Sep 27, 2017: Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) had a busy and productive week at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Climate Week NYC in New York City.
In addition to briefing world leaders at the UN on our new pioneering “Energizing Finance” report series, we also advanced our “Cooling for All” and “SHINE: Investing in Access for All” initiatives and set the date for our Sustainable Energy for All Forum – May 2-3, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Both inside the UN and at meetings across the city, momentum on achieving the universal energy access goal and raising ambition for the commitments made under the Paris Climate Agreement was palpable.
“Most countries are focused on climate action under Paris and ending poverty through the global SDG goals at the same time,” said Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, who spoke at the UN and a half-dozen other events. “The focus has shifted to which coalitions, financing and new technologies, as well as business practices and community engagement, helps everyone move forward, faster.”
Here are key highlights from the week:
“Energizing Finance” report series launch
Joined by foreign ministers and representatives from Africa, Europe and the Middle East, SEforALL and our partners launched “Energizing Finance” during the opening day of debate at UNGA: a pioneering new report series, all aimed at advancing universal energy access goals by 2030.
The reports provide first-of-its-kind analysis of development finance flows and the effectiveness of those flows for electrification access and clean cooking access in 20 key countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, which have significant energy access gaps. The research also looks at how quickly and effectively energy access finance is being disbursed and financing needs and challenges of renewable energy enterprises operating in the countries. The reports were produced in partnership with the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank, Climate Policy Initiative, E3 Analytics and Practical Action Consulting, and are available to read in full on our website here.
Energizing Finance also shows that finance flows for electrification access in the countries were substantially lower than levels needed to achieve universal energy access goals. Sub-Saharan Africa countries had the biggest financing gaps. Finance towards clean cooking access were shockingly low in all 20 countries, highlighting an urgent need for bold, new strategies on clean cooking access.
The research package received strong praise at the UN for a half-dozen government leaders from Denmark, Ethiopia, the Marshall Islands, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates. Listen to the UN meeting here
Cooling for All
Fresh on the heels of launching the Cooling for All initiative in July, SEforALL announced and convened the new Cooling for All Global Panel for the first time in New York City to discuss the campaign’s core objectives and key challenges in accelerating access to cooling solutions for the world’s neediest populations.
The panel will be co-chaired by President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands and Dr. Vincent Biruta, Minister of Natural Resources for the Republic of Rwanda, with global experts and thought leaders from business, philanthropy, policy and academia as members. A key priority for the group, of which SEforALL will act as secretariat, is producing a comprehensive report that clearly addresses the cooling challenge with evidence-based recommendations. This report is due to be released next year during the UN High-Level Political Forum.
The effort, supported by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program, was launched earlier this year as record-breaking temperatures of 129 degrees were recorded in Iran. Lack of cooling access undermines public health (sometimes fatally), work productivity and food security – with current estimates showing that 30 percent of all food is lost or wasted due to a weak or nonexistent cold, refrigerated supply chains.
SHINE: Investing in Energy Access for All
More than 75 leaders from the faith, development and philanthropic sectors met for a half-day at the Paley Center for Media to discuss SEforALL’s new “Energizing Finance” research and recent successes in advancing SHINE’s goal of scaling and diversifying energy access investments.
The meeting, hosted by Wallace Global Fund and Greenfaith, highlighted successful energy access case studies from across the world, including a solar-powered refugee camp in Jordan, a promising clean cooking business in Rwanda and an inspiring solar project for indigenous populations living in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. The efforts are being supported by the Ikea Foundation and Mott Foundation.
Still, there was no soft-pedaling the vast energy access financing challenge. Sam Parker, Executive Director of the Shell Foundation, said that the $35-$40 million of ‘patient capital’ that’s being deployed every year “is absolutely nothing” compared to the financing that is needed. Parker said that in Africa alone, $1 billion of ‘patient capital’ and another $20 billion of equity/debt capital is needed to scale decentralized renewable energy enterprises at levels that are needed.