Two years after the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) announced a vision to achieve “100% domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible while working to end energy poverty and protect water and food security”, the Forum under the Presidency of Ethiopia and in collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and Climate Action Network (CAN) is bringing that vision to life by convening the first CVF Energy Dialogue focussed on implementation of the 100% renewable energy vision.
Attended by more than 30 members of the Forum and various partners who are in support to the CVF long-term vision, the Dialogue is being held alongside the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (UNHPLF) currently underway in New York. It aims to mobilise the necessary technical capacity, resources and partnerships to complete the energy transition. The discussions are focussing on taking stock of the current situation and considering how CVF members may progress the renewable energy agenda together.
In 2018 the UNHLPF is considering progress on Sustainable Development Goal 7, notably to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” This is of particular relevance to CVF countries where access to modern energy services is an enormous challenge despite it being the backbone of development and prosperity (UNDP 2009).
As renewables become cheaper, there is a unique opportunity for CVF countries to transform their energy systems and reap the fruits of the various co-benefits that renewables provide in terms of economic growth, jobs and health. In transitioning to renewables, CVF countries would immediately benefit from modern energy access, socio-economic gains, combating climate change and building resilient societies.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Energy Agency and other international organisations, 1.1 billion people are still without electricity and 2.8 billion currently suffer from lack of access to clean cooking facilities.
In a reaction, Ethiopia Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister H.E Dr Gemedo Dalle, comments: “We are extremely excited about this decisive moment. It proves that we are adamant to concretise what we promised two years ago, and we hope that other countries will be at least faithful to what they committed to in Paris in 2015. We are doing this to save ourselves but also to prove that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is feasible and beneficial. We are also moving forward with the right partners, so we are sure to win on all levels. Ethiopia has prioritised the 100% RE vision during its chairmanship of the CVF, and we commit to continue prioritising this vision through our engagement in the Forum.”
Ethiopia Water Irrigation and Electricity Minister, Sileshi-Bekele, says: “This is an important historical milestone for us as we move into materialising the Marrakech vision on 100% renewables. We strongly believe that 100% renewables are our only hope to build resilient societies and fight climate change while at the same time develop soundly and steadily. We believe also that with the right partnerships this leap of faith will be successful and provide an unbeatable paradigm that will build the necessary confidence in renewables that will allow others to rapidly follow suit.”
RMI Ambassador: “We support the goal of this meeting – to take stock of the current situation and discuss, with partners here today, how to proceed. At the UNFCCC in Marrakech nearly two years ago, the CVF committed to strive to meet a goal of 100 percent domestic renewable energy production as soon as possible, while also working on other policy goals, such as ending poverty. Also, as very vulnerable countries, we also have a dual challenge – to boost renewable energy and work towards climate resilience.
“A major political driver behind this energy commitment is also to try to encourage the efforts of larger nations who are not in the CVF – to not just say it but do it – and to send a message that “if we can do it, so can you”. But to be successful, our discussion must go beyond words. Today we want to focus on action, to “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk”.
Adnan Amin, Director General, IRENA: “CVF Vision 2050 provides a compass for a prosperous and resilient future for its members, powered by indigenous renewable energy sources which provide an immense opportunity to leapfrog to a sustainable energy future, while unlocking substantial socioeconomic benefits and meeting long term climate objectives. We applaud Ethiopia for making renewables a high priority in its leadership of CVF and look forward to working with the incoming chair, the Marshall Islands and the CVF members, as well as other like-minded partners, to support this remarkable initiative.”
Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative to the United Nations Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All: “CVF member countries face the dual challenge of undergoing a renewable energy transition that is also climate resilient in light of increasing occurrence of the devastating effects of climate change. We commend these countries for their leadership and providing an example all countries must follow as a global community to achieve sustainable energy for all.”
Wael Hmaidan, Executive Director, Climate Action Network: “There is a consensus among all key businesses, cities and other non-state actors that 100% renewable energy is a must to tackle climate change. We are all ready to support CVF countries in their pursuit of this vision in these crucial times where climate change impacts are deeply felt yet renewable energy is a sure bet to lead us to growth, more jobs and a modern world. We are eager to accompany and see these countries move forward in all areas towards clean, advanced and reliable energy systems and societies as well as prosperous economies and secured access to energy, food and water.”