Vienna Energy Forum 2018

Partnerships and innovation key to increasing global energy access

SDG7 - affordable and clean energy for all - was at the heart of the Vienna Energy Forum 2018 Special Session (VEF2018), which aimed to provide an assessment of what has been achieved so far and point the way towards a sustainable energy future. In this regard, the participants especially focused on the importance of energy system transformation, innovative climate technology, and partnerships for increasing access to energy around the world.

Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl emphasized at the opening of the Forum "I am delighted that this Forum has firmly established itself in Vienna, thereby creating a mutually beneficial partnership between the Forum and the city: While the Forum gains momentum from Vienna's international background and status as energy hub, the city in turn attracts attention through the Forum as a place where sustainability and green living matter, emphasizing its role as a centre of worldwide energy dialogue".

Sustainable Energy for Development

A series of plenary and round table discussions highlighted the opportunities and challenges for developing countries, including the emerging global energy system driven by technological innovation and new policy priorities, and the vast market potential of clean technology as an industry and as a solution for making industrialization sustainable. One cross-cutting theme was the need for partnerships in order to remove existing barriers to renewable energy and energy efficiency investments and markets.

"The topics that we will discuss here lie at the heart of a broader need to transform and shape both energy markets, as well as economic development pathways, towards a sustainable and inclusive future," stated UNIDO Director General LI Yong at the opening of the Forum. "While many challenges exist, there are also many opportunities with these being driven by such factors as technological change. At UNIDO, we believe that the transition to clean energy future goes hand-in-hand with Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID)."

Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted: "This year's review of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) presents a critical occasion for taking stock, strengthening our energy-related commitments and redoubling our efforts to meet SDG7 targets. Outcomes of this year's VEF will inform the HLPF's review of SDG7 on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all."

Sustainable Energy Centres

"The recently released 'Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report' shows that despite progress in certain areas the world is not on track to meet SDG7 by 2030. This shows an urgent need for action at an increased scale and speed. Innovative partnerships and approaches are essential accelerators to set us back on track, but they also require a good structure and framework. We are convinced that the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres offers these benefits, and can make a substantial contribution towards achieving affordable and clean energy for all," underlined Robert Zeiner, ADA Director of International Programmes and Projects.

During the height of the 2018 Vienna Energy Forum, Robert Zeiner and Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, Deputy to the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), signed a funding agreement on the preparatory phase of the ECO Clean Energy Centre (ECEC).

The center will be designed in a consultative process between UNIDO, the Teheran based ECO Secretariat and its Member States, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

"In line with the ECO Vision 2025, the new centre is expected to work towards the creation of integrated regional markets for sustainable energy and climate technology products and services", said UNIDO's Kuniyoshi.


VEF2018 was organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in partnership with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), and in collaboration with Austria's Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).

More than 300 participants attended the Forum, including government ministers, representatives from the UN, other international organizations, the private sector and academia, as well as energy experts.