18. Juni 2015
The Vienna Energy Forum (VEF) is a biennial, global and multi-stakeholder forum with a mandate of exploring 21st century developmental challenges from the perspective of sustainable energy and providing a platform for debate on practical solutions to these challenges. Given that the complex issues connected to sustainable energy need to be addressed in a holistic manner, the VEF brings together all sectors of society and participants from all over the world, thereby paving the way for tangible partnerships on the ground.
The VEF 2015 will take place from the 18 to 20 June 2015 in Vienna, only a few months before the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York and the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris. By emphasizing the multiple benefits of the Post-2015 Development and the Climate Agenda and by showcasing best practices and actions on the ground, the VEF 2015 aims at contributing to both.
The Vienna Energy Forum was born in 2008 of a joint initiative by the Austrian Government, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, with the aim of exploring how energy can contribute to meeting global developmental challenges. Two insights formed the backdrop to this decision: firstly, in order to create a sustainable economy, it is necessary to transform energy systems; and secondly, there are strong inter-linkages between energy supply and virtually every aspect of inclusive and sustainable development.
Drawing on the expertise of its co-organizing institutions, the anchoring in the energy-hub Vienna, and the mutually beneficial networking with other key energy initiatives and institutions, the VEF has successfully spearheaded the global debate on sustainable energy for inclusive development and has become a high-level Global Forum for policy makers, experts and practitioners in the field of energy for inclusive development.
The first three Forums focused on different perspectives of this discussion and have been major contributors to the design of the SE4ALL goals and to Vienna’s becoming a Global Energy Hub:
In 2009, in the context of the unfolding financial crisis, the Forum looked at an integrated energy agenda beyond 2020 under the theme “Towards an integrated energy agenda beyond 2020: Securing sustainable policies and investments”. The most central of the Forum’s six key recommendations foresaw the creation of an Energy Development Goal, which aimed to achieve universal energy access by 2030.
The theme selected for the VEF 2011, “Energy for all – Time for action”, focused on the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, which had developed between the VEFs in 2009 and 2011. It aimed to generate tangible results that would lead to action on the ground. Thanks to the Forum, the 2030 energy goals of universal access, energy intensity reduction and a global renewable energy mix obtained more substance and started gaining momentum.
The VEF 2013, with the theme “One Year after Rio+20: The energy future we want”, addressed the topic of sustainable energy in the context of negotiating the Post-2015 Development Agenda. It contributed to the advancement of the Post-2015 Development Framework and clearly positioned sustainable energy therein.
Building upon the success of previous forums, the VEF 2015 will once again provide a high level platform for leaders, policy makers and energy practitioners to engage in an interactive dialogue on key specific sustainable energy issues, such as policies, markets, finance and technologies. At the same time, the Forum will enable the participants to understand how sustainable energy fits into the broader picture of the post-2015 development framework.
The thematic focus of the VEF 2015 will be “Sustainable Energy for Inclusive Development” with emphasis on the multiple benefits of the Post-2015 Development and the Climate Agenda and on showcasing best practices and actions on the ground. Taking place in the run up to the Special Summit on Sustainable Development in New York and the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris, the VEF is thereby expected to generate concrete inputs for the anchoring of sustainable energy for inclusive development in the Post 2015 Development Agenda and for the successful conclusion of a comprehensive and effective climate agreement.