Building on the success of the previous Forums, the VEF 2017 will focus on “Sustainable energy for the implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement ”. The VEF 2017 will allow a rich dialogue on key issues of the energy debate to move the global energy agenda forward and to move from declarations of intention to tangible action on the ground, providing a platform for an exchange of information and knowledge on key energy issues to facilitate policy-making, investment decisions, and individual choices and behaviors. The discussions will be action-oriented and relevant to economic and financial obstacles faced by many countries at present to promote sustainable energy for all, SDGs and climate action.

The VEF 2017 will be the fifth such event and will take place from the 9 to 12 May 2017 in Vienna providing a platform for a rich dialogue on key issues of the energy debate and to find ways to strengthen the means of implementation. Forum will also stress the need for more international cooperation and highlight the role that can be played by the UN and multi-lateral banks, partners and agencies in the field of sustainable energy, nexus, innovation ecosystem and technology transfer areas, including mechanisms of private sector engagements.

The Vienna Energy Forum (VEF) is a biennial, global and multi-stakeholder forum with a mandate of exploring 21st century developmental challenges from the perspective of sustainable energy and providing a platform for debate on practical solutions to these challenges. Given that the complex issues connected to sustainable energy need to be addressed in a holistic manner, the VEF brings together all sectors of society and participants from all over the world, thereby paving the way for tangible partnerships on the ground.

The Vienna Energy Forum was born in 2008 of a joint initiative by the Austrian Government, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, with the aim of exploring how energy can contribute to meeting global developmental challenges. Two insights formed the backdrop to this decision: firstly, in order to create a sustainable economy, it is necessary to transform energy systems; and secondly, there are strong inter-linkages between energy supply and virtually every aspect of inclusive and sustainable development.

Drawing on the expertise of its co-organizing institutions, the anchoring in the energy-hub Vienna, and the mutually beneficial networking with other key energy initiatives and institutions, the VEF has successfully spearheaded the global debate on sustainable energy for inclusive development and has become a high-level Global Forum for policy makers, experts and practitioners in the field of energy for inclusive development.

The first four Forums focused on different perspectives of this discussion and have been major contributors to the design of the SEforALL goals and to Vienna’s becoming a Global Energy Hub:

  • In 2009, in the context of the unfolding financial crisis, the Forum looked at an integrated energy agenda beyond 2020 under the theme “Towards an integrated energy agenda beyond 2020: Securing sustainable policies and investments”. The most central of the Forum’s six key recommendations foresaw the creation of an Energy Development Goal, which aimed to achieve universal energy access by 2030.
  • The theme selected for the VEF 2011, “Energy for all – Time for action”, focused on the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, which had developed between the VEFs in 2009 and 2011. It aimed to generate tangible results that would lead to action on the ground. Thanks to the Forum, the 2030 energy goals of universal access, energy intensity reduction and a global renewable energy mix obtained more substance and started gaining momentum.
  • The VEF 2013, with the theme “One Year after Rio+20: The energy future we want”, addressed the topic of sustainable energy in the context of negotiating the Post-2015 Development Agenda. It contributed to the advancement of the Post-2015 Development Framework and clearly positioned sustainable energy therein.
  • The thematic focus of the VEF 2015 was “Sustainable Energy for Inclusive Development”. The Forum provided a high level platform for leaders, policy makers and energy practitioners to engage in an interactive dialogue on key specific sustainable energy issues, such as policies, markets, finance and technologies. At the same time, the Forum generated concrete inputs for the anchoring of sustainable energy for inclusive development in the 2030 Development Agenda and for the successful conclusion of a comprehensive and effective climate agreement.