Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations High-Level Dialogue on the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All: Mid-Point Review

New York, 24/05/2019 - 19:50, UNIQUE ID: 190524_32
Statements on behalf of the EU

24 May 2019, New York – European Union statement delivered by Mr. Gerton van den Akker, Chief of Staff, Counsellor, on behalf of the EU and its Member States, at the High-Level Dialogue on the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2019: A Mid-Point Review (23-24 May)

The EU and its MS welcome this mid-point review on the implementation of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2019.

Efforts to extend electricity access in low income countries are showing results but action must be stepped up to ensure universal access. In 2017, the number of people without electricity access fell by 97 million compared to 2016. However, progress continues to be uneven; three-quarters of the people who gained access since 2011 are in Asia and 600 million of those lacking access are in Africa. Almost three billion people lack access to clean-cooking solutions and are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution. Renewable power generating capacity in 2018 increased by 7.9% over 2017 but faster progress is needed. The energy efficiency target is currently unmet, with the current rate of 2.2% per year less than the 2.7 % needed. Financial flows, including public and private investments in sustainable energy, are also falling short of need.

The EU and its Member States continue to address energy as a horizontal issue to achieve sustainable development together with the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement. We work to improve access to energy, renewable energy generation and energy efficiency (including use of digital technologies) in order to achieve a sustainable balance between energy production and consumption while bolstering the fight against climate change. This involves supporting political ownership, improved governance and reform of the energy sector in partner countries, as well as promoting the use of digital technologies and boosting sustainable investment through innovative financing.

EU and Member States’ ODA commitments and disbursements to the energy sector increased from €4.3 billion in 2014 to €5.5 billion in 2016, with particularly fast growth in commitments to energy policy, energy distribution and renewable energy production. Energy represented around 7% of total ODA commitments. Spending on energy distribution increased by €571 million between 2014 and 2016 - more than doubling in real terms. Disbursements for renewable energy generation increased by nearly one billion Euro between 2014 and 2016, an 86% increase.

For the EU in its 2014-2020 programming period, the energy sector was a focal sector of cooperation in 30 partner countries, whilst energy cooperation also figures in other sectors (such as rural development, agriculture and sustainable infrastructure). In total €3.7 billion has been committed to energy in the 2014-2020 programming, of which around €2.7 billion for Sub-Saharan Africa. These commitments should help 40 million people to gain access to energy, increased renewable energy generation by about 6.5 gigawatt and contribute to a saving of about 15 million tons of CO2e per year. About three quarters of these results relate to Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Sustainable energy is one of the priorities under the newly proposed Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa and to ensure rapid operationalisation, we launched a High Level Platform on Sustainable Energy Investments.
  • We are major contributors to AREI, the Africa-owned and -led initiative, to which we pledged EUR 1.5 billion.
  • The EU has also been a pioneer in enhancing private sector mobilisation through several innovative financing initiatives in the sustainable energy cooperation area, a game changer that has led to private sector investments being also pushed higher on other global partners’ agendas. Building on the successful Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI) and the blending platforms, the EU External Investment Plan (EIP) has an important energy component, with eight out of a total of 28 approved guarantee tools under the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) relating to Sustainable Energy, accounting to a total of EUR 603.5 million.
  • Action at local level is key. With the EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, the successful model established by the EU has been replicated in other regions, including among others, the set-up of the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA). Local authorities voluntary commit to implement climate and energy actions and to translate the political commitment into practical measures, through their Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (SEACAP).
  • Moreover, the EU is increasing support efforts to partner countries for strengthening and implementing the Nationally Determined Contributions, linking them to the 2030 Agenda and sectoral planning, including energy.

 Access to sustainable energy is a prerequisite for sustainable development and for achieving the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. At the same time, SDG7 on energy, with all its subgoals, and the Paris Agreement should remain the guiding framework of Sustainable Energy for All in a time where energy efficiency measures in areas of production, distribution and consumption, and renewable energy investments are the most cost efficient and accessible sources. The EU remains committed to supporting our partners to make SE4All finally a reality.  


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