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Workshop for Energy Regulators: Energy Pricing, Reform and Transition
29-31 October 2014
Nairobi, Kenya
The UN Office for Sustainable Development contributes to building, exchanging and facilitating the use of knowledge in support of transitions to sustainability. UNOSD specialises on mapping, connecting and improving exchange of knowledge resources, providing advices to Member States and the broader policy communities on sharing and applying such resources, and conducting research and capacity development in sustainability transitions.

As part of its work plan, UNOSD is joining forces with the Deutsche Gesellschaft f�r Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), who have nurtured in the past two years a network of fuel price regulators, to organise a workshop on the linkages between reforming fuel prices and the transition to energy and transport efficiency, sustainable biofuel, electricity-powered vehicles and renewable energy. This complements other UNOSD workshop on Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy (FFRE) Transitions, aiming at building the capacity of policy makers and other stakeholders in ramping-up national-level transitions to sustainable energy. This workshop will place a spotlight on fuel pricing reform as a measure necessary for the transition to RE. The 3-day workshop will be take place at the UN Offices at Nairobi (UNON) on 29-31 October 2014 for the benefits of policy-makers of about 20 African and Asian countries.

This capacity-building process is particular timely, for both Member State governments and UNOSD, as a strong momentum is building within the UN System and green economy industry to accelerate the transition to low-emission, renewable energy sources. On the one hand, the UN Secretary General� Ban Ki-moon has launched the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative, calling for universal access to modern energy, increased share for renewables, and improved energy efficiency. Taking in Davos in January 2014 to global political and economic leaders, the SG repeated his call to mitigate climate change through energy transitions. At the same time, both Jim Yong Kim, World Bank President, and Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, warned investors of the imminent risk to fossil-fuel assets as regulators and economies steadily move to a post-carbon era. This highlights the need for developing countries to anticipate and benefit from this trend, minimising their dependence on fossil fuels and maximising the impact of early planning and investments.

Furthermore, rising and volatile fossil fuel prices are a serious concern worldwide. Governments are under increasing pressure to shield both private and industrial consumers from fuel price hikes. To mitigate concerns, different mechanisms and regulations are being considered. These include, among others, the setting of indicative maximum prices, reductions in taxes or direct subsidies. However, imposing price controls often results in additional government spending and creates market distortions which can have unintended, but significant negative impacts on the society, economy and the environment. Subsidies of fuel are often promoted as a way of improving access for the poor, while in fact the largest beneficiaries are the rich and middle income segments from whom fuel waste is often observed. Subsidies for the poor can be better targeted in other ways. In other words, such pricing mechanisms are not sustainable over the long-term.

Beyond energy costs, environmental are paramount. About half of the petroleum products are used in the transport sector. This sector is responsible for about one quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions and is the fastest growing emissions source. Electricity, heating, agriculture and industry also use petroleum so removing subsidies needs to be done in consort with efficiency and renewable energy measures that maintain and improve economic competitiveness.

Contact Information
United Nations Office for Sustainable Development
Yonsei University International Campus
162-1 Songdo-dong, Incheon 406-840
Phone: 82-32-822-9088 Fax: 82-32-822-9089
Email: unosd@un.org | Web: www.unosd.org

Preparatory Documents
Reading List

Day 1 - Introduction and Technical Issues Associated to Energy Policy
  • Welcoming remarks by Dr YOON Jong Soo, Head of UNOSD. (forthcoming)

Day 2 - Energy transition and Political Economy of Reforms

Day 3 - Reform Lessons and Building of a Work Plan
  • This is an Expert Group Meeting, and participation is by invitation only.
  • Final list of participants. (forthcoming)
  • Pictures of participants and field visits (forthcoming)
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