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Sustainable Energy for All Forum opens with focus to leave no one behind in energy transition

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LISBON - The Sustainable Energy for All Forum opened today in Lisbon, Portugal, with the urge to global leaders that more can be done to ensure no one is left behind in an energy transition aimed at delivering Sustainable Development Goal 7 - access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Hosted by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), the Forum is focused on addressing the key challenges in delivering universal energy access to the billion people globally who are still living without basic modern energy services, such as electricity, and the three billion who lack access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking.

Speaking via video message, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said: “One billion people still lack electricity. Far more needs to be done to advance renewable and efficient energy in all sectors. From industries to transportation, from cities to rural areas.” He added: “Let us invest in the future, not the past.”

To underpin the urgency needed in addressing the energy access gap, the Forum was the launch platform for the new Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report – a global stock-take on data showcasing progress to energy goals as set out in Sustainable Development Goal 7. The report, which assesses the status of renewable energy, energy efficiency plus access to clean cooking and electricity, was launched during the opening morning by its authors.

The latest data shows that the world remains off track to meet 2030 energy targets at the current rate of progress, but certain countries or trends reveal that progress is being made where political leadership and finance is being prioritized. Renewable energy is making impressive gains in the electricity sector, although these are not being matched in transportation and heating – which together account for 80% of global energy consumption. 

In her opening remarks, Rachel Kyte, CEO of SEforALL, and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, called on the Forum to use this latest data as a reality check of the challenge ahead. She said: “The world has committed to leave no one behind. To keep this promise as we move through the energy transition, we need to think differently about how we deliver affordable, reliable and clean energy services. Every year of delay in providing energy access is a lost year, a lost opportunity, for millions of children and their families. Countries cannot afford to leave entire generations behind when there are solutions that deliver affordable, clean energy services today.”

SEforALL has brought together over 800 participants from nearly 100 countries, with 10 Ministerial level speakers joined by CEO’s, investors and civil society leaders. The Forum connects those delivering change, working to increase the scale of impact and to provide a forum to gather the views of practitioners and leaders ahead of the High-Level Political Forum to be held at the UN in July. 

Rachel Kyte added, “The SEforALL Forum is focused on what it will take to reach speed and scale in bringing energy solutions to improve people’s lives. More reliable, affordable, and clean energy lies not only at the heart of people’s energy needs, but also at the heart of job creation, clean air in towns and cities, health care and education. The work of the Forum will support raised ambition from SEforALL’s partners in a global movement that shares a sense of urgency around pushing forward the energy transition.”

A new report, “Levers of Change: How Global Trends Impact Gender Equality and Social Inclusion in Access to Sustainable Energy”, from Sustainable Energy for All and Energia, was also launched during the opening day of the Forum. The report examines the implications of global trends on energy access, gender equality and social inclusion. The report looks at key emerging issues – such as increasing use of mobile money financing and declining decentralized renewable energy technology costs – and the extent to which women are able to leverage these trends so that they can gain access to electricity, clean cooking and other sustainable energy solutions. Read online here.

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves also announced Chebet Lesan as the winner of its Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The award program recognizes outstanding female leaders in the household energy sector who are advancing clean cooking solutions in emerging markets. Chebet founded BrightGreen, which produces and processes organic and agro-waste into eco-friendly, cost-cutting charcoal briquettes. (pr)  

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