Damilola Ogunbiyi welcomes new SEforAll board chair

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By Ikenna Omeje

The Chief Executive Officer and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy,  Damilola Ogunbiyi, has welcomed the new board chair of SEforAll, Francesco Starace, to the organisation.

“With ambitious action we can still achieve SDG7 by 2030, but the next few years are critical to increase energy access – especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. SEforALL’s leadership is pivotal to deliver this vision and why I’m delighted to welcome Francesco Starace as our new Chair of the Administrative Board. Francesco brings incredible experience that can help SEforALL deliver an energy transition that is truly inclusive, equitable and leaves no one behind,” the former Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency (REA) said.

SEforALL, a non-profit international organization that works closely with the United Nations to accelerate and deliver at scale the solutions needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all – by 2030, recently announced the appointment of  Starace, the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Enel S.p.A., as the new  Chair of the SEforALL Administrative Board.

With less than 10 years to meet SDG7, and with increasing urgency for the world to get on track to meet the Paris Agreement climate goals, SEforALL’s role in driving a global clean energy transition has never been more important. Starace, who has been CEO and General Manager of Enel, one of the largest utilities in Europe, since May 2014, begins in the role with immediate effect.

Speaking on the announcement, Vice-Chair of the SEforALL Administrative Board, and President and Chief Executive Officer of the UN Foundation, Elizabeth Cousens, said: “Francesco is a visionary energy leader with a long track record in  driving business ambition around climate action, sustainability, and energy access for hundreds of millions of  people around the world who lack it . He is a natural choice for this important role at such a critical moment. With SEforALL’s unique mandate from the UN to drive SDG7 action in line with the Paris Agreement, his leadership can help support the organization go even further and faster to achieve our goal of universal energy access.”

Speaking on his appointment,  Starace,  said: “Energy must be at the heart of the global agenda to lead the world on a more sustainable pathway, focusing multi-stakeholder action especially on renewables and energy efficiency, which are key for delivering on the goals of energy access and climate mitigation. I am very proud to join SEforALL and to support its efforts for the clean energy transition and to work together toward achievement of SDG 7.

“My main objective as Chair of the SEforALL Administrative Board will be to cooperate with leading actors to accelerate the critical shift to a more sustainable, modern and accessible energy for all. I have great confidence in SEforALL leadership and its unique strengths to tackle the complexity of the energy challenges and to support ensuring the fundamental right to electricity for everyone, globally.”

As Chair of the Administrative Board – the principal governing body of the organization – Starace will help shape strategy and operations for the organization at the highest levels. Starace currently also serves as a member of the UN Global Compact Board of Directors and the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty. He previously served as a member of the former SEforALL Advisory Board and President of Eurelectric, the European association for the electricity industry.  

The announcement comes after SEforALL recently released a new three-year business plan to help drive scaled action towards sustainable energy for development and energy transitions. The ambitious plan recognizes the need to strengthen global advocacy while expanding activities that prioritize data-driven decision-making, strategic partnerships and country-specific implementation.

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