Ogunbiyi speech

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and SEforALL CEO delivers remarks at UN Sustainability Week stocktake on the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All



At the UN General Assembly Sustainability Week, the President of the General Assembly convened a global stocktaking marking the completion of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All from 2014-2024. 

The goal of the global stocktaking was to review progress achieved over these ten years and to raise ambition and accelerate action towards attaining Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) by catalysing innovative solutions, investments and multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, spoke on behalf of the Secretary-General to an audience of esteemed guests.

Here are Ms. Ogunbiyi’s remarks:

“Your Excellency, Mr. Dennis Francis, President of the General Assembly, Honourable Ministers, esteemed members of UN organisations, and distinguished colleagues – 

It is my pleasure to stand before you today on behalf of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, at this Global Stocktaking, marking the completion of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All. 

I would like to acknowledge the Office of the President of the General Assembly for convening this first-ever Sustainability Week, and their efforts in collaboration with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and with UN-Energy for coordinating this Global Stocktaking, as mandated by UNGA resolution 77/170, building on the follow-up to the high-level dialogue on energy to further accelerate the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 7 of the 2030 Agenda. 

In the past decade, the global community has made significant strides towards achieving SDG7. Millions of people have gained access to electricity for the first time, thanks to concerted efforts from governments, organizations, and communities worldwide. 

Renewable energy sources have seen unprecedented growth, accounting for a substantial portion of the global energy mix. 

We have seen distributed renewable energy (DRE) systems becoming a fundamental part, and least-cost approach, for reaching underserved populations within our SDG7 goal of universal access by 2030. 

Investments in clean energy technologies have surged, driving down costs and accelerating the transition towards a sustainable energy future. 

We can all agree, however, that a lot more needs to be done. From the last Tracking SDG7 report we see that 675 million people still lack access to electricity and 2.3 billion people are without clean cooking solutions. 

Energy is linked to two-thirds of the 169 SDG targets. Without progress on energy, several other SDGs will continue to fall behind. 

As we take stock and celebrate progress, we must also work together to build on the momentum gained from the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All and galvanize greater support to ensure that we continue putting energy at the centre of our sustainable development agenda. 

Ladies and gentlemen, a critical process that can show us what is possible through collective action to achieve all the SDGs as we work towards 2030 is the Energy Compacts. 

The Energy Compacts are one of the 12 high-impact initiatives identified by the UN Secretary-General and remain instrumental in inspiring increased action towards achieving SDG7, in alignment with the Acceleration Agenda and the Climate Solidarity Pact. 

The Energy Compacts have mobilised USD 1.3 trillion in commitments for investments in SDG7 through to 2030. These voluntary commitments from a range of stakeholders provides a platform for driving holistic and inclusive action towards advancing electricity access, improving access to clean cooking, increasing renewable energy capacity and enhancing energy efficiency. 

Many of you are already part of this process, and I want to thank you for your support. There remains a critical need for additional commitments from existing as well as new Energy Compact proponents, and I look forward to working with all of you to further mobilise commitments and action. 

As countries revise their Nationally Determined Contributions, supported by UNDP’s Climate Promise, the Energy Compacts, and other UN system mechanisms, we have an opportunity to align these complementary processes for greater impact. 

Achieving SDG7 will require increased ambition, accelerated implementation, and scaled-up multi-stakeholder partnerships. 

At COP28, we saw several examples of partnerships, such as governments coming together to agree on tripling renewables capacity and doubling the rate of energy efficiency by 2030; the battery energy storage systems (BESS) Consortium was introduced in partnership with the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, with a mission to expand BESS capacity in low and middle-income countries thereby improving reliable power access and facilitating increased use of renewable energy. Another significant initiative, the Global Cooling Pledge, was launched to mitigate and adapt to urban heat through sustainable cooling solutions. 

Such collaborations are encouraged and we must come together to determine the appropriate institutional arrangements beyond the UN Decade in order to continue international cooperation on energy. 

UN-Energy – the inter-agency mechanism on energy – provides a key platform to coordinate and action the energy-related recommendations from various global processes. I thank Mr. Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP and co-chair of UN-Energy for their leadership and support. 

As I conclude, I look forward to the President of the General Assembly’s “Call to Action” which will be launched during this Sustainability Week to further accelerate the implementation of SDG7, which will serve as a concrete roadmap towards 2030. 

Thank you for your attention.”