Civil society coalition calls for involvement in Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) agenda

As the second UN Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Forum opens in New York, an alliance of 26 civil society organisations (CSOs) are calling for the SE4ALL initiative to ensure that civil society can participate effectively in national and regional decision-making processes.
Press release, 18 May 2015

Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) is a global initiative designed to mobilise action for universal energy access. The 2nd annual SE4ALL Forum in New York from May 18-21 brings together over 1,300 participants from government, international organisations, business and civil society. The overarching theme of the 2015 forum is 'Financing Sustainable Energy for All'.

The Alliance of Civil Society Organisations for Clean Energy Access (ACCESS) was created in 2014 to advocate for people living in poverty to have access to safe, reliable and affordable energy, and for environmentally sustainable and efficient energy systems globally.  

The founding members of ACCESS – CAFOD, ENERGIA International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy, Greenpeace, HIVOS, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Practical Action, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – believe that meaningful CSO participation in the SE4ALL initiative is vital for the initiative to achieve the ambitious targets it has set itself.

ACCESS says CSOs and community organisations have decades of valuable experience, either in delivering access to energy on the ground, or acting as trusted intermediaries between government, the private sector and energy users on the ground – particularly for poor and vulnerable groups.  

Despite this expertise, and the fact that civil society forms the third pillar of the High Level Group's framework for action (alongside government and the private sector) CSO voices often have trouble being heard in the SE4ALL context.

ACCESS says a recent survey of civil society experience in several countries showed that civil society respondents felt overall that they were unable to engage meaningfully in the SE4ALL initiative. There also appears to be little support from international agencies supporting SE4ALL in many countries. The survey was carried out by CAFOD, HIVOS, IIED and Practical Action.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the SE4ALL initiative in 2011. It is a global initiative designed to mobilise action for universal energy access. It brings together top-level leadership from all sectors of society in support of three interlinked objectives:

  • Providing universal access to modern energy services;
  • Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and
  • Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

With 1.2 billion people still living without access to modern energy services and 2.8 billion without access to clean cooking methods, action to support these goals is needed urgently.

Notes to editors

The full list of civil society groups that currently make up ACCESS include:

Accese (more information at Hivos)
Catholic aid agency for England and Wales (CAFOD)
Centre for Rural Technology, Nepal (CRT Nepal)
Energy and Environmental Concerns for Zambia (EECZ) (more information at Household Energy Network (Hedon))
Free the Maginalized Women Advocates (FREMWA) 
Friends of the Earth US
Groupe Energies Renouvebles, Environment et Solidarites (geres) 
Green Africa Foundation 
Ghana Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves (more information at Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves) 
Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) 
Kenya Climate Working Group 
Practical Action
Renewable Malawi 
Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN)
Tanzania Renewable Energy Association (TAREA) 
Vasudha Foundation 
World Resources Institute  
ZERO Regional Environment Organisation 

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent, non-profit research institute. Set up in 1971 and based in London, IIED provides expertise and leadership in researching and achieving sustainable development (see:

For more information or to request an interview, contact Simon Cullen: 
+44 7503 643332 or [email protected]