The Fourth International Forum: Energy for Sustainable Development, held in Tbilisi, Georgia on 17-19 September 2013, was organized jointly by the Government of Georgia, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). A follow-up activity to the International Sustainable Energy Forums held in 2010-2012 in Central Asian countries, it was designed with a view to support objectives of the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. Over 200 delegates were among more than 25 country representatives attending the Forum. The participants welcomed the outcomes of the First Asian and Pacific Energy Forum (APEF) held in Vladivostok, Russian Federation, in May 2013. The Forum provided valuable contribution to the implementation of the Plan of Action on Regional Cooperation for Enhanced Energy Security and the Sustainable Use of Energy in Asia and the Pacific, 2014-2018.
Deliberations at the Forum identified priority actions, reviewed progress and gaps in a number of potential focus areas, i.e., improving investment climate and market environment, improving energy efficiency in buildings, development of flexible tariff systems, creation of joint information resources and knowledge sharing systems, development of harmonized cross-border energy infrastructure and joint hydro power projects, and provision of education and training for energy experts. One of the major challenges of sustainable development in energy sector in the counties of Europe and Asia is meeting the rapidly growing energy demand whilst conventional fossil fuels and hydro resources remain the primary energy source, and the increase of the share of renewable energy in the energy mix is recognized limited. In this context, a concerted action by the key stakeholders is considered important with due respect to the benefits of subregional cooperation in this area.
The Forum included a High-level round table with participation of ministers and officials of the government bodies responsible for energy and building sector in the countries of the Caucasus, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe, Central, North, and South-Eastern Asia. Participants of the round table were invited to dispute on the main challenges and emerging issues in promoting sustainable energy, consequently, consider the role of governments and public sector in formulating and implementing policy reforms succeeding international cooperation for enhanced energy security and the sustainable use of energy.
The plenary session “Energy Efficiency in the Housing Sector” reviewed the progress achieved within international frameworks for energy efficiency in the residential sector. The UNECE – UN-Habitat – City of Vienna joint report “Good Practices for Energy-efficient Housing in the UNECE Region” was presented. Deliberations of the plenary session “Investments in Energy Efficiency and Cleaner Energy Projects in the Context of Climate Change Mitigation and Sustainable Development” were specifically focused on financing options for energy efficiency projects and cleaner energy technologies with a view to increasing the role of regulatory bodies and private sector in advancing the market development for clean energy.
A joint statement on the role of international cooperation in promoting energy for sustainable development was adopted at the end of the Forum.