2015 is an important year for the progress of sustainable energy. The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon marks it as a crucial year for paving the path towards sustainable global future. With both economic development and poverty reduction hinging on the availability of sustainable energy, the steps need to be holistic, measurable and most of all, immediate. The SE4All team calls upon everyone to mark 5 June, 2015 – the World Environment Day – as a milestone for a global movement in the advancement of sustainable energy for all.
Sustainable energy is crucial to all aspects of human development – social, economic, and environmental. In 2011, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon led an initiative to make sustainable energy for all a reality by 2030. The initiative seeks to achieve the goal of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) by meeting three interlinked global targets by 2030:
Ensuring universal access to modern energy services;
Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and
Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
The first Sustainable Energy for All Forum in June 2014 was a three-day manifestation of know-how and actions by more than 1,000 SE4All partners from all sectors and regions around the world. The Forum also saw the launch of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2024, including its initial two-year campaign on Energy, Women, Children and Health.
About the Theme
What is Sustainable Energy?
Sustainable energy means continued access to renewable forms of energy. The demand for energy is continuously increasing. According to the World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2011, India’s energy demand more than doubled from 319 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 1990 to 669 Mtoe in 2009. It is projected that India’s energy demand will reach 1464 Mtoe by 2035. At present, most of the energy demand is being met by fossil fuels, but like most natural resources, they are depleting rapidly. India’s success will depend upon finding alternate energy solutions that are both environment friendly and cost effective. More information on the work of UN agencies on Sustainable Energy is included in the Sustainable Energy for All: Compendium of the Work of UN Agencies in India.
What does Sustainable Energy mean to you?
The meaning of sustainable energy is different for different entities, depending upon their development priorities. While developing countries see sustainable energy as providing access to clean energy, the concern is not the same in developed nations. Within the United Nations too, sustainable energy can have a varied meaning. For UNIDO, sustainable energy means improving access and reliance of industrial energy consumption on renewable energy, along with reducing dependence on energy through the practice of energy efficiency. However, UNDP sees sustainable energy as a tool for improving the standards of living through the availability of green and clean energy. ILO works on sustaining the availability of the workforce which will help in realizing the goals of sustainable energy for all.
Sustainable Development Goal 7, was put forward in the UN General Assembly in 2014 as part of the seventeen proposed SDGs. The mandate was clear – SDGs should be coherent with and integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015. The proposed goal and targets are consistent with the SE4All´s objectives on energy access, efficiency and renewable energy.
Global investment in areas covered by the three objectives was estimated at approximately $400 billion in 2010, while the requirements are almost $1.0–1.2 trillion annually. This means the current flow of investment needs to be tripled to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
2015 provides a historic opportunity for SE4All with the approaching milestones, including the UN Summit on the post-2015 development agenda and the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP 21).
The Energy Plus Guidelines
The Energy Plus Guidelines, based on UNDP’s wide experience in the field of sustainable energy access, serve as a toolkit for planning, designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating energy access programmes that promote the productive uses of energy for livelihoods improvement.
Progress Towards Sustainable Energy: Global Tracking Framework 2015
The report “Progress Toward Sustainable Energy: Global Tracking Framework 2015” finds that 1.1 billion people in the world still live without electricity and almost 3 billion still cook using polluting fuels like kerosene, wood, charcoal and dung. And, while picking up steam, renewable energy generation and energy efficiency improvements will need to accelerate dramatically, it says.
The Sun in the Kitchen
UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India is supporting the RK Mission Home, Chennai in setting up a solar concentrated heating system that allows it to cook 3000 meals a day.
Ray of Hope: Promoting Solar Heating Technologies in India
UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India is promoting the use of concentrated solar heating technology in a range of industries, commercial, religious and philanthropic institutions as an alternative to fossil fuel.
Conserving Medicinal Plants, Sustaining Livelihoods
Since 2008, UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and the Global Environment Facility is promoting sustainable use and conservation of medicinal plants in the three ecologically-fragile states of Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh.
Clean Energy is Life
Every year, 4.3 million lives are lost to diseases caused by indoor smoke from cooking, heating, oil lamps and candles. That’s one person every eight minutes – mostly women and children.
The Green Kitchen Movement
Close to 900 families living on the fringes of forests in South India are transforming their lives through installing smokeless cook stoves in their homes.
The Solar Bowl
A charitable institution in Tamil Nadu, India is using solar energy to cook 3,000 meals for 650 children a day, reducing dependence on cooking gas and saving nearly US$ 8,000 each year.
More Steel with Less Energy
Innovative technologies are improving energy efficiency in the steel re-rolling industry and ensuring greater profits for small and medium size enterprises.