SEforALL at COP26: Week 2 recap
In the second week of COP26, the need for climate action that does not stifle developing countries from reaching their economic and social goals became a key focus among negotiators.
Clean, affordable energy for all, as called for by Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), can help countries meet both their climate and development commitments moving forward. For the first time, we hosted an SDG7 Pavilion at COP, alongside our partner the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, to fuel discussions and spark actions that will help make SDG7 a reality.
Following a successful week 1, which saw us involved in several major energy announcements, we continued to provide an important platform for announcements and critical discussions around a variety of topics in week 2.
We held 34 side events involving 204 speakers at the SDG7 Pavilion during the second week of COP26. With these events we helped elevate several areas of the energy transition that are often overlooked or seldom grab headlines.
Here are our highlights from week 2 at COP26.
Planetary warming is why COP exists. With billions becoming exposed to the dangers of extreme heat, sustainable cooling solutions are urgently needed to support climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Our Cooling for All programme and UNEP held an event on 11 November titled “Be Bold: Sustainable Cooling for All” to highlight the linkages between cooling, climate, and SDG7, giving a rationale for urgent action from COP stakeholders, particularly from countries and organizations by developing policies and investing in sustainable cooling solutions.
This call for action was punctuated by our CEO Damilola Ogunbiyi who offered a keynote address, speaking to the need for sustainable cooling solutions in developing countries as a matter of equity, particularly because of the need for cooling services in the rollout of Covid vaccines.
During the event, the Race to Zero campaign announced that 14 cooling suppliers representing 28 percent of the residential air conditioning market have committed to net zero emissions across their supply chains by 2050 and halving their emissions by 2030.
Earlier in the week, Ashden hosted the “Cooler homes, stronger communities” event at the SDG7 Pavilion that profiled sustainable, affordable cooling solutions in India, Rwanda and Egypt, including participants in the Fair Cooling Fund and the 2021 Ashden Award winner for cooling in informal settlements, Mahila Housing Trust.
We held a series of events on Gender/Science and Innovation Day to shine a spotlight on gender considerations in the energy transition given differing energy behaviours and needs of women and men.
Gender Smart Investing hosted a pavilion event focused on gender-responsive energy solutions, and another co-hosted by Shine Campaign focused on the critical role of investment in women-led and community driven initiatives to protect lives, secure livelihoods, and usher in a clean energy future for last-mile communities.
We also provided a showcase for the Gender and Energy Compact, which was originally launched at the High-level Dialogue on Energy in September, to encourage more governments and organizations to join the coalition supporting it.
The multi-stakeholder compact was developed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), ENERGIA International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA) and Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET), supported by the Governments of Ecuador, Iceland, Kenya, Nepal and Sweden, to catalyse action towards gender equality and women’s empowerment to accelerate a just, inclusive and sustainable energy transition.
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, and H.E. Hajia Samira Bawumia, Second Lady of the Republic of Ghana and our Senior Director and Chief of Staff Tracey Crowe were among the many participants in the session outlining their commitments for supporting a gender-equitable energy transition.
Energy efficiency is the first fuel, and can create many opportunities and multiple benefits, such as reduced GHG emissions, cleaner air, economic savings, green jobs, among many others. The International Energy Agency has estimated that 42 percent of the total emissions reductions needed to deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement may come from energy efficiency improvements in end-use sectors.
The Energy Efficiency Solutions event hosted by the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency, SEforALL, and UNIDO highlighted current and emerging solutions for improving energy efficiency, including through government-led initiatives. For example, during the event the government of Kenya announced the development of a national energy efficiency strategy that will outline the specific actions to be taken to achieve a 2.8 percent annual reduction in energy intensity.
On 9 November, the Energy Efficiency Finance event hosted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) focused on financial approaches and lessons learned from funding energy efficiency projects and programmes globally. Financial institutions, Multilateral Development Banks and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) discussed key policy issues, institutional capacity, and challenges for unlocking finance in energy efficiency.
Additional announcements and news from the SDG7 Pavilion
- Husk Power Systems announced its seven bold targets for 2030.
- Energy Access Booster Award winners for innovation in sustainable mobility were announced on Transport Day.
- SEforALL and CPI presented research and facilitated a youth discussion on current finance for coal power.
With COP27 to be held in Egypt, we look forward to building on the momentum generated this year towards ensuring a clean, equitable energy transition is at the heart of global action on climate change. A robust achievement of SDG7 in all its aspects would make an important contribution to make an inclusive global net-zero future a reality.
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.