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Pathways to Sustainable Energy – Accelerating Energy Transition in the UNECE Region

Published: December 2019

Pathways to Sustainable Energy – Accelerating Energy Transition in the UNECE Region

In September 2015 countries agreed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that comprises seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Attainment of the goals depends directly or indirectly on the availability of sustainable energy. Member States of the UNECE have asked how the region can attain the sustainable energy objectives in the context of the 2030 Agenda, and there is an opportunity to consider alternative sustainable energy strategies for the UNECE region. The Pathways to Sustainable Energy project explores different sustainable energy pathways to provide a basis for policy dialogue and to assess and track attainment of climate and sustainable development obligations.

There are various interpretations both of what sustainable energy is and of how to assess the efficacy of alternative pathways to the desired outcomes. Each country has its own endowment of natural resources and its own cultural heritage and legal and regulatory infrastructure. Its national energy strategy therefore will be tailored necessarily to its own priorities. The response for the region as a whole is therefore complex.

The UNECE Committee on Sustainable Energy has evaluated factors shaping the future energy system and has considered alternative views of how the future might evolve to support development of robust policy and market frameworks. The Pathways project was initiated to address uncertainty about a sustainable energy future and to initiate an informed policy dialogue among countries. The project has provided clarity for UNECE member States on how to attain sustainable energy outcomes. It also has initiated mechanisms to provide early warning if the region is not on track to achieve its objectives.

The goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be achieved through proper stewardship of natural resources, sustainable production and consumption patterns, resilient infrastructure, and coordinated overall system development. Access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy is key to sustainable development. Energy underpins social and economic welfare, ending poverty, ensuring healthy lives, and raising standards of living. Going forward this project can provide needed impetus for action, so that countries of the UNECE can pursue regional co-operation and work together to attain their collective and individual objectives.