Sustainable Energy for All

UNU-GEST partners with Sustainable Energy for All for a people-centered accelerator to support gender equality, social inclusion and women's empowerment

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) empowers leaders to broker partnerships and unlock finance to achieve universal access to sustainable energy, as a contribution to a cleaner, just and prosperous world for all.

In September 2015, the world’s leaders came together to agree on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of those goals, SDG 7, calls for us to secure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.

Three months later, at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21), 195 nations negotiated an historic climate agreement—one that declared that not only do we need to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” but we also need to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.

Energy is central to social and economic well-being. Yet more than 1 billion people have no access to electricity, while over 3 billion people have to cook with polluting, inefficient fuels such as firewood. And without rapid progress on SDG 7, it will impossible to deliver on other SDGs by 2030.

Energy is also the dominant contributor to climate change.

SEforALL exists to meet this dual challenge: reducing the carbon intensity of energy while making it available to everyone on the planet.

Three objectives:

  • ensure universal access to modern energy services;
  • double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and
  • double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

This will require a radical rethink of the way we produce, distribute and consume energy.

Having played a core role in putting universal access to modern energy services at the heart of the SDGs and Paris Agreement, SEforALL is stepping up to help partners to take rapid, tangible action on those promises.

On June 29, 2017, SEforALL held its first design meeting for the People-Centered Accelerator in Krafla, Iceland. 

Experts from across the world travelled to Iceland’s Landsvirkjun power plant in Krafla to discuss how the Accelerator could support social inclusion, gender equality and women’s empowerment in the energy sector.

Participants included investors, NGOs, business and philanthropists from a variety of geographies and backgrounds to support the development of the Accelerator in setting out its core objectives for the next 18 months. The meeting focused on better understanding existing activities, identifying primary beneficiaries for the Accelerator and developing work streams with priority actions.

Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, said: “The world has committed to leave no one behind. To keep this promise as we move through the energy transition, we need to think differently about how we deliver affordable, reliable and clean energy services to those who are most marginalized. Women must be at the table and the energy sector can manage risk and understand opportunities better with more women at all levels. The energy services of the future, will not resemble the energy system of the past and those who design, deliver and plan them should be diversified.”

By working together, partners supporting the Accelerator aim to:

  • Enhance modern energy access for the very poorest people who will not be reached by business-as-usual approaches.
  • Increase women’s full participation in sustainable energy solutions.
  • Bring together and strengthen collaboration between local, regional, national and international stakeholders that are active in the energy, gender and social justice sectors.
  • Help unlock finance from private and public sources.


SEforALL Meeting in Krafla, Iceland