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Time for Sustainable Energy for All

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06 May 2015 – This month, the UN campaign “2015 Time for Global Action” turns its attention to energy. Here, we are facing two challenges that can be unlocked by providing one solution: Sustainable Energy for All.

“Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity and an environment that allows the world to thrive,” says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Our world’s energy challenges

The world faces two urgent and interconnected challenges related to energy.

The first challenge concerns energy access and eradicating poverty. 1.2 billion people worldwide, nearly one in six, lack access to electricity. More than twice as many, 2.8 billion, rely on wood, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating, with serious health impacts from the effects of indoor smoke.

Where modern energy services are plentiful, the problem is different: waste and pollution. Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from fossil fuels are contributing to changes in the earth’s climate that are causing widespread harm to lives, communities, infrastructure and institutions. Climate change threatens food and water security for hundreds of millions of people around the world.

The key to both challenges is to provide sustainable energy for all – energy that is accessible, cleaner and more efficient.

Sustainable Energy for All

To achieve this, the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative has set three inter-linked global targets to be reached by 2030:

  1. To ensure universal access to modern energy services;
  2. To double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency;
  3. To double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

To advance these objectives, approximately 50 High Impact Opportunities (HIOs) have been identified. These provide a platform for stakeholders from the private sector, public sector, and civil society to work together on specific actions that advance sustainable energy. Amongst others, HIOs include e.g. Advanced Lighting and Appliance Efficiency, Building Energy Efficiency, Energy and Women’s Health and Sustainable Bioenergy.

The UN and the World Bank have also established the Global Energy Efficiency Accelerator Platform, a public-private partnership driving action and commitments by national and sub-national leaders at the country, city, state, region, or sector level.

It does so by providing governments with an important path for engaging with a variety of significant stakeholders whose knowledge of technologies, markets, financial instruments and implementation approaches can support energy efficiency policies and goals .

Looking ahead and more information

From May 18-21, the second Sustainable Energy for All Forum will take place, focusing on financing sustainable energy for all and featuring the launch of a new commitment platform. To find out more, visit the Forum’s dedicated page.

To discover more, you can also consult the Sustainable Energy for All page.

Selected videos

What does energy mean to you?

In Iceland, geothermal power is being used for almost everything – from heating homes to supplying therapeutic spas year round.


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