This article is written by Samridhi Sachdeva pursuing BBA LLB from Gitarattan International Business School, GGSIPU. This article provides details on the UN-based system that is sustainable energy for all and also discusses its history and objectives in detail.


The Sustainable Energy for All termed as SEforAll, was formed to transform the energy systems of the world. It is an international organisation which works with leaders in government, the private sector and civil society to continue moving. It was also formed to end poverty and try to provide more and more job opportunities in the coming years.

The present CEO and the special representative appointed by the UN Secretary General is Damilola Ogunbiyi. He took hold of his office in January, 2020. He is also the Co-Chair of the UN energy. Previously, she was the Managing Director of Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA), which involved the mobilising stakeholders and finance required to deliver energy access to the people andd communities that need it the most.

It comes with some objectives that needs to be achieved by 2030. It also forms plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the climate warming below 2°C, with Paris government.

About the Office

The headquarters are in Vienna and Austria. Their Satellite office is in Washington, DC in US. The initiative Sustainable Energy for All shared closed links with UN. It also has partnership with UN agencies and with the CEO of the Sustainable Energy for All becoming the Special Representative of UN Secretary General for SEforAll and Co-chair of UN-energy. The staff is based on the places Vienna, Austria and US. 


This initiative was launched in September, 2011 by the UN Secretary General, Ban ki-moon. The first CEO of the initiative, Kandeh Yumkella  was appointed in 2012 by the UN Secretary General. He was also appointed as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.

Also, 2012 is marked as an important year in the history of Sustainable Energy for All. It was declared as the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All, giving clear signal about the end of poverty and climate change assessment. It provides a significant opportunity to share models that work and can help to fill the requirements of existing funding or capacity. It gives chances to ensure that the political momentum on this area is focussed and maintained.


The initiative works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7). The main goal is to get universal access to Sustainable Energy by 2030. The objectives are mutually reinforcing and consistent. The objectives are listed below: 

  1. Ensuring universal access to modern energy services.
  2. Doubling the rate of improvement of energy efficiency.
  3. Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global mix.

Now, the affordable renewable energy technologies are coming together to bring the modern energy resources to the rural communities, where extension of the conventional power grid is going to be expensive and impractical. 

The efficiency devices used for lighting and other resources require minimum energy and ultimately decrease the amount of power required to support them. And finally, the alternative unconstrained expansion of modern conventional fossil fuel based energy systems would lock in a long period of infrastructure commitment to an unsustainable emissions path for the climate of the world.

Changes in 2019 Plans

  1. SDG7, 2019 report revealed that the progress was lacking to achieve the objectives. For the record, 840 million people in the world lack electricity access and almost 3 billion people live without clean cooking. Hence, the SEforAll organised event in Amsterdam from June 18-20, 2019 where the charrettes focussed on different issues on the critical path to deliver the goals of SDG7.
  2. SEforAll has done new research under the Energising Finance research series. This series consists in depth knowledge and analysis on the supply and demand for finance among the two key areas of energy access- electricity and clean cooking. 
  3. SEforAll is also a co-lead with the governments of Ethiopia and Denmark and UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit team, and organised the Energy Action Forum, a day prior to the summit.
  4. SEforAll launched a Cooling for All Secretariat, in January 2019, which promotes awareness on the need for universal access to cooling and also provide data and knowledge about the same.
  5. A total number of 573 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity. Therefore, Electricity for All in Africa is an initiative that aims to help countries and regions to develop new strategies for tackling their electricity access problems.

Work plan of 2020

  1. Energy Efficiency First- This will assist leaders to unlock finance and broker relationships.
    1. Cooling for All: Leaders will be engaged by SEforAll to protect the most vulnerable populations from intensifying global heat.
    2. Energy Efficiency Accelerators: The SDG 7.2 goal (doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030) will be achieved with the help of SEforAll.
  2. Leave No One Behind- It will make sure that the energy poor are put on front and centre.
    1. Electricity for All in Africa: The convening power of SEforAll will be used to engage key industry stakeholders, financiers and government to help in the electrification plans that are integrated in nature and reach all populations in the 16 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    2. Big Market for Clean Fuels: It will try to focus on accelerating access to clean cooking solutions, specifically on driving finance and big markets for clean fuel.
    3. Gender and People-Centred Accelerator: SEforAll is the world’s biggest example on gender diversity and women empowerment through its own structure and general work in sustainable energy sector.
    4. Energy and Health: It will try to create systemic changes that are essential to achieve the universal electrification of health facilities by 2030.
  3. Sustainable Energy Diplomacy- To move forward with the action agenda on Sustainable Energy by supporting both global architecture and global movement.
    1. Support to SRSG and UN: The CEO supports the UNSG, DSG and roles of co-chair of UN energy and also the special representative of the UN secretary general and as member of UN climate principals. This will help SRSG to fulfil all of these roles.
    2. Engagement in International FORA: The participation in international and regional events is targeted, to speed up decisions that can influence the key elements of critical path towards SDG7 and energy transitions to meet the agreement with the Paris government.


Social, health, environmental, economic and security benefits will be brought up after achieving the Sustainable Energy for All objectives. Dramatic changes to clean the energy sector that the Sustainable Energy for All objectives imply have the potential to support the global economy by providing growth and job opportunities in rapidly growing industries. 

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