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2012: International Year of Sustainable Energy for All (United Nations)

As mentionned in an earlier post (to read HERE), 2012 will be the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, and will be sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, the inter-agency UN-Energy, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and other public and private organisations. Its aim is twofold: increase awareness and find solutions on access to energy (with the objective of universal access by 2030) that is, in addition, affordable, clean and safe. It has as starting point the adoption in December 2010 of a UN General Assembly resolution endorsing the topic of this international year (GA/11040, 66th GA, 69th meeting, 20 December 2010; and Resolution 65/151 adopted by the GA on 16 February 2011), and its confirmation by its Secretary General in February 2011.

The initiative takes as starting point that "more than 1.4 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity, and 1 billion more only have intermittent access. Some 2.5 billion people – almost half of humanity – rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating." Energy is crucial to human development, abatement of poverty and, in doing so, peace. On that point, see the statement from the Vienna Energy Forum participants on "Universal energy access can secure growth and freedom" dated 21 June 2011. In the same time, most part of the challenge is to support access to energy in a sustainable manner, i.e. that will benefit people's economic and social development while respecting the environment. This requires both knowledge sharing and technology sharing. This is also why energy efficiency must be promoted simultaneously.

One of the tools established as part of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative is a global Energy Access Practioner Network, which gathers practionners from the private sector and civil society. (More on the Network here). The Network members are organised in working groups ranged by topics: mini-grids, finance and investment, mapping, standards, energy and agriculture, supply chains and entrepreneurship, and energy and health.

As described on the Sustainable Energy for All website:
"This initiative will call for private sector and national commitments and attract global attention to the importance of energy for development and poverty alleviation. The goal is to meet three objectives by 2030:
  • Ensuring universal access to modern energy services.
  • Doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency.
  • Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

In recognition of the importance of energy access for sustainable economic development and supporting achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations General Assembly has designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All."