In recognition of the tremendous importance of energy for achieving the Millenium Development Goals, the United Nations General Assembly has designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. With more than 1.4 billion people worldwide lacking access to electricity, 1 billion more only receiving a few hours a day, and some 2.7 billion more – almost half of humanity – relying on traditional biomass for cooking and heating, delivering on energy access is indeed critical.
Richenda sat down to discuss the way forward for the campaign, and how we solve the dual challenges of delivering energy for all, and combating climate change.
2012 has been declared the International Year of Sustainable Energy for all. It is a platform for beginning the global effort to address energy access and engaging the public and policy makers to enable greater understanding of the world's needs. It's not just about combating climate change through expanded use of renewables, or about harnessing the great payoff from increased efficiency - half of the world still lives with energy poverty. That makes it an equity and justice issue. We need to work in a concerted manner internationally to solve this.
The SEFA campaign is focused on delivering sustainable energy for all. We have a broad global goal to ensure three objectives by 2030: 1) Ensuring universal access to modern energy services (including both electrification and cooking), 2) Doubling of the rate of improvement in efficiency globally; and 3) Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
As far as the campaign goes, UN energy has been engaged from the get go. They are the umbrella collaboration of more than twenty UN agencies that focus on energy issues.
Rio+20 will be a seminal moment, a milestone, but overall we have goals that are long term. We are already seeing bi-lateral initiatives announced – countries taking the initiative to a new level. We are hoping that it leads to a number of new initiatives either private sector or at a country level.