2 August 2018, UNOHRLLS invited a Togolese journalist to the Sustainable Energy for All Forum in Lisbon

As one of seven winners of the Voices of a Brighter Future journalism competition, Kossi Elom Balao, a Togolese journalist, was invited by the UN-OHRLLS to attend the 2018 Sustainable Energy For All Forum held in Lisbon, Portugal from 2-3 May.

Upon returning to Togo, Kossi Balao published the following story about the Forum.  The original story appears on AfricaWeb: https://bit.ly/2yUQ8lV  

UN-OHRLLS invited a Togolese journalist to the Sustainable Energy for All Forum in Lisbon

By Kossi Balao

Kossi Balao travelled to Portugal in order to participate in the conference after being selected among seven journalist winners of the Voices of a Brighter Future competition. A competition focused on inspiring stories on how sustainable energy positively impacts communities and individuals in the word’s Least Developed Countries.

In Lisbon, he noted that the Sustainable energy for all Forum shines a spotlight on the urgency for bringing affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy to under-served populations, communities and regions that are at risk of being left behind in the global clean energy transition.

Rachel Kyte, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All,  and the Togolese journalist Kossi Elom Balao

The launch of the Energy Progress Report

Tracking Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 was launched at the Forum. It has revealed that the world is not on track to meet the global energy targets for 2030 set as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, but real progress is being made in certain areas – particularly expansion of access to electricity in least developed countries, and industrial energy efficiency.

The report made by five international agencies noted that renewable energy is making impressive gains in the electricity sector, although these are not being matched in transportation and heating – which together account for 80% of global energy consumption.

It also added that while global trends are disappointing, recent national experiences around the world offer encouraging signs. There is mounting evidence that with the right approaches and policies, countries can make substantial progress in clean energy and energy access, and improve the lives of millions of people.

Briefings by Power for All with Least Developed Countries journalists

“It’s unacceptable that, in 2018, 3 billion people still breathe deadly smoke every day from cooking with polluting fuels and stoves” said Dr Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, at the World Health Organization (WHO), deploring that “every year, household air pollution kills around 4 million people from diseases including pneumonia, heart disease, stroke, lung disease and cancer”.

“It’s clear that the energy sector must be at the heart of any effort to lead the world on a more sustainable pathway”, said Dr Fath Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The case of Togo

Togo is one of Sub-Saharan African countries with roughly 7 million inhabitants. The report shows that only 47 per cent of the Togolese populations have access to electricity while 7 per cent have access to clean cooking. But Tiem Bolidja, the Director or the Togolese agency of rural electrification and renewable energy (AT2ER), who also participated in the Forum, strongly believe Togo can achieve one hundred per cent of electrification rate in 2030.

“I am optimist. This forum has comforted us in what we’re doing to meet the targets leaving no one behind in 20130. During the conference, I have presented Togo’s strategy of rural electrification and I am glad that many partners and financials have promised to support us”, he confessed.

For Kossi Balao, the forum drives action towards securing clean, affordable energy for all.