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Energy Futures Lab Annual Lecture 2021

The urgency of the global energy transition(s) in a post COVID-19 world order

As the UK prepares to host COP 26 in Glasgow, Energy Futures Lab is delighted to host Dr Kandeh Yumkella for our 2021 Annual Lecture.

Dr Yumkella is an internationally renowned consultant and distinguished development economist who served almost two decades in the United Nations system, including as Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All. He was founding Chief Executive Officer for the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative and served two four-year terms as Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization. In both capacities, he mobilised global consensus for Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 9, on ensuring access to affordable and sustainable energy for all and building resilient infrastructure and promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation respectively. He is founder and CEO of The Energy Nexus Network (TENN), a regional ecosystem hub for sustainable energy solutions, and serves on both the Pan-African Parliament and the Parliament of Sierra Leone.

In this lecture, Dr Yumkella will present some of the outcomes of the first UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy in almost 40 years, held last month, and their implications for global energy transitions with particular emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa. For regions such as this, the energy transition(s) is not just a climate change issue; it is about their survival as nations states capable of proving basic social services, jobs, and prosperity for their citizens. Dr Yumkella argues that accelerated investment in sustainable energy is key to achieving the ambitious goals enshrined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063, promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and adhering to Africa’s commitments under the Paris Accord. This lecture will cover some of the efforts to achieve SDG-7 (clean energy access for all by 2030) and highlight the crucial importance of energy as an enabler for achieving the development goals of health, food security, education and clean water and sanitation. It will also explore the policy actions required to scale up investments. Ultimately, Dr Yumkella argues, achieving net zero by 2050 will depend on how we urgently achieve energy access and security in Sub-Saharan Africa and India through multilateral cooperation.

Dr Yumkella will be introduced by Professor Ian Walmsley FRS, the Provost of Imperial College London and a Q&A chaired by Energy Futures Lab Co-Director Professor Anna Korre will follow the lecture.

About Energy Futures Lab

Energy Futures Lab is one of seven Global Institutes at Imperial College London. The institute was established to address global energy challenges by identifying and leading new opportunities to serve industry, government and society at large through high quality research, evidence and advocacy for positive change. The institute aims to promote energy innovation and advance systemic solutions for a sustainable energy future by bringing together the science, engineering and policy expertise at Imperial and fostering collaboration with a wide variety of external partners.