At the closing session of the Seventh International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development, the delegates called on the governments and international organizations to take urgent steps for transformation of energy systems. There is a gap between current actions taken by governments and the commitments they have made both to the 2030 Agenda and in the Paris Climate Agreement, and another gap between their commitments and the ambition of limiting temperature rises to well below 2°C. Practical steps are needed to close these gaps. The outcome document of the Baku Forum is a request to Member States to commit to concrete measures in energy to support achieving the energy-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and contributing to the Paris Climate Agreement.
Participants of the Forum requested that all of the United Nations partners submit the draft Ministerial Declaration to their Member States for consideration for adoption at the Energy Ministerial Conference organized in the context of the Eighth International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development and the EXPO-2017 “Future Energy” that will take place on 11 June 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The actions proposed in the document are designed to fill the identified gaps and accelerate the transition to a sustainable energy system through an agreed common agenda. The declaration seeks to propose potential solutions and focuses on the need for an urgently needed paradigm shift in policy making and the way we produce and consume energy. All events during the four days of the Forum – High-Level Policy Dialogue, International Conference on Renewable Energy, workshops, seminars, and meetings of two UNECE Groups of Experts – on Energy Efficiency and on Renewable Energy – fully supported the Baku Call for Action and recommended consideration of the draft Ministerial Declaration at the Eighth International Forum in Astana.
Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), emphasized in his speech that there is no “one size fits all” solution and each country will choose its approach optimally given its national circumstances to both implementing the 2030 Agenda and achieving the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Two events of the Forum are examples of concrete steps that can be taken by Governments and other stakeholders. The SPECA1/ Working Group on Water, Energy and Environment concluded that cooperation in these sectors between the countries of SPECA is a necessity to achieve the SDGs related to energy, water management and environmental protection as these sectors and respective goals are interrelated. A session on methane management in natural gas industry agreed on the urgent need to improve both data collection and analysis and mitigation of emissions. Methane is more than 80 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and addressing these emissions is a near-term cost-effective climate action.
The Seventh International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development was held in Baku, Azerbaijan on 18-21 October 2016.2/ It was jointly organized by the Government of Azerbaijan, the United Nations Regional Commissions, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the World Bank, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency (C2E2), and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Over 400 international energy experts, government officials, and representatives from the business community, financial sector, academia and civil society took part in the Forum.
Baku Call for action to achieve energy-related Sustainable Development Goals and contribute to the Paris Climate Agreement and other Forum materials are available on the website: www.unece.org/index.php?id=42643#.
1/ SPECA - the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia. The countries of SPECA are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
2/ The International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development, an annual event since 2010, has made major contributions to the global dialogue on implementing the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) initiative.