Reflections on the High-Level Dialogue on Energy 2021

Girls sitting under a biogas lamp

SNV senior energy expert Rianne Teule gives an overview of the main outcomes of the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy that took place recently in New York.

In September 2021, for the first time in four decades, the topic of energy was discussed at UN summit level in the High-Level Dialogue on Energy 2021 (HLDE 2021), convened by the UN General Assembly in New York. The Dialogue (virtually) brought together Heads of State and Government as well as leaders from business, foundations, and international, civil society and youth organisations. The discussion’s ambition was to accelerate SDG7 action for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The HLDE 2021 covered five themes including:

  • Energy access

  • Energy transition

  • Enabling SDGs through inclusive, just energy transitions

  • Innovation, technology and data

  • Finance and investment

The thematic area of energy access and in particular clean cooking was advocated by the governments of the Netherlands, Kenya and Malawi who were nominated as Global Champions. The Global Champions played a key role in mobilising voluntary commitments in the form of Energy Compacts and also had responsibility for organising Ministerial Forum sessions and side events on this theme.

The main outcomes of the HLDE2021 were that there will be a Global Roadmap setting out milestones needed to achieve a radical transformation of energy access and transition by 2030. In addition, a series of Energy Compacts - platforms to unite and connect commitments and actions were announced.

In the lead-up to the event, SNV  joined several Energy Compacts to underline our contribution to the acceleration of action towards universal access to energy targets. See below a list of these initiatives:

  • The NL Energy Compact accelerating SDG7 action in low and middle-income countries: in this multistakeholder Compact, the Dutch private sector, civil society, finance, academia, youth and government are committed to supporting global action on the SDG7 goals and accelerating a just and inclusive energy transition that is gender-sensitive, locally-led and globally connected. Jointly, we will support increased action towards universal access to clean cooking and electricity, finance and investments for clean energy, support to displaced populations and empowerment of women and youth. You can download the NL Energy Compact or watch this short video.

  • The Off-Grid Solar Energy Compact: Power 1 Billion Lives, which commits to delivering electricity access to one billion people by 2030 - driving green growth, boosting resiliency, and ensuring the world’s most vulnerable communities are placed at the forefront of a cleaner, fairer, energy transition. Achieving the aims of this compact will mean that within the next nine years, 550 million people living in energy poverty will gain modern electricity access, often accompanied by life-enhancing appliances such as TVs, radios, phones and fans. Energy services are strengthened for a further 260 million people, where off-grid solutions provide a back-up to grid energy and/or displace the use of expensive and polluting diesel generation, and 190 million people will directly benefit from the productive use of off-grid energy in micro-enterprise, agriculture or public institutions.

  • In addition, SNV has committed to the Gender and Energy Compact, in which the undersigning parties from government,  private sector, finance, academia, civil society, youth, intergovernmental organizations and media commit to acceleration action to ensure:

    1. Equal opportunity for women to lead, participate in and benefit from a just, sustainable and inclusive energy transition

    2. Equal access for women to and control over sustainable energy products and services. The Compact defines various outcomes in the areas of energy poverty, gender-responsive energy policies, women entrepreneurship, women involvement in decision-making, and gender-responsive knowledge and data.

At SNV we were happy to see this increased momentum and focus on energy access during this dialogue. We hope that it will continue and translate into more action and progress to ensure the adoption of proven locally-led, inclusive approaches to universal access to energy.