What is the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative?

Article, 26 October 2012

The UN’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative, launched in 2012, aims to improve the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable people by ensuring universal access to modern energy services, increasing the share of renewable energy sources around the world, and improving energy efficiency.

The UN’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative

The SE4ALL goals are laudable, but can the initiative make a difference? IIED has carried out some research to make some suggestions on how the UN initiative could best achieve these aims.

This IIED publication suggests that it can make a difference, but only if it puts improving the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable at the heart of its efforts.

The UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative has a strong focus on the private sector to deliver
universal energy access, improved efficiency and increased investment in renewable energy. With the right incentives, business can open up low-income markets by providing life-improving services to emerging middle-class populations who are still excluded from energy access.

In collaboration with the HEDON Household Energy Network of NGOs, we carried out a survey on the private sector and its role in delivering sustainable energy services. A recent briefing summarising and analysing the interviews concludes that SE4ALL can promote private sector partnerships with government and NGOs, encourage corporate responsibility initiatives, and support social entrepreneurs to benefit the poorest.

We continue to work with different stakeholders interested in being a part of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative to raise awareness on approaches that benefit the poorest. We are also an active part of a civil society coalition to push for transparency and representation of the most vulnerable groups in the initiative as it reaches the country level across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

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