with one vision, one objective and one clear message that we can and will deliver the Sustainable Energy for All goals. We believe energy must be a global goal in the post-2015 development agenda.”

On the opening day of the Forum (4 June), focusing on multi-stakeholder partnerships, presentations will showcase and assess on-the-ground country-level action. Panels will review progress on sustainable energy solutions, in areas ranging from renewable energy – both grid-tied and off-grid – to modern cooking fuels and cookstoves and energy efficiency in buildings, appliances and transportation.  In addition, perspectives from business and civil society leaders will be heard, including on engagement around youth, women and children.

Marie-José Nadeau, WEC Chair, commented on the importance of the SE4ALL Forum: “Universal access to energy is far from becoming a reality. On current paths, a population of up to 530 million will still be without access to electricity in 2050. This is why the World Energy Council is an active supporter of this important forum and the wider SE4All initiative. We are determined in our commitment to address the challenge of energy access with a view of enhanced efficiency in the delivery modern energy services to all.”

WEC to catalyse business and government action World Energy Council

The WEC will be holding and taking part in a number of events over the three days of the Forum.

On the opening day the WEC will organise a roundtable discussion to explore how the energy trilemma can help contain political risk and attract investments in order to deliver on the goals of SE4ALL.

This discussion, “The energy trilemma, catalysing business action”, is aimed to build a stronger understanding between business, the finance sector, and policymakers to reduce political and regulatory risk.

Discussion leaders will include Morten Albaek, Global Senior Vice-President and CMO, Vestas; Thaddeus Burns, Senior Counsel, Intellectual Property & Trade, GE; Colin Calder, CEO, Passive Systems; Philippe Joubert, Executive Chair, Global Electricity Initiative; Mahaman Laouan Gaya, former Secretary General of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Niger; Clay Nesler, Vice President, Global Energy & Sustainability, Johnson Controls ; and Alex Wittenberg, Partner, Oliver Wyman, project partner of World Energy Trilemma. The discussion will be moderated by Christoph Frei, WEC Secretary General, who will then speak at the Closing Plenary of day 1.

On 5 June, leaders from WEC will speak on several Global Leaders Panels. WEC Chair Marie-José Nadeau will speak on “Catalysing large-scale financing and investment for sustainable energy for all”; Christoph Frei on the linkages of energy with other sectors; and Philippe Joubert, Executive Chair of the GEI, will speak on “Achieving universal access to modern energy services”.

On the final day, 6 June, WEC Chair Mrs Nadeau will make remarks at a high-level ministerial dialogue on energy in the post-2015 development agenda, attended by government leaders and other international organisations.


How to take part in the Sustainable Energy for All Forum – even if you are not in New York:

  • Visit the website www.se4all.org for the latest Forum programme, speakers, and other resources.
  • Watch on webcast.  Most of the Forum will be webcast, live and on-demand, at webtv.un.org, including all events in the larger conference rooms and all press briefings.
  • Watch on web TV. UNTV will cover the Forum live in HD over its 3 days. Schedule at http://www.un.org/en/media/accreditation/untv.shtml,
  • Join the conversation on Twitter. The forum will be live-tweeted using the hashtag #SE4ALLForum.
  • Follow +Social Good (plussocialgood.org), a digital platform run by the UN Foundation and UNDP, which will feature original interviews and content for digital media