The Second Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Forum concluded today with strong recommendations for member countries to work together to fast-track an inclusive, just and equitable transition to low-carbon energy systems across the Commonwealth.
The biennial gathering, held virtually, explored practical solutions to help meet global commitments on energy made under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Participants discussed new low-carbon technologies, addressing the high cost of technology and need for better access to finance, as well as policy recommendations that promote sustainability in the electricity, transport, cooling and cooking sectors.
Opening at the event, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “We must urgently step up our action to implement the Paris Agreement and achieve our commitments on sustainable energy. While the transition pathways may differ across Commonwealth countries, the move to clean energy systems is a common goal.
“The pace of the energy transition needs urgent acceleration for which strong political will and ambition by Commonwealth member countries is required. Governments need to establish the enabling frameworks to attract finance, scale up technology and lower costs for energy transitions.” She encouraged a “people-centred” approach that is inclusive and leaves no one behind.
Countries were invited to lead ‘action groups’ focused on three key pillars, which make up the Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition agenda: Inclusive Energy Transitions; Technology and Innovation; and Enabling Frameworks. Countries also called for more collaboration on sharing knowledge, technologies and innovative solutions, including best practices on research, development and deployment of clean energy technologies in critical sectors, such as clean cooking and cooling.
The event featured presentations by experts in the field as well as in-depth country presentations from Australia, Barbados, Botswana, Canada, Ghana, Kenya, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom. While discussions showed various countries are at different stages of the transitioning to using sustainable forms of energy, there was a consensus about its critical importance and learning from the experiences of other members.
Delegates further acknowledged the challenges linked to energy transition, especially for economies that depend heavily on fossil fuels as a key source of income. Outcomes of the forum meeting will feed into Commonwealth contributions to the United Nations High Level Dialogue on Energy scheduled for September 2021, the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 26 in November 2021 and the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.