Thematic Session: Sustaining efforts to ensure access to sustainable energy
Co-conveners: DESA, IMO, UNIDO

External experts listed on this page and the following United Nations entities have also contributed to the workstream: ESCWA, OHRLLS, OSAA, UNDRR, UNEP.

Energy lies at the heart of both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. As governments worldwide tackle the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, we must not lose sight of the critical need for an accelerated clean energy transition. Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 will open a new world of opportunities for billions of people through new economic opportunities and jobs, empowered women, children and youth, better education and health, more sustainable, equitable and inclusive communities, and greater protections from, and resilience to, climate change impacts. Achieving SDG 7 will catalyze actions to combat climate change and advance targets of other SDGs and will contribute to accelerate transition to carbon neutral economy.

Guiding questions:

  • How does/will the COVID-19 crisis and associated volatility in oil prices affect the energy sector?
  • How can clean energy investments contribute to a better and stronger recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • How do we deploy the four “levers” identified in the GSDR - governance, economy and finance, science and technology, and individual and collective action – to accelerate the clean energy transition?
  • How do we accelerate the clean energy transition, while expanding access to electricity, achieving progress on clean cooking and ensuring the increase in transport movements is sustainable?
  • How can we mainstream decarbonization, decentralization and digitalization of energy systems into updated Nationally Determined Contributions to maximize synergies between the energy transition and climate action?
  • What are the outstanding challenges, and best practices to mobilize finance for clean energy investments, in particular in particular least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states?
  • How do we advance the SDG Decade of Action through innovative and knowledge-based policies and partnerships? What affordable, reliable and gender-responsive energy solutions do frontier technologies offer?

Participants
Mr Stefano Signore
Head of Unit, Sustainable Energy and Climate Change, DG DEVCO
Mr Stefano Signore

Head of Unit, Sustainable Energy and Climate Change, DG DEVCO

Mr. Ahmed Abdel-Latif
Chief, New York Office, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Mr. Ahmed Abdel-Latif

Chief, New York Office, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

As Permanent Observer of IRENA to the United Nations and the Chief of the Agency’s New York Office since June 2019, Mr. Ahmed Abdel-Latif represents IRENA at the United Nations—engaging with Permanent Missions, UN programs and relevant stakeholders from the private sector, academia and other US-based organizations. Mr. Abdel-Latif served as Chief of the Office of the Director-General. He joined IRENA in November 2015 as Special Assistant for Policy and Programme in the Office of the Director-General.
Before joining the Agency, he was a Senior Programme Manager for Innovation, Technology and Intellectual Property at the Geneva-based International Center for Trade Sustainable Development (ICTSD) from 2007 to 2015. As a career diplomat, he worked at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was posted to the Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations and the World Trade Organization in Geneva from 2000 to 2004.

Mr. Beniamin Strzelecki
Global Focal Point for SDG7 Youth Constituency
Mr. Beniamin Strzelecki

Global Focal Point for SDG7 Youth Constituency

Mr. Beniamin Strzelecki serves as the Global Focal Point for SDG7 Youth Constituency, the official space for youth engagement on energy topics within the UN system. He is a civil engineering student at New York University Abu Dhabi. He engaged with the energy sector by participation in the IRENA Youth Forum, contributing to policy recommendations for different multilateral bodies and reviewing publications.

Mr. Brent Wanner
Senior Energy Analyst, International Energy Agency (IEA)
Mr. Brent Wanner

Senior Energy Analyst, International Energy Agency (IEA)

Mr. Brent Wanner is a Senior Energy Analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Lead of Power Generation Analysis within the World Energy Outlook (WEO) team. For the past six editions of WEO, he has focused on the long-term outlook for electricity, including the Focus on Renewable Energy in 2016. He was also a principal contributor to WEO Special Reports on Energy and Climate Change in 2015 and the World Energy Investment Outlook in 2014. Prior to the IEA, Brent was an economist at the U.S. Department of Energy and holds degrees from Wake Forest University in economics and Duke University in energy and environment.

Mr. Daniel Schroth
Acting Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, African Development Bank (AfDB)
Mr. Daniel Schroth

Acting Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, African Development Bank (AfDB)

Mr. Desta Mebratu
Extraordinary Professor, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Mr. Desta Mebratu

Extraordinary Professor, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Mr. Desta Mebratu is an Extraordinary Professor at Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST) at Stellenbosch University and a Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS). He is also a Visiting Professor at Addis Abeba Institute of Technology as a Visiting Professor and a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences (FAAS) since 2016. He has more than 30 years of experience working for industries, universities and international organizations. He worked at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for more than 13 years and held various positions, including Head of UNEP Business and Industry Program, and Deputy Regional Director for Africa. His main areas of expertise are: resource efficient and cleaner production, sustainable energy systems, sustainable industrial development policies, green economy and sustainability science. His current research area is focused on Transformational infrastructure for Wellbeing Economy in Africa. He has widely published in peer-reviewed journals and co-edited the ‘Handbook on Sustainable Development Policy and Administration’ and the book on ‘Transformative Infrastructure for development of a Wellbeing Economy in Africa.

Mr. Glenn Pearce-Oroz
Director, Policy and Programs, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL)
Mr. Glenn Pearce-Oroz

Director, Policy and Programs, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL)

Mr. Glenn Pearce-Oroz is the current Director for Policy and Programmes of Sustainable Energy for All. He is currently leading SEforALL's policy and programs and responsible for the strategic development of initaitives, high-level engagement with partners, leveraging global and country-based activities, and managing a team of 20 professionals located in different countries. He joined SEforALL after 15 years with the World Bank where he worked in urban development and water and sanitation sectors across several Regions. Most recently, he was Lead Water & Sanitation Specialist for the Water GP in the Africa Region, based in the Nairobi Country Office, and previously managed the Water & Sanitation Program in Africa and Latin America for the World Bank. Over the past 18 years he has been working across country offices in Latin America, South Asia, and Africa. He has always been eager to address complex development challenges, from working with the first democratically elected mayors in Chile after the country's return to democratic institutions to managing reconstruction programs after Hurricane Mitch in Central America with USAID, as well as contributing to saving the Amazon rainforest in one of his first assignments with the World Bank.

Mr. Hans Olav Ibrekk
Policy Director, Energy and Climate Change, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Co-Facilitator of SDG 7 Technical Advisory Group
Mr. Hans Olav Ibrekk

Policy Director, Energy and Climate Change, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Co-Facilitator of SDG 7 Technical Advisory Group

Mr. Hans Olav Ibrekk is Policy Director, Section for Energy, Climate and Food Security, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has more than thirty years of experience from government, international organizations, research and consulting in development cooperation, climate change, energy, water resources management, environmental financing, and capacity building, among other areas. He is a member of the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and served on the Board of the Adaptation Fund 2007-2017, including serving as Chair in 2013 and 2015. Mr. Ibrekk is also the co-facilitator of the UNDESA-appointed SDG7 Technical Advisory Group. He is the focal point for water and sanitation in the Ministry. Mr. Ibrekk previously worked at the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). He holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from University of Washington and a Master’s in Civil Engineering from the Norwegian Institute of Technology.

Mr. Jean-Michel Glachant
Director Florence School of Regulation - Energy and Climate
Mr. Jean-Michel Glachant

Director Florence School of Regulation - Energy and Climate

Mr. Jean-Michel Glachant is the Director of the Florence School of Regulation and the Holder of the Loyola de Palacio Chair. He worked in the industry and private sector before becoming professor at La Sorbonne.
He has been advisor of DG TREN, DG COMP and DG RESEARCH at the European Commission and of the French Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE). He has been coordinator and scientific advisor of several European research projects. Jean-Michel Glachant has been editor-in-chief of EEEP: “Economics of Energy and Environmental Policy” (an IAEE journal) and he is vice-president of the International Association for Energy Economics.

Mr. Paul Harris
Director, Integrated Energy Solutions
Mr. Paul Harris

Director, Integrated Energy Solutions

Mr. Paul Harris is the Director and Founder of Integrated Energy Solutions (Pty) Ltd, focusing on the sustainable delivery of modern energy for the upliftment of the world’s poor. In this capacity, Mr. Harris has consulted a myriad of clients, including UNDP, UNIDO, World LP Gas Association, Eskom, Columbian Energy Regulator, LP Gas Association of South Africa, World Bank, Development Bank of South Africa and Department of Energy. Of particular note has been his work for UNIDO over many years, focusing on the sustainable delivery of renewable energy projects through the design of the downstream services to households and businesses. He has conceptually designed and is technically responsible for a new approach to the delivery of bioethanol cooking being pioneered in Dar es Salaam Tanzania.

Mr. Roberto Vigotti
Secretary General, Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa Foundation (RES4Africa)
Mr. Roberto Vigotti

Secretary General, Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa Foundation (RES4Africa)

Mr. Roberto Vigotti is the Secretary General of RES4Africa Foundation. He has more than 30 years’ experience in Enel where he held various positions, from coordinating programs in the Research & Development division to advising on strategy in the Business Development one. In 2012, Mr. Vigotti embarked in the RES4Africa adventure, to promote renewable energy in Africa as a reliable and cost-effective way to meet local energy needs for sustainable growth. He has also been one of Italy's delegates in the Renewable Working Party of the IEA since 1989, and a member of IRENA's Coalition for Action.

Mr. Vijay Modi
Professor, Columbia University, The Earth Institute
Mr. Vijay Modi

Professor, Columbia University, The Earth Institute

Mr. Vijay Modi is a professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia University and an Earth Institute faculty member since 2006. Previously, he led the UN Millennium Project effort on the role of energy and energy services in reaching the Millennium Development Goals. His expertise is in the fields of energy sources and conversion, heat/mass transfer, and fluid mechanics. Currently, he is focused on three projects: leading the infrastructure team for the Millennium Villages Project (10 countries, 14 sites across sub-Saharan Africa), developing planning and decision-support tools for infrastructure, and looking at the food-energy-water nexus in Indian agriculture. He has authored or co-authored numerous journal papers and served as the principal or co-principal of a number of research grants from government and industry. Mr Modi is a two-time winner of prestigious teaching awards from Columbia. In 1997, he received the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates and the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award from the Columbia Engineering School Alumni Association in 1996.

Ms. Barbara Buchner
Executive Director, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI)
Ms. Barbara Buchner

Executive Director, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI)

Ms. Barbara Buchner is the Global Managing Director of Climate Policy Initiative, and the Executive Director of its widely renowned Climate Finance program. Named one of the 20 most influential women in climate change and one of the 100 most influential people in climate policy, she advises leaders on climate, energy, and land use investments around the world. Ms. Buchner directs the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (the Lab) and its sister programs in Brazil and India. Instruments from the Lab have mobilized over 2 billion US dollars for sustainable development in developing countries in just five years. Previously Ms. Buchner served as a Senior Energy and Environment Analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA) and as a Senior Researcher at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) where she was involved in a number of activities related to FEEM’s Climate Change Policy and Modelling Unit in the field of environmental economics.

Ms. Christine Lins
Executive Director, Global Women's Network for Energy Transition (GWNET)
Ms. Christine Lins

Executive Director, Global Women's Network for Energy Transition (GWNET)

Ms. Christine Lins is the Executive Director at GWNET. Her professional journey, over the past twenty years, has been to advance the energy transition with renewables and energy efficiency. Prior to this, Ms. Lins served as Executive Secretary at REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network of the 21st Century) after working at the European Renewable Energy Council for 10 years.

Ms. Emily Mcateer
CEO & Co-Founder, Odyssey Energy Solutions
Ms. Emily Mcateer

CEO & Co-Founder, Odyssey Energy Solutions

Ms. Emily Mcateer is the CEO and Co-Founder of Odyssey Energy Solutions and a Board Member of the Alliance for Rural Electrification since 2018. Ms. Mcateer worked as Chief Revenue Officer of Frontier Power, a SunEdison subsidiary developing solar microgrids in India and Africa. She also worked in advanced energy management at EnerNOC and Yahoo, developed climate investment solutions at RiskMetrics Group, and received a Fulbright Fellowship to address off-grid solar lighting solutions in rural India.

Ms. Ilaria Conti
Head of Gas, Florence School of Regulation - Energy and Climate
Ms. Ilaria Conti

Head of Gas, Florence School of Regulation - Energy and Climate

Ms. Conti is an expert in EU energy policy and regulation, with a special focus on electricity and gas markets. She lived for 9 years in Brussels, working at the United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC), at the Permanent Representation of Italy at the EU and at EFET, the European Federation of Energy Traders. In EFET she was Communications Director and Policy Advisor for many Task Forces (Gas Committee, TF Iberia, TF CEE-gas) and the EFET Board; in 2008 she founded EFET Italy, which she led until 2013. From 2013 till 2015 she worked for the Italian energy company ENOI S.p.A. as Regulatory and Institutional Manager.
She joined the EUI in 2015 as Deputy to the FSR Director for Energy Policy. In 2017 she initiated the Gas area of the Florence School of Regulation, which she currently coordinates and where she directs a number of residential and online courses on gas policy and regulation. She is also the author of several publications on natural gas and, more recently, sector coupling, green gases and decarbonisation.

Ms. Ingrid Sidenvall Jegou
Project Director, Global Maritime Forum
Ms. Ingrid Sidenvall Jegou

Project Director, Global Maritime Forum

Ms. Ingrid Sidenvall Jegou is a Project Director at the Global Maritime Forum, an international not-for-profit organization committed to shaping the future of global seaborne trade to increase sustainable long-term economic development and human wellbeing. She has previously worked in the public, private and not-for profit sectors in Sweden, Geneva, Brussels and Copenhagen, always with a focus on sustainable development. She has extensive experience from international, multi-stakeholder partnerships in the area of sustainable development, climate change and energy, including inter alia the Expert Task Force on Rules of Trade and Investment of the World Energy Council; the Alliance of Sustainable Energy Trade Initiatives, the SETI Alliance; and the working group on green trade of the Green Growth Action Alliance, hosted by the World Economic Forum. She was a partner task leader in the EU research project “Carbon CAP”, and the group manager for two World Economic Forum E15 expert groups on trade, climate change and clean energy. She is a member of Climate Strategies and of the steering committee of an international research project focusing on fossil fuel subsidies.

Ms. Irene Giner-Reichl
President, Global Women s Network for Energy Transition (GWNET)
Ms. Irene Giner-Reichl

President, Global Women s Network for Energy Transition (GWNET)

Ms. Irene Giner-Reichl is president of the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE), which she founded in 1999 as a multi-stake-holder platform for dialogues on energy in the service of sustainable development, and vice-president of the REN21 steering committee. Ms. Giner-Reichl has held numerous international bureau functions. In January 2012, she was appointed the Austrian ambassador to the People’s Republic of China and Mongolia. From 2005 to 2012 she was director general in charge of Austria’s development policy and cooperation. From 2001 to 2004 she headed the UNIDO office in New York in the rank of assistant director general. From 1998 to 2001 she was Austria’s permanent representative to the UN, IAEA, UNIDO and CTBTO in Vienna. From 1995 to 1998 she was director of the international department of the Austrian Ministry for the Environment. Ms. Irene Giner-Reichl has been a member of the Austrian Diplomatic Service since 1982. Her main areas of expertise are economic and social development, women’s rights’ issues, environment, energy, and development cooperation.

Ms. Karin Fernando
Senior Professional, Centre for Poverty Analysis, Sri Lanka (CEPA)
Ms. Karin Fernando

Senior Professional, Centre for Poverty Analysis, Sri Lanka (CEPA)

Ms. Karin Fernando is Senior Professional at the Centre for Poverty Analysis, Sri Lanka (CEPA), where she leads the thematic work on Sustainable Development. Her interests are in natural resource management, sustainable development and poverty. Her work on sustainable development focused on the links between the environment (its resources, management and use) and how it affects the lives of poor people and vice-versa.

Ms. Passy Amayo Ogolia
Programme Officer, Society for International Development (SID)
Ms. Passy Amayo Ogolia

Programme Officer, Society for International Development (SID)

Ms. Passy Amayo Ogolia is Programme Officer at the Society for International Development (SID), leading the implementation of the Sustainable Energy Futures (SEF) for Eastern Africa Programme’s research, dialogue and evidence-based policy recommendation processes and any linkages to climate change related activities in East Africa. She represents SID within the UN Environment Programme; YOUNGO at the UNFCCC TEC Taskforce on Collaboration and Stakeholder engagement; and is a Regional Focal Point for the SDG 7 Youth Constituency of the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth.

Ms. Rabia Ferroukhi
Director of Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Ms. Rabia Ferroukhi

Director of Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

As Director of the Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre (KPFC), Ms. Rabia Ferroukhi oversees the Agency's work on a range of renewable energy policy issues including design, socio-economic benefits and integrated resource management. She joined IRENA in 2011 and has over 20 years of experience in the fields of energy, development and environment. She has worked in both public and private sectors, including governmental institutions in the Middle East and North Africa, energy companies in the Mediterranean region and the GCC, and international institutions.

Ms. Sheila Oparaocha
Executive Director, ENERGIA (international network on gender and sustainable energy)
Ms. Sheila Oparaocha

Executive Director, ENERGIA (international network on gender and sustainable energy)

Sheila Oparaocha has twenty one years of working experience in the gender and energy sector, a Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Medicine and a Master’s Degree in Gender and Development Planning. Sheila is the International Coordinator and Programme Manager of the ENERGIA International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy. ENERGIA is an International Network of like-minded organisations and professionals that was established in 1996 to create an institutional base for galvanising action aimed at integrating gender into the energy access agenda of developing countries. Currently, ENERGIA has a programme of work with 31 partner organizations in 18 countries in Africa and Asia. Sheila has the overall and primary responsibility for managing ENERGIA’s international programmes, planning, monitoring, reporting and liaising with ENERGIA’s donors. Sheila also provides technical support to ENERGIA’s activities on women entrepreneurship development, gender mainstreaming in energy programmes, international policy advocacy, research and evidence development, network building and knowledge management. Sheila is the co-chair of the Technical Advisory Group for the Sustainable Development Goal 7 and a member of the Health and Energy Platform for Action.

Ms. Shonali Pachauri
Acting Director of Transitions to New Technologies, International Institute for Applied System Analyses (IIASA)
Ms. Shonali Pachauri

Acting Director of Transitions to New Technologies, International Institute for Applied System Analyses (IIASA)

Ms. Shonali Pachauri is Acting Director of the Transitions to New Technologies (TNT) Program and Senior Research Scholar with the Energy (ENE) Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria. She has also served as Adjunct Professor at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she taught graduate courses during the Fall semester of 2016. Ms. Pachauri's research focuses on the role of technological, institutional and social innovations for inclusive human development, particularly for those people without access to basic infrastructures and services. She coordinates and leads research on analyzing heterogeneities in infrastructural access and use in the developing world, policy pathways for achieving universal access to modern energy services and technologies and assessing the wider impacts of this for sustainable development. She has published extensively on these topics, both in the form of scientific peer-reviewed articles and policy reports. Ms. Pachauri is Lead Author for the IPCC WGIII AR6 report and was Coordinating Lead Author of the Global Energy Assessment (GEA). She serves on the science advisory panel of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).

Ms. Sofia Martinez
EU, DG DEVCO
Ms. Sofia Martinez

EU, DG DEVCO

Ms. Sofia Martinez has nearly 20 years of professional experience in sustainable energy, climate change, development and international cooperation both in the private and public sector. She is currently seconded from the Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition in the EU's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development.

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