Damilola Ogunbiyi with panelists at SDG7 Pavilion

SEforALL at COP26: Week 1 recap


With Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) dedicated to securing a clean, just energy transition as an integral part of the global fight against climate change, COP26 has been an unprecedented opportunity to shine a spotlight on the importance of achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – affordable, reliable sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.

While negotiators continue their efforts to arrive at agreements on climate change mitigation and adaptation, the discussions at side events and COP pavilions help build momentum among delegations around the strategic importance of sustainable energy for all. 

We’ve been fortunate to provide a platform for key announcements and important discussions on the energy transition by hosting, along with the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, the SDG7 Pavilion.

Here’s a quick overview of SEforALL’s week 1 highlights from COP26:

SDG7 Pavilion at COP26

SDG7 Pavilion

For the first time in COP history, SEforALL, in partnership with the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, is hosting a dedicated SDG7 Pavilion at COP26. The pavilion serves to unite SDG7 stakeholders to mobilize and connect bold commitments and actions for energy around the world.

In week 1, we hosted over 40 events and welcomed nearly 200 global leaders at the pavilion. We’ve been honoured to host H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria, and John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, along with government ministers from Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Scotland, and Sri Lanka; and five US Senators.

The pavilion was the launch platform for the Government of Rwanda’s Clean Cooking Energy Compact and the Enel Foundation and SEforALL’s new partnership for training and leadership development of women and youth within the energy sector. The Government of Nigeria also presented their data-driven Energy Transition Plan, commissioned by SEforALL as part of the Energy Transition Council, for reaching net zero emissions by 2060, with remarks from Nigeria’s Minister of Environment Sharon Ikeazor.
The week ended on Saturday with a launch event for a partnership between the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet and USAID, which brought USAID Administrator Samantha Power to the pavilion.

The pavilion’s programming is only half-way completed, with several exciting events coming up in week 2, all of which are being streamed live. See the pavilion agenda and register to watch on our virtual platform here.

John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President, The Rockefeller Foundation, at the SDG7 Pavilion on 4 November 2021.
John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, at the SDG7 Pavilion on 4 November 2021.

Energy Day on 4 November

The UK Presidency of COP26 designated 4 November as Energy Day. It was a day that saw a historic recognition of the role of achieving SDG7 by 2030 as integral to achieving the long-term targets of the Paris Agreement. 

Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, joined many leaders to emphasize SDG7’s important role as a critical enabler for the scale-up of clean power and for consigning coal power to history. She urged this shift away from coal towards clean energy during the opening plenary attended by global ministers and non-state actors, and at the “Powering the World Past Coal” event hosted by the Powering Past Coal Alliance.

“We are the architects of a sustainable future for all,” she said at the Energy Day opening plenary. “Today I call on all governments to raise the level of ambition necessary to fill the financing gaps and to ensure an energy future that truly leaves no one behind.”

On a historic day for the energy transition, several countries announced their commitment to phase out coal-fired power generation while others announced an end to domestic and international financing of coal projects.

Similarly, the Powering Past Coal Alliance welcomed 28 new members, including 7 countries, which means that now nearly two-thirds of OECD and EU governments are members and on the way to phasing out coal by 2030.

This coalition of national and sub-national governments, businesses and organizations is working to advance the transition from unabated coal power generation to clean energy.

CEO and SRSG Damilola Ogunbiyi speaks at the Energy Day opening plenary
CEO and SRSG Damilola Ogunbiyi speaks at the Energy Day opening plenary.

Energy Transition Council extends support to developing countries

The Energy Transition Council (ETC) is one of the key initiatives of the UK COP26 Presidency for promoting and supporting ambitious clean energy transitions in developing and emerging economies. Our CEO is the council Co-Chair, and we have been directly involved in supporting the council’s secretariat and overall strategy.

An ETC event on Energy Day featured two sessions where senior figures, from governments and international organizations, announced key commitments and discussed new measures to scale up support for countries in their energy transition.

Notably, the ETC unveiled its strategic priorities it would pursue beyond COP26, including a scaled-up Rapid-Response Facility to support short-term technical assistance needed by countries to enhance their ambition on clean energy, a partnership with the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, and multi-lateral country dialogues and high-level political advocacy.

Launch of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet

On 2 November during the World Leaders Summit, the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet was launched by its anchor philanthropic organizations: The Rockefeller Foundation, IKEA Foundation and Bezos Earth Fund. 

This historic alliance aims to unlock USD 100 billion in public and private financing to reach 1 billion underserved people with reliable, renewable power; avoid and avert 4 billion tons of carbon emissions; and drive economic growth, with 150+ million jobs created.

As part of the launch, the alliance announced a Call for Transformational Country Partnerships, which will offer financial and technical assistance to countries with the vision, commitment, and highest level of leadership to advance major national programmes in fossil fuel transitioning, grid-based renewables and distributed renewable energy. 

SEforALL is a partner in the alliance and helped broker conversations with priority partner countries for the alliance.

Rwanda announces Clean Cooking Energy Compact

During an event held at the SDG7 Pavilion on 3 November, the Government of Rwanda announced its commitment to improving domestic clean cooking access in the form of an Energy Compact.

The Energy Compact on Clean Cooking is an ambitious framework that aims to make modern cooking solutions more accessible. The compact targets phasing out the use of open fires in 80 percent of the rural population, and to ensure that at least 50 percent of urban populations have access to efficient, clean cooking fuels.
The compact, which provides a comprehensive policy framework for the achievement of these aims, has been fully costed at USD 600 million before 2030 in the form of traditional finance, technical assistance, and private sector investment, with the government and its partners committed to mobilizing this support.  

Additional key energy announcements during week 1

  • Global Roadmap on SDG7 released as key outcome of High-level Dialogue on Energy – UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a global roadmap to achieve a radical transformation of energy access and transition by 2030, while also contributing to net zero emissions by 2050. Read more.
  • Asian Development Bank, Indonesia and the Philippines to set up Energy Transition Mechanism – At the SDG7 Pavilion, three partners announced they are establishing this transformative, blended-finance approach that seeks to retire existing coal-fired power plants on an accelerated schedule and replace them with clean power capacity. Read more.

All announcements and events happening at the SDG7 Pavilion at COP26 can be streamed live from 1-12 November, and recordings of events will be uploaded following COP. 

We will be uploading all SDG7 Pavilion event recordings on the virtual platform in the coming days. In the meantime, please stream any sessions you missed or would like to rewatch on the SEforALL LinkedIn page, and don't forget to share them with your colleagues, friends and family. Register here to access the virtual platform.

Youth day at the SDG7 Pavilion