Adding our voice to SE4ALL civil society statement
Governments and the UN should support a more ambitious, accountable and people-driven Sustainable Energy for All initiative in Rio
The World Future Council joins Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace International and over 20 other international civil society organisations in a statement calling on the UN to ensure that its Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative is an accountable and people-driven process involving the energy poor, affected communities and marginalised groups. Without such engagement the initiative risks being ineffective and illegitimate. The statement is submitted to the UN Secretary General at the Rio+20 Summit. As it stands, SE4ALL is inadequate and non-inclusive, and will not achieve the level of change required to tackle both energy poverty and climate change. Multinational corporations have been given the biggest role, while the voices of those it intends to help have been excluded at the highest levels.
“Power to the People” is the guiding principle for us at the World Future Council. We promote renewable and decentralised energy production as well as on a rapid transition to efficient energy production and energy consumption. On top of the economic and environmental benefits of decentralised energy production it allows the population to be independent market participants.
We are concerned that while corporate interests from the fossil fuel, finance and energy industries have been invited by the UN Secretary-General to his High-Level Group most national governments and civil society voices have not. Civil society and the energy poor have generally been accorded a limited role throughout SE4ALL. Any national strategy must lay out clearly defined accountability and monitoring mechanisms to enable citizens to hold their government and any private sector concessionaires accountable in real time for progress on commitments and their impacts. We call on donor and private sector actors to commit to funding such a process of civil society engagement, accountability and monitoring in SE4All countries to ensure the effectiveness of national roll-out.
In prioritising universal access, SE4ALL must support people’s right to access the full range of energy services and recognise that decentralised, community-controlled systems are often the least-cost and most effective way to deliver clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy. In contrast, large-scale centralised solutions have been unable to reach the billions lacking access. Technology choices should also adhere to clear social and environmental criteria that protect people, ecosystems and the climate from negative impacts across their production supply chain. This means excluding industrial bioenergy, large-scale hydroelectric dams and fossil and nuclear fuelled power plants from the initiative. All technologies should be locally appropriate and reflect the needs of the poor at household, productive and community level.
Read the two-page statement here.
[UPDATE 11/7/12] Clean Energy, Dirty Industry Funding? by Stephen Leahy, IPS
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012