Sustainable Energy Diplomacy
Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) is uniquely positioned at the intersection of 3 major policy spheres: energy, climate change and international development. We help global leaders understand and appreciate the linkages between these spheres by bridging partnerships and creating dialogue. Through our diplomatic efforts, we help decision-makers understand the far-reaching and cross-cutting benefits of sustainable energy…and the risks of being left behind.
Much of our sustainable energy diplomacy stems from our strong working relationships and partnerships with government, business leaders and the UN. We recognize that good policy and appropriate finance accelerate critical action on Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7). So we support ambition on sustainable energy within the UN system and at other global goal setting and implementation fora.
Our CEO serves as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All (SRSG), which creates opportunities for SEforALL to contribute to the UN agenda on energy. Members of SEforALL’s senior management team identify strategic speaking engagements and bilateral meetings to deliver key messages on the critical path to success in achieving SDG7.
The world has changed radically in the year since the Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit. It is now facing a global pandemic and the worst economic downturn in decades. The recovery from the pandemic also carries the opportunity of a transformation of global energy systems and thus accelerate climate action and development. On 3 September, Damilola Ogunbiyi gave remarks at the high-level launch event of a webinar series about the energy transition initiatives from the Climate Action Summit, hosted by the Ethiopian Minister of Energy and Water, the Danish Minister of Climate and Energy and the Danish Minister of Development Cooperation.
This report provides an update on SEforALL's activities over the past 100 days, covering the period 10 April to 18 July 2020, offering an overview of how the organization is progressing in the Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The High-level Political Forum (HLPF) is the central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. CEO and SRSG Damilola Ogunbiyi will participate in several virtual events of the HLPF with this year's theme "Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development".
The UN Global Compact Leaders Summit took place from 15-16 June. The virtual convening brought together leading voices from business, government, the UN, civil society and academia for a 26-hour conversation about how we can rebuild more inclusive economies and societies to set a new course for a socially just, low-carbon and climate resilient world, where no one is left behind. Our CEO took part in the ‘SDG Power Hour’ for a deep-dive discussion with journalist Femi Oke on ‘How the energy sector can Recover Better from COVID-19’.
On 30 June, CEO and SRSG Ogunbiyi provided remarks during the Africa Ministerial Roundtable organized by the IEA focusing on COVID-19 impact on Africa’s energy sectors. Her remarks highlighted the impact the pandemic is having on companies providing off-grid services that are critical to achieving access to electricity for populations across Africa. She also highlighted that this is a critical time to move away from the energy systems of the past and invest in the future, stressing that countries should implement measures and invest in sustainable energy infrastructure that will create a competitive advantage and deliver energy access at speed and scale.
The transition towards a new strategic approach has led to a busy three months in 2020 for SEforALL trying to align current and potential partners and funders around vision, and initiating new bodies of work. These activities are summarized in this first 100 Days Report.
Damilola Ogunbiyi led a SEforALL delegation at the first G20 Sustainability Working Group Meeting, organized by the Saudi Arabian G20 Presidency in Riyadh. SEforALL supported the organization of a one-day workshop about “Strengthening Institutional Cooperation on Energy Access.” This was the first time the Energy Sustainability Working Group dedicated a full day on energy access and reached broad agreement on the equal importance of both access to electrification as well as clean cooking. The participants also agreed to move forward with energy access as one of the four ESWG priorities to be further discussed during the rest of the year in anticipation of the Energy Ministerial Meeting scheduled for September 2020. On the sidelines of this meeting, Damilola Ogunbiyi met with HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, Minister of Energy, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Manur Muhta, Vice President for Operations of the Islamic Development Bank, and Nathalie Fustier, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Saudi Arabia.
Ahead of our Forum in Kigali, which is hosted jointly by the Government of Rwanda and SEforALL, CEO and SRSG Damilola Ogunbiyi undertook her first official visit to Rwanda. In her meeting with Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, she highlighted the importance of implementation and adequate funding to achieve SDG7. With key event partners, the Minister for Environment Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya and the Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete, she discussed preparations for the Forum and how Rwanda and SEforALL can cooperate in the future. She visited with EU Ambassador to Rwanda Nicola Bellomo and met with representatives from international organizations, including Dr. Fode Ndiaye, UN Resident Coordinator, and Stephen Rodriques, UNDP Resident Representative. She also met with Hubert Ruzibiza, CEO of the Green Fund Rwanda, the Women Renewable Energy Organisation and with young leaders of the Kigali Global Shapers.