Sustainable Energy 4 ALL seminar hosted by Hungary on February 22

The opening remarks were delivered by the Hungarian Ambassador to Austria, H.E. Károly Dán. The key points in his remarks were: (i) Hungary shall offer their full support in achieving the goals set out in Paris and the SDGs and (ii) building upon the momentum gained in Paris, Hungary understands that the WEF Nexus is very crucial to achieving a sustainable future. Thus, Hungary shall organise and host the Budapest Water Summit 2016 to discuss the connection between the SDGs, the Paris Agreement and the WEF Nexus, among others themes.

Guest Speaker Prof. András Szöllösi-Nagy set the scene for the discussion, stressing the importance of the WEF Nexus for several development themes, in particular, health, ecosystems, climate change, energy, water and food security. He attributed current global challenges to certain key drivers, especially global population growth, which he said was the most important driver. He highlighted the huge discrepancies between countries and the need for accurate data collection. He underscored the need to increase global political will and capacity and resources of interested parties to demonstrate how the Nexus can contribute to achieving the SDGs.

SE4All Workshop on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

The workshop comprised three interactive sessions.

Session I

This session was chaired by Mr. Olivier Dubois from the Climate, Energy and Tenure Division at FAO (co-chair of the SE4All High Impact Opportunity (HIO) on the WEF Nexus). The session addressed partner experiences on emerging needs and challenges for water-energy-food (WEF) nexus interventions and the role the Nexus HIO could play.

Suggestions to address the challenges were:
i. increasing involvement of the HIO in policy and project discussions,
ii. making the private sector aware of the risks (along with solutions to mitigate them), trade-offs and profits of Nexus projects
iii. developing better knowledge management systems, collecting enough data and practical evidence which will lead to investments,
iv. ensuring that Nexus projects are transboundary based and can be integrated,
v. projects must bring together the society, as well the public and private sectors to have the greatest impact,
vi. assess projects from a practical, sustainable and analytic perspective and
vii. moulding WEF nexus into a more service oriented “product”.

SE4All Workshop on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Session II

This session was chaired by Ms. Daniela Krahl from the Water Division at BMZ (co-chair of the Nexus HIO). The session addressed emerging opportunities for the WEF Nexus and how the HIO can position itself to response effectively.

During the session, Mr. Paul T. Yillia, thematic expert on the WEF Nexus at SE4All, delivered a presentation on a proposal, i.e. Technical Assistance Programme to Strengthen Inter-sector Coordination” (TAPSIC) to make the HIO more effective in responding to emerging opportunities. The purpose of TAPSIC is to facilitate technical assistance and advisory services to enable inter-sectoral coordination and joint implementation of programmes on cross-cutting issues. TAPSIC is crucial to achieved:
i. better integration of the HIO activities and the SE4All Action Agendas (AAs) and Investment Prospectuses (IPs),
ii. increased policy coherence of WEF Nexus issues between different sectors,
iii. formation of new partnerships to address Nexus interdependencies and
iv. increased awareness and engagement between SE4All and various HIO stakeholders.

The key proposals which arose from the discussion in Session II were:
i. invite private sector representatives to the discussion on the WEF nexus to learn how they can contribute to operationalizing the concept and attainment of the SDGs,
ii. make access to development plans more accessible - to ensure donors understand their client’s needs and their scope of involvement,
iii. The introduction of HIO into policy making is crucial for development on various levels,
iv. TAPSIC should have a non-energy point of view and its cross-sectoral approach should build on the necessities of countries and communities,
v. Nations must show the will and interest to achieve SDGs, only then will HIO contributions have greatest impacts,
vi. There must be mechanisms through which adaptation and mitigation needs can be bridged – technological need assessments and actions plans are some of the available options and
vii. in all matters pertaining to SDGs it is vitally important that WEF-Nexus issues are included and made aware off. This is the most effective way to enable the international community to pursue action.

SE4All Workshop on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Session III

The session was chaired by Mr. Martin Hiller, the Director General of REEEP. The focus of the session was to develop a list of key WEF Nexus actions areas for HIO partners to act upon.

The key suggestions put forward were:
i. defining and addressing nexus issues on a regional basis, with SE4All partner countries as potential entry points,
ii. identifying financial models for development from existing opportunities,
iii. developing mechanisms to approach and involve the private sector,
iv. introduction of a monitoring system to follow data collection and progress on nexus projects,
v. present WEF-Nexus progress to political and policy decision makers to increase awareness and operationalization
vi. HIO secretariat to coordinate action on the WEF Nexus and facilitate action on advocacy and knowledge management.

Closing remarks were delivered by Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the Secretary General & Chief Executive Officer of SE4All. She expressed her gratitude to all the participants for their hard work, and to the Hungarian Mission in particular for hosting the event and organising it jointly with SE4All and the HIO partners. Ms. Kyte underscored the important role that the private sector and Nexus HIO could play on cross-cutting projects to achieve the SDGs and meet the agenda set out in the Paris Agreement. She concluded her speech by expressing her deep desire to go faster and further to ensure a sustainable future where no one is left behind on access to clean energy.

The following organizations and institutions were represented at the workshop:

1. AHEAD Energy, USA/Germany
2. Austrian Chamber of Commerce
3. ConPlusUltra, Austria
4. European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO)
5. Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation & Development (BMZ), Germany
6. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
7. Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Germany
8. Horizont3000 – Austrian Organization for Development Cooperation
9. International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) Secretariat
10. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
11. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
12. OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID)
13. Permanent Mission of Hungary in Vienna, Austria
14. Powering Agriculture - Energy Grand Challenge for Development
15. Practical Action, United Kingdom
16. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP)
17. Skat Consulting Ltd, Switzerland
18. Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All)
19. United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
20. Vienna University of Technology
21. World Bank Group