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    UNIS/OUS/292
    18 June 2015

    Re-issued as received

    Sustainable energy crucial for inclusive development and action on climate change, say participants of Vienna event

    VIENNA, 18 June (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) - Sustainable energy is the golden thread that connects both inclusive development and efforts to combat climate change, said participants at the Vienna Energy Forum (VEF) that opened in the capital of Austria today.

    The three-day major international event brought together over 1,000 participants, including high-ranking government officials and experts in the field. It precedes the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) Summit in New York and the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris. By emphasizing the multiple benefits of both the post-2015 development and the climate agendas and showcasing best practices and actions on the ground, the VEF 2015 aims to contribute to both the SDGs Summit and COP21.

    Speaking at the opening of the Forum, LI Yong, the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said: "Energy systems can be overhauled to support a sustainable future; they need to be affordable, reliable and environmentally sound. To make economic growth and development more inclusive and sustainable, we must rapidly reform our industrial processes towards sustainability. We must promote energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy more effectively, and reduce our carbon foot-prints. We need to also work on the constructive inclusion of women and youth - through their economic empowerment and entrepreneurship development in order to firstly address inequalities and secondly to unlock the full potential of the countries and society to innovate and motivate for solutions. We must use our scarce resources more efficiently and effectively. And lastly, we must also advance our cleaner production abilities."

    Referring to energy as the "central nervous system of the world economy", Michael Linhart, Secretary General of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA), added: "The programme of this year's Vienna Energy Forum reflects the manifold ways in which energy comes into play: as a nexus with other sustainable development goals, as a driver for urban development and as part of mutual linkages with gender equality and the empowerment of women. Developing successful business models and smart policies will be key in making sure that sustainable energy can make a major impact on inclusive development. Austria has a long tradition of know-how and expertise in renewable energy and energy efficiency which it is willing to share."

    Pavel Kabat, Director General and Chief Executive Officer, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), said: "This year's Forum comes at a key moment in the lead-up to agreements later this year on climate and sustainable development. It is impossible to ignore the fact that energy is at the heart of sustainable development, and inextricably linked to climate change. IIASA research is providing unique insight into these problems by exploring the interlinkages between them and the potential pathways to achieving a just and sustainable future for all the people on our planet."

    Kandeh Yumkella, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, said: "We need to transform the world's energy systems by taking a fresh, joined-up approach that can fuel development and at the same time combat climate change. We can change the game by mobilizing multiple players - public sector, private sector and civil society - to work together in new partnerships and leverage the necessary large-scale investment."

    Martin Ledolter, Managing Director, Austrian Development Agency (ADA), said: "For the past ten years, ADA has been assisting people in developing and emerging countries to gain access to sustainable and ecologically sound energy services. So far, we have financed projects in the amount of 48 million Euros for all those so far without access to modern energy. We are particularly proud to have initiated the establishment of a Center for Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency for Western Africa in Cape Verde, which we supported in partnership with UNIDO. This center is responsible for the creation of a coherent energy policy framework for the 15 member states of ECOWAS. Similar additional centers are now being planned for the East and Southern African Communities and the Caribbean. Getting the business community on board to get behind sustainable energy agendas in development is another success we are very happy about. Our support for such business partnerships has created direct benefits for 133 companies and around 255,000 people since 2012."

    In addition to the main organizers, the Vienna Energy Forum 2015 key partners include the Government of Germany, the Government of the Republic of Poland, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP).

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    The full programme of VEF2015 is available here http://www.unido.org/en/news-centre/events/vienna-energy-forum-2015.html

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    For more information, please contact:

    Mikhail Evstafyev
    UNIDO Advocacy and Communications Unit
    Telephone: (+43 699) 1459 7329
    Email: m.evstafyev[at]unido.org