Jointly Build a Zero-Carbon Energy System to Further Advance the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Side-Event of the 2023 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Convened in New York

New York, NY – (NewMediaWire) – July 17, 2023 – The Side-Event of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development:
Jointly Build a Zero-Carbon Energy System to Further Advance the UN 2030 Agenda
for Sustainable Development was held at the UN Headquarters in New York on July
13, local time. This event was jointly hosted by the Global Energy
Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), the Latin
American Energy Organization (OLADE), the UN Sustainable Development Solutions
Network (SDSN), and the Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition (CEET).
Liu Zehong, Executive Vice Chairman of GEIDCO, made a video speech.

This event was attended and addressed by Li Junhua, UN Under-Secretary-General; Dai Bing, Deputy Permanent Representative and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to the UN; Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, UN Under-Secretary-General, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP); Rola Dashti, UN Under-Secretary-General, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA); Michal Mlynár, Deputy Executive Director of United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); Obeth Mbuipaha Kandjoze, Director General of the National Planning Commission and Minister of Economic Planning of Namibia; Mourad Wahba, Officer in Charge, UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF); and Ligia Noronha, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the UNEP New York Office. Video speeches were given by Jeffrey Sachs, President of SDSN; Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General and CEO, United Nations Global Compact; and Andrés Rebolledo, Executive Secretary of OLADE. This event was chaired by Cheng Zhiqiang, Executive Secretary for Cooperation of GEIDCO.

Liu Zehong highlighted
that in September 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Energy
Interconnection (GEI) initiative during the UN Sustainable Development Summit.
This visionary proposal offered a Chinese solution to facilitate global energy
transition and promote sustainable development. He introduced that GEI embodies
a modern energy system characterized by a dominant presence of clean energy, an
emphasis on electricity, and extensive interconnectivity. This transformative
system plays a crucial role as a catalyst for a secure, cost-effective, and
efficient energy transition, and an enabler for sustainable development. The
development of GEI expedites the transition to clean and low-carbon energy,
propelling infrastructure upgrades and fostering high-quality economic
development. Moreover, it contributes to safeguarding the ecological
environment, alleviating poverty and hunger, and reducing regional development
disparities. These efforts pave the way for a new global paradigm characterized
by green and low-carbon development, peace and harmony, and shared prosperity.
GEI provides a holistic, systematic, and widely applicable solution for
realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Li Junhua
emphasized the significant role of the GEI Initiative in promoting global
infrastructure and clean energy development. He highlighted that it would
contribute to advancing global energy transformation, addressing climate
change, and resolving existing challenges. Dai Bing commended China’s
commitment to green and low-carbon development, its proactive stance on climate
change, and its leadership in global energy governance. He said that China is
will to collaborate with all parties to ensure stability and uninterrupted
supply in the international energy market. Furthermore, China aims to expedite
sustainable energy development through initiatives such as the green Belt and
Road and the Global Development Initiative (GDI).

Armida Salsiah
stressed the importance of accelerating energy
transformation and establishing a zero-carbon system for economic development
in the Asia-Pacific region. She noted that regional power grid interconnection
enjoys broad support among member countries, as it facilitates cooperation,
political consensus, and sustainable development. Rola Dashti
highlighted the significance of advancing energy interconnection in the Arab
world. This initiative would greatly promote renewable energy development,
alleviate power supply issues in West Asian and neighboring countries, and contribute
to achieving global carbon neutrality. The United Nations Economic and Social
Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) looked forwards to establishing long-term
cooperative relations with GEIDCO.

Michal Mlynár emphasized
that the GEI would enable countries to fully leverage renewable energy, reduce
power supply costs, and enhance social and national stability. He expressed
hope that countries would promote power grid interconnection and collaborate
with GEIDCO to provide innovative solutions for combating climate change,
promoting environmental protection, and building sustainable cities and human
settlements. Jeffrey Sachs stated that the research report Towards
Sustainable Development
released by GEIDCO shows the leading and driving
role of energy transformation from multiple dimensions such as energy, economy,
society and environment, and provides a road map for global enterprises to
accelerate clean transformation.

Obeth Mbuipaha
described the GEI as a modern energy system that
will facilitate the realization of a low-carbon, green, and sustainable energy
economy and society. He viewed the report released by GEIDCO as an innovative
solution for achieving clean energy transformation, reducing environmental
pollution, and promoting sustainable development. Mourad Wahba expressed
concern over the severe power shortage in many underdeveloped countries and
regions, which significantly hampers local living standards and social
progress. He expressed the desire to collaborate with GEIDCO to stimulate
economic growth and improve societal well-being.

Sanda Ojiambo acknowledged
the escalating severity of global challenges such as climate change,
environmental pollution, and resource constraints. She emphasized the urgency
of accelerating actions without delay, as these challenges seriously threaten
humanity’s survival and development. The UN Global Compact expressed its
eagerness to deepen cooperation with GEIDCO in order to achieve the goals
outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Ligia Noronha emphasized
the increasingly critical issue of climate change facing the world. She called
for extensive international cooperation to accelerate energy transition and
establish a zero-carbon energy system, ultimately achieving sustainable development.
Andrés Rebolledo praised the pivotal role played by GEIDCO in achieving
SDG 7 and net-zero emissions, and believed that the release of Towards
Sustainable Development
provides a complete set of solutions for achieving
carbon neutrality globally and regionally, which will make a major contribution
to the global effort to address the climate crisis and energy transition.

The Panel
Discussion, moderated by Gloria Alvarenga, Acting Director of Energy
Integration, Access, and Security at OLADE, featured a number of key speakers.
Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Director and Executive Coordinator of Nature, Climate,
and Energy at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Raf Tuts,
Director of the Global Solutions Division at UN-Habitat, Nassim Oulmane, Chief
of the Green and Blue Economy Section at the United Nations Economic Commission
for Africa (UNECA), Philip Moeller, Executive Vice President of the Edison
Electric Institute (EEI), and Semida Silveira and Jaideep Sandhu,
representatives of the Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition, all
shared their insights.

They emphasized
that the current state of human sustainability is under threat from significant
economic, social, and environmental challenges. Of particular concern is the
intensifying severity of climate change and environmental issues, which have
evolved into a global crisis demanding urgent attention and resolution.
Accelerating clean energy development and power interconnection via GEI, will
be instrumental in achieving green, low-carbon, and sustainable development.
These efforts are vital in addressing the crisis effectively and ensuring a
secure future for humanity.

At the event,
GEIDCO released the Global Energy Interconnection – Pathway Towards 2030
Sustainable Development
. This report points out that, at present, the
extensive development and use of fossil energy have resulted in resources,
climate, environmental and health problems, which are significant obstacles to
achieving sustainable development. Further, there is an immediate need to
accelerate the green and low-carbon energy transition. GEI will generate nine
benefits: accelerating clean energy development, expanding grid
interconnection, enhancing electrification, securing power supply, reducing
pollution emissions, promoting technological innovation, facilitating
industrial upgrading, increasing investment and trade, and building a
cooperation platform. These benefits will comprehensively align with the 17
SDGs of the 2030 Agenda, play a key role in realizing SDGs 7, 8 and 13, and
provide crucial support for realizing ten goals, including SDGs 1, 3 and 6.

The report puts
forward Ten Actions and Six Mechanisms for implementing the 2030 Agenda,
providing global solutions and practical paths for advancing sustainable
development. The Ten Actions include 6 constructive actions: clean
development, power grid interconnection, universal access to electricity,
electricity replacement, smart grid, and energy efficiency improvement, and 4
supportive actions: concept promotion, innovation-driven, capacity building,
and policy support. The Six Mechanisms include global power grid
planning, power engineering project, integrated electricity-carbon trade,
interconnected power grid coordination, energy development assistance, and
collaboration in technical standards.

The event also
put forward the Jointly Build a Zero-Carbon Energy System to Further Advance
Sustainable Development
Initiative. It proposes that all parties should
commit to promoting green development and building consensus on energy
transition, prioritize openness and cooperation in building a zero-carbon
energy system, pursue innovation-driven development to speed up the scientific
and technological revolution in energy, and ensure universal accessibility for
the common development of mankind.

More than 60 participants were present at the event, representing the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), UNDP, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), CEET, and SDSN.

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