by Clay Nesler
Vice President, Global Energy and Sustainability
Johnson Controls, Milwaukee, USA
Congratulations on this significant milestone – 25 years of improving the environment around the world.
The GEF has been a great partner with the private sector as we worked collaboratively to create the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Energy Efficiency Accelerator platform. From the very first SE4ALL Energy Efficiency Working Group Session in 2014, to the announcement of GEF funding for the Building Efficiency and District Energy accelerators at COP21, GEF has served a leading role in guiding the development of the overall accelerator platform, in addition to providing financial support to many of the individual accelerators.
While international development banks have a long successful history of funding environmental projects in developing countries, the GEF is unique in its commitment to support policy and program development activities for accelerating building efficiency in cities. With rapid urbanization, energy efficiency improvements in buildings represent a great opportunity to lower emissions, reduce energy costs and increase local employment. With more than 25 percent of global energy demand, 60 percent of electricity use and 33 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, buildings should be a key focus for investment.
GEF funding to the World Resources Institute (WRI) provides the ability to expand the Building Efficiency Accelerator with the goal of reaching 50 cities in the next couple of years. These collaborative engagements will help cities establish policies, programs and partnerships, as well as implement projects to demonstrate the environmental, economic and social benefits of building efficiency improvements. Mexico City has benefitted from its participation in the Building Efficiency Accelerator, working with WRI and more than 100 local partners in business, government and civil society to update construction codes and retrofit municipal buildings.
As the industry co-convener of the Building Efficiency Accelerator, I would like to thank the GEF for your leadership, commitment and generous support of the SE4ALL Energy Efficiency Accelerators. I am confident that the GEF-supported, WRI-lead Building Efficiency Accelerator will demonstrate the potential for public-private sector collaboration to deliver the innovation and resources necessary to address the greatest environmental challenges facing our global cities today and in the future.