The Forum facilitated an international dialogue on providing universal energy access and on the multiple co-benefits of increasing energy efficiency. Core themes addressed at the conference included:
- Agreeing on a common understanding of energy access
- Agreeing on a strategy to ensure universal access to modern energy services and increase energy efficiency by reducing energy intensity by 40% until 2030
- Identifying indicative targets and policies in support of these objectives
- Prioritizing key national and regional actions on energy access and energy efficiency
The Forum brought together more than 1,200 participants from 125 countries including heads of state, policy-makers, experts, civil society and the private sector. A total of 99 key speakers from 45 different countries facilitated the discussion on how to overcome energy poverty and how to move from declarations of intention to tangible action on the ground.
Speaking at the Forum, former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger said that universal energy access was not “just about lighting a dark room, or cooking on a better stove. It’s about the freedom that energy – and especially renewable energy – gives us”.
Kandeh K. Yumkella, who also chairs UN-Energy, a United Nations system-wide coordinating mechanism on energy issues, said that the lack of access to affordable, reliable energy services was a fundamental hindrance to human, social, and economic development, adding that “without access to modern forms of energy it is highly unlikely that any of the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved”.
“Close to 3 billion people are without access to modern energy services and by providing universal access up to 2 million lives could be saved annually,” said IIASA Director, Detlof von Winterfeldt. He added that according to the GEA the cost of providing modern energy access for all was not only achievable but affordable in the medium term: “This access will achieve enormous co-benefits in terms of air quality and related health issues, climate change, and gender equity, to name just a few.”
The discussion on these topics served to propose an international architecture on how to ensure universal energy access and reduce energy intensities. It also helped map the related work of key stakeholders and define their roles and responsibilities. Based on this mapping, the development of an action-oriented roadmap will be initiated.
Johannes Kyrle, Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs of the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs said that the Energy Forum was special to Austria because it could draw on the wealth of knowledge and connections of eight international organizations headquartered in and around Vienna who have significant or exclusive energy mandates. “I expect the Vienna Energy Forum to mobilize political support for the energy access agenda, underscoring that energy access is necessary for poverty reduction and that access and climate stabilization can be pursued in mutually re-enforcing ways,” he said.
The event coincided with the pre-launching of the Global Energy Assessment.
Selected videos of the event
Summaries of the Forum
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