From May 14th to May 16th, the Vienna Energy Forum (VEF) gathers leaders from governments, civil society, international organizations and the private sector, aiming to push the energy-development agenda forward.
Since its founding in 2008 by a joint initiative of the Austrian Government, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the VEF has assembled thinkers and practitioners from all over the world to discuss practical solutions to sustainable development challenges and pave the way for tangible partnerships on the ground.
Special session at the Austrian World Summit
A special UNIDO session on transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies took place at the Austrian World Summit.
This panel presented results and insights of the Vienna Energy Forum 2018. This special session aimed to build partnerships and reach concrete strategies among a wide range of stakeholders towards successful implementation of energy-efficient production processes and technologies, along with the enhanced utilization of renewable energy sources with the focus of three pillars: Energy System Transformation, Climate Technology and Innovation, and Partnerships.
Women and Youth: Leveraging the power of entrepreneurship and innovation
Bringing women's priorities into policies and actions is the priority of Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF). The WECF represents women and civil society in a number of international policy processes and United Nations organisations and has 150 members in 50 countries.
“The empowerment and engagement of women is vital to the achievement of inclusive and sustainable development. For example, each year we highlight how women are actively developing climate solutions by organizing the Gender Just Climate Solutions Awards”, says Sascha Gabizon, the Executive Director of the WECF.
Sascha Gabizon shared what actions can be taken to strengthen social inclusiveness in technology innovation and entrepreneurship at the World Austrian Summit.
Another story during this session was presented by James Ellsmoor, the Director of Solar Head of State.
Solar Head of State, a nonprofit organization, believes that solar power on the residences of world leaders will inspire others to try clean energy. The organization currently has a focus on the Caribbean and Pacific island regions and will this year install solar panels on Jamaica House, the official residence of the Jamaican Prime Minister.
“Our model was inspired by a campaign initiated in 1979 by US president Jimmy Carter who had solar water heaters installed on the White House to conserve energy and set an example for the American public amidst an energy crisis. In 2010, the President of the Maldives followed suit and we installed solar on the Maldivian Presidential Palace. This bold vision for implementing renewable energy was a catalyst for the creation of Solar Head of State and the impetus for our mission to increase global awareness of solar energy’s potential by building an alliance of green leaders worldwide”, says James Ellsmoor, the Director of Solar Head of State.
James joined a discussion on Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Inclusive Development: Women and Youth Empowerment. Solar Head of State is also engaged in the Jamaica Solar Competition, a national competition for young people from across the country to learn more about the benefits of renewable energy. In 2017 James Ellsmoor was recognized by Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 in Energy and by Richtopia as one of their top 20 young entrepreneurs.