G20 Energy Ministerial

SEforALL helps put sustainable energy access on G20 agenda


The G20 Energy Ministers Meeting concluded on 28 September with energy ministers from the world’s 20 largest economies formally recognizing the importance of energy access in their official communique.

The document contained the following statement: “We recognize that access to energy is one of the fundamental prerequisites for social and economic development. While we welcome the progress made to ensure access to affordable and reliable energy for all, we note that the world is not on track to meet universal energy access and eradicate the impacts on vulnerable communities and meet our sustainable development goals.”  

Furthermore, the communique formally endorsed a G20 Initiative on Clean Cooking and Energy Access, representing the highest level of support possible within the G20 framework and providing much-needed profile to the importance of improved electricity and clean cooking access. The latter was elevated to a new level in G20 discussions through the Energy Sustainability Working Group, under the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, this year’s Presidency.

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) was a key driver in developing the Initiative on Clean Cooking and Energy Access through its work on the Energy Sustainability Working Group over the past ten months, which came at the request of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

At the first working group meeting in March 2020, SEforALL organized a day-long workshop called Strengthening Institutional Cooperation on Energy Access as a way of providing the latest evidence and trends on the challenge of universal access to electrification and clean cooking. The meeting concluded with a request from the G20 Presidency for SEforALL to lead the preparation of a first-ever report on forward-looking options to improve universal access to energy for G20 Members’ consideration.

SEforALL worked closely with the Presidency and other partners including Clean Cooking Alliance, International Energy Agency, Islamic Development Bank, OPEC Fund for International Development, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, World Health Organization and World Bank, to produce the report.

The report’s purpose was to guide the thinking of how energy access could be addressed on the G20 agenda for years to come, providing a series of priorities that G20 energy ministers would commit to at the September ministerial.

The G20 Initiative on Clean Cooking and Energy Access that was endorsed is based on the report’s recommendations, which provide a framework of five options for how G20 countries can contribute to the goal of sustainable energy access moving forward.

The five options were:

  • Address data and financing gaps in off-track countries for greater effectiveness of public and private investment through scaling existing initiatives, filling gaps, and leveraging financing mechanisms that incentivize and pay for results.
  • Consolidate fragmentation of approaches to clean cooking by addressing the multi-dimensional challenges of building markets.
  • Assist countries to develop national clean cooking and integrated energy plans through providing technical assistance and incentives that require country commitments.
  • Build capacity of public and private sectors in targeted countries to ensure key actors are equipped to advance efficient, affordable and reliable energy access solutions, policies, and financing on the most expedient and cost-effective sources.
  • Support institutions and enabling frameworks to leverage the full potential of private sector to support governments in meeting efficient, affordable and reliable energy access through transparent policy frameworks for an all fuels, all technologies approach.

In the final communique, G20 energy ministers noted: “We endorse the G20 Initiative on Clean Cooking and Energy Access and we look forward to furthering significant progress on clean cooking, energy access, and energy poverty eradication under the Italian Presidency.”

Italy holds the next G20 Presidency and has already signaled its intent to keep universal access to energy a priority on the G20 agenda with a focus on advancing the initiative.

Meanwhile, this year’s G20 Presidency established an important precedent for coordinating with international organizations and development partners, particularly through the Energy Sustainability Working Group. SEforALL looks forward to supporting the Italian Presidency in 2021 to drive action on energy access through this group of the 20 most important economies.