This week United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is gathering leaders of government, business and civil society to mobilize investment and action to achieve sustainable energy for all.
The Sustainable Energy for All Forum (SE4ALL) under way in New York is assessing results from the billions of dollars in commitments made at the 2012 Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development towards targets on energy access, efficiency and renewables.
Currently, 1.3 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity and 2.6 billion use traditional fuels for cooking and heating, causing the premature deaths of 4.3 million people each year, mostly women and children, from the effects of indoor smoke.
The Sustainable Energy for All initiative was launched in 2011 with three global targets: to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030.
IUCN is a member of the SE4ALL advisory board as well as the Advisory Committee on Energy Access and has been present from its inception at the RIO+20 meeting.
The Forum started with a stakeholder engagement day to review progress and promote sustainable energy solutions in areas ranging from renewable energy – both on and off grid – to modern cooking fuels and cookstoves and energy-efficient buildings, appliances and transportation.
IUCN is moderating a session highlighting the importance of involving civil society in developing SE4ALL projects and ensuring they are truly sustainable and serve the needs of the local communities involved.
IUCN is also, together with the Food and Agriculture Organisation, presenting the main objectives of the High Impact Opportunity (HIO) initiative focused on sustainable bioenergy.
"This is a unique opportunity to learn about and replicate at scale, concrete examples of new energy solutions based on renewable sources and ensure that no harm is done to the environment whilst maximising the benefits for local populations," says Gerard Bos, Director of IUCN’s Global Business and Biodiversity Programme and co-chair of Sustainable Bioenergy HIO.
This week’s Forum is launching the UN Decade on Sustainable Energy for All with a two-year focus on energy for women and children’s health, build momentum for solutions ahead of the September Climate Summit and help guide the direction of energy policy in the decades to come.