New partners, leaders for UN Sustainable Energy for All project

European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs. Photo by: Jennifer Jacquemart / European Union

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has announced new leadership arrangements for his pet Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which also gained new partners and commitments at a Sept. 24 high-level event in New York, USA.

The secretary-general has appointed Kandeh Yumkella as his special representative and chief executive of the initiative. Yumkella, who is also currently the head of the U.N. Industrial Development Organization, would oversee the planning and implementation of the project.

Ban also announced the creation of an executive committee to be headed by Bank of America Chairman Chad Holliday. The committee would be in charge of operational oversight of the chief executive’s work.

Also unveiled during the high-level meeting is an advisory board to be co-chaired by Ban and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. Members of the board, which will be in charge of the initiative’s strategic direction, are set to be named in the next few weeks. They would be appointed from the private, civil society and public sectors by the two co-chairs.

Kim’s appointment as co-chair of the advisory board reflects the World Bank’s pledge to expand its commitment to and engagement with the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. Among the World Bank’s contributions include technical assistance to help developing countries craft comprehensive energy access programs, Kim said. The bank also aims to mobilize financing through partnerships with other stakeholders, the World Bank president added.

EU commitments

Aside from Ban and Kim, the high-level panel meeting also featured European development commissioner Andris Piebalgs, who outlined energy projects the European Union would be supporting in Africa. The projects are part of the Energizing Development effort the EU launched in April in support of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

The projects include €63 million ($81.5 million) worth of aid for the construction of a solar power plant in Burkina Faso. The European Union is also cooperating with Germany’s KFW and the French Development Agency to identify energy programs in Ghana, which the bloc is helping to create a Renewable Energy Fund.

Piebalgs added that the European Union is ready to help its partners in Africa develop national energy action plans. A technical assistance facility worth €65 million has been created for this purpose, with an eye on mobilizing up to €400 million, the commissioner said.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.