An appeal for increased global action for the SDG7

By Prof. Dimitrios Mavrakis

Director of KEPA

UNAI hub for SDG7

On the 10th October 2018 the Energy Policy and Development Centre (KEPA) of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (EKPA), established in Greece since 1837, was chosen by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) as its Hub for the Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), which corresponds to “Clean, Affordable and Modern Energy” for the period 2018-2021.

KEPA as an entity functions in the frame of EKPA and has an extrovert character.

In this frame it promotes regional cooperation and knowledge transfer on Climate Change and Green Energy issues among the Member States of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC – MS).

It coordinates the PROMITHEASnet that promotes and facilitates the cooperation mainly among academic institutions from countries of the European Union and those of the Black Sea and Central Asia.

In close cooperation with the Permanent International Secretariat (PERMIS) of BSEC, it coordinates the BSEC – Green Energy Network (BSEC - GEN) established by a decision of the Council of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of BSEC on the 12th Dec.2014 (BSEC/BS/C.2015.0049).

BSEC – GEN is consisted of “centres and national administrative bodies and/or organizations, mandated to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures and policies” while the “main aims of the Network are to identify relevant issues in which regional cooperation can be most effective and also to explore ways to promote green energy investments and innovative green energy projects” (BSEC/BS/info.2015.0045).

KEPA through PROMITHEASnet and BSEC – GEN has contributed to BSEC regional cooperation on Climate Change and Green Energy with more than €2.5 million rose from competitive programmes of European Union specifically from its Framework Programmes FP6, FP7 and H2020.

KEPA through: i)PROMITHEAS – 2 (FP6) has promoted regional cooperation on energy policy issues among the 12 BSEC – MS, ii) PROMITHEAS-4 (FP7) has trained, developed and disseminated Climate Change Policy Scenarios for the BSEC – MS, Estonia and Kazakhstan and iii) HERON (Horizon 2020) has developed and disseminated, free of charge, an innovative Decision Support Tool (HERON – DST) and a methodology incorporating and optimizing the impact of behavioral patterns into energy efficiency policies.

Further to the aforementioned programmes KEPA has organized, so far, workshops seminars, webinars, and conferences in all BSEC – MS. It organizes the Annual Scientific Conference (since 2008) and the BSEC - Green Energy Investment Forum (since 2016).

Finally it edits and circulates free of charge the BSEC Energy View, the Newsletter, the Scientific “Euro-Asian Journal of Sustainable Energy Development Policy” and the Proceedings of the aforementioned annual conferences and fora.

KEPA at the beginning of its term as the UNAI hub for SDG7, based on its long-lasting experience, in promoting cooperation on clean energy Issues, among various legal entities in countries of the European Union, the broad Black Sea region and Central Asia, understands that the key problem, obscuring the necessary action, is that of the behavioral obstacles demonstrated by policymakers and ordinary people in developing and implementing the necessary measures.

The irony relative to our present state of knowledge and resources is that we possess the knowledge, the technology and the funds for a prosperous future that we deny due to our ignorance, short-term economic interests, and prejudices.

In this context, the UNAI hub for SDG7 considers a number of initiatives at local, regional and international (worldwide) level and makes an appeal to all those interested to get involved in their implementation to contact it.

Without excluding any innovative and efficient proposal targeting real action, the UNAI hub for SDG7 promotes i) an initiative to confront Energy Poverty in a sustainable way through a structured policy dialogue transforming energy poor consumers to sustainable prosumers by triggering smart finance for smart zero energy building retrofits; ii) the establishment of  a "Regional Center of Excellence" for "Smart ZEB"; iii) Switching to the use of fuels with fewer emissions  (Energy Efficiency, Biofuels, RES and Natural Gas), iv) engage youth in clean energy promotion and implementation actions nationally, regionally (BSEC) and globally; v) increase the level of cooperation among actors from the academia, the market forces and the policymakers in cooperative actions relevant to SDG7 and finally vi) increase the Green funding flow to local societies.

UNAI hub for SDG7 while it develops and specifies the aforementioned initiatives it promotes the BSEC – GEN, the Green Energy Investment Forum (Bulgaria, Sofia 16.4.2019), the 12th International Scientific Conference on Energy and Climate Change (Greece, Athens 9 - 11.10.2019), the BSEC – GEN 4th International Green Energy Investment Forum ( Greece, Athens 9.10.2019) and a Meeting of the 17 UNAI – SDG Hubs (Greece Athens Dec. 2019, tbc), in an effort to increase the level of cooperation in promoting them.

UNAI hub for SDG7 recalls its appeal for cooperation, worldwide, on real action issues promoting clean, affordable and modern energy as the absolute prerequisite to confront climate change and as the substantial contributor promoting most of the other SDGs and underlines the need for mobilization of private funding targeting sensitive social groups in countries with developing and underdevelopment economies.