Representatives from the United Nations, the U.S Department of State, the private sector, academia and development partners will converge in Philadelphia on Monday, December 10, to take part in a high–level panel discussion seeking solutions to the “Challenges of Implementing Sustainable Energy for All at the Global and Local Levels.”
Organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF), the symposium will bring energy experts to Philadelphia's National Constitution Center to discuss innovative ways to meet the world's growing demand for sustainable energy access at a time when it is estimated that one in five people worldwide lack access to electricity.
In Africa, 80 percent of the continent's population continues to use traditional biomass and only 42 percent have access to electricity. The situation is even worse for Sub-Saharan Africa where only 31 percent have access to energy; the lowest rate of any region in the world as reports suggest. Lack of adequate, accessible and affordable energy does not promote economic growth and poses a challenge in satisfying basic human needs.
Energy advocates are convinced that social and economic development is only possible when access to modern and clean energy services is made available to the billions of people who continue to suffer from energy poverty.
Launched in 2011 by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Sustainable Energy Access for ALL (SE4ALL) initiative seeks to bring governments, the private and public sectors and civil society in a meaningful partnership in an effort to achieve the three interrelated global targets of universal energy access, improving energy efficiency and growing the share of renewable energy – all by 2030.
SEF's President, Jennifer Hopkins, stated that partnering with UNIDO was a great idea. “We are very excited to be partnering with the United Nations and sharing the lessons we have learned more broadly over the last decade in translating the broad vision for the Sustainable Energy Fund into actual increases in energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
“The event is unique in that it seeks to effectively disseminate experiences and lessons learned at the global level to inform regional and local level implementation,” said George Assaf, D.Phil. UNIDO Director and Representative to the UN. on underscoring the importance of the event.
“It is essential to identify success stories at the local level, such as those from the U.S. and other countries, which have potential relevance across regions and states, as well as internationally,” he further stressed.