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Common actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on Energy Agreed at the 6th International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development

Published: 29 September 2015

More than 260 energy experts from around the world agreed today on a set of common actions to help countries achieve the sustainable development goal on energy that was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015. Sustainable Development Goal 7 is to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.

The statement of common action adopted at the Forum is intended to make the Hammamet Declaration operational, and it includes specific recommended actions and measures. The Hammamet Declaration itself, signed by the five Executive Secretaries of the United Nations Regional Commissions, is a call to move to a new, sustainable and fair energy system. The actions called for represent a first concrete step in achieving targets of the Sustainable Development Goal on Energy. Progress on this action plan will be reviewed and assessed at future International Fora on Energy for Sustainable Development.  

UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach noted that "the international Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development highlights the commitment of the regional commissions of the UN to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. UNECE stands ready to assist its member States in reducing net carbon emissions in the energy sector while ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all".

The statement includes five priority areas for action by the United Nations Regional Commissions and other international organizations over the next two years:

  1. Assist countries in the development and pursuit of national sustainable energy action plans.
  2. Work with countries to improve the quality of energy statistics.
  3. Help countries to pursue effective policies in: Energy Market Reform, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Energy Access, Energy Security, Finance and Investment, Technology, and Energy Data, Indicators and Analysis.
  4. Encourage exchange of lessons learned and best practices regarding policies and technology.
  5. Develop internationally recognized minimum energy performance standards in all sectors.

Energy is central to achieving all of the sustainable development goals. Improving energy efficiency will reconcile the world’s growing need for energy services with the impact that energy resource development has on the natural resource base. Improving energy efficiency and energy productivity are two of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to combat climate change, improve air quality, and reduce energy costs for both businesses and consumers.

Developing renewable energy is one means to reducing the carbon intensity of the energy sector, thereby diminishing the historic correlation between economic development and growth in greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy also can contribute to diversification of primary energy sources and improve cost effective energy access for communities in remote regions.

A critical pre-condition for sustainable development is meeting the basic needs of societies, which requires sustainable provision of energy services and access to modern clean energy services for cooking and heating, lighting and communications, health and hygiene. Institutional barriers combined with investment scarcity have constrained energy access but can be addressed through comprehensive action.

The Forum will help government officials adopt strategies and policies to accelerate deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in the private and public sectors, including improved opportunities for banks and commercial companies to invest. The Forum is also a platform for practitioners – national experts, project developers, representatives of financial institutions and companies – to exchange experiences and solutions for improving energy efficiency, increasing the share of renewable energy, and implementing cleaner energy technologies.

For more information, please visit: http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=39915#/.   

Note to editors

The Sixth International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development is held in Yerevan, Armenia, on 29 September – 2 October 2015. The Forum is organized by the Government of Armenia, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the other United Nations Regional Commissions (UN RCs), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Office in Armenia, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency (C2E2), Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), and Habitat for Humanity International. The Fifth International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development was held in Hammamet, Tunisia in 2014 and was global in nature, with all five United Nations Regional Commissions and the Government of Tunisia jointly organizing and delivering the event. Participants of the Fifth Forum supported the Hammamet Declaration – a Joint Statement of the Executive Secretaries of the United Nations Regional Commissions.

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