Ashden Conference 2012: Sustainable energy for all: Send your message to Rio+20

Ashden Award finalists participating at the upcoming Ashden 2012 Conference on 29 May will be invited to pass on their messages for Rio+20 in support of the UN’s ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ initiative.

During the afternoon session of the conference, Richenda Van Leeuwen, Executive Director of Energy and Climate (Energy Access) at the United Nations Foundation will address and moderate a dialogue with renewable energy practitioners, policymakers and NGOs.  This will focus on how to achieve the UN goal of Sustainable Energy for All by 2030, and showcase the work of a number of the international finalists for the 2012 Ashden Awards.

All international finalists will be asked to share their sustainable energy aspirations for the next five years - and the key policy and finance mechanisms that need to be in place to make their dreams a reality.

Says Ms Van Leeuwen: “I’m delighted to spend time with the Ashden Award finalists for 2012 and have the opportunity to discuss the means to achieving sustainable energy for all, and in particular energy access for the fifth of the world still lacking modern energy services.

“Thanks to a winning combination of passion and determination, these finalists are developing and delivering solutions that can demonstrate that we have the ideas and the technology to end energy poverty and achieve the three interrelated objectives of the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

“At the same time as these solutions are being delivered in communities, there is clearly strong – and growing – political will at the top levels of government in support of the objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

“We therefore hope to utilise the platform that Rio+20 conference represents, taking place as it is during 2012, the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, to showcase the need for placing energy at the heart of sustainable development, since it is a key enabler for development. Indeed, there is no sustainable development without sustainable energy. It is clear that energy plays a vital role in so many of the key thematic areas being discussed in Rio such as food security, water, cities, and more generally poverty eradication and sustainable development.

“I hope to hear from everyone present at the Ashden conference what their vision is for the future in terms of how we can jointly achieve sustainable energy for all. In particular I look forward to hearing about key messages from energy services providers we can take forward together to Rio in June, to use it most effectively as a staging ground for building the key alliances needed at all to help make universal energy access a reality by 2030.”

This year’s international finalists range from a micro-hydro project providing electricity for the first time to remote parts of Afghanistan, to an energy-saving water filter in Cambodia that is also protecting the country’s precious forests.

Register for the conference here and watch the Awards ceremony at 7pm on 30 May via webcast at

Keep up with the buzz around this year’s conference and awards on Twitter: #Ashden12