14 May 2018 - 16 May 2018
Vienna, Austria

Vienna Energy Forum 2018 Special Session

The Vienna Energy Forum 2018 Special Session (VEF18), held at the Vienna International Centre on 14 May, concluded with the message that the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is vital for the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. 

© Alberto Masnovo | Shutterstock

© Alberto Masnovo | Shutterstock

The special session, with the theme ‘Powering Innovation for Prosperity’, focused on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7: Affordable and Clean Energy. The event focused on the importance of energy system transformation, innovative climate technology, and partnership in increasing access to energy around the world.

More than 300 invited guests attended the forum, including government ministers, representatives from the UN, other international organizations, the private sector, and academia, as well as multi-stakeholder energy experts. The main objective was to discuss not only the progress, but also the ways in which SDG7 can contribute to economic growth, industrialization, and innovation.

There were a series of plenary and round table discussions which highlighted both the challenges and opportunities of the transition to clean energy for developing nations. 

“One of the main agreed outcomes from the discussions was that if the transition is to make a difference, it has to create prosperity,” said Tareq Emtairah, Director of the Department of Energy at UNIDO. 

The growth of new green industrial sector has created new jobs and opportunities but the Forum agreed that there must be a shift from technology transfer to technology cooperation. Many startups and entrepreneurs in developing countries have their own innovations and solutions, and need support to develop them further for the global market. 

Participants also acknowledged that empowering entrepreneurs and creating the right environment for them to thrive will take time, and partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society actors must therefore be maintained. 


IIASA Director General and CEO Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat was a panellist at a plenary session looking at supporting entrepreneurs, while Deputy Director General/Deputy CEO Professor Nebojsa Nakicenovic participated in two high-level round table discussions.

“IIASA’s contribution in the organization and in participation of three key sessions revolved around two topics: how clean energy technology and innovation can foster the development of emerging enterprises and how low-carbon energy systems can be catalyst to industrial transformation, particularly in developing countries.

“Despite the short time available – one day session -  some 60 speakers provided valuable insights that will be summarized and transmitted to the UN’s High Level Political Forum in New York in July.  IIASA, as one of the co-organizers of the event, was pleased to see the impressive high level of participation and richness of the discussion which in turn will be used to enrich our collaboration with UNIDO and DESA. From that point of view, the VEF 2018 was for us a big success,” says Luis Gomez Echeverri, IIASA Senior Research Scholar.

At the event, as well as participating in a plenary session, IIASA Director Pavel Kabat met with several high profile figures including Liu Zhenmin, Under Secretary General and Head of UN DESA Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General and Head of the World Metereological Organization, Howard Bamsey, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, and Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC.


IIASA Participation:

Monday 14 May

9:45 to 11:45 | Room C6, (C-building, 7th floor), Vienna International Centre

Enhancing the participation of SMEs and start-ups from developing countries in the growing markets for climate and clean energy technology and innovation (2018)

IIASA Deputy Director General/Deputy CEO Professor Nebojsa Nakicenovic will be a discussant/panelist at this high-level round table session.

13:30 to 15:00 | Conference Room 1 (C Building, 2nd floor), Vienna International Centre

Climate & Clean Energy Technology and Innovation: Empowering and Catalyzing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems for Climate Innovation in Developing Countries

IIASA Director General & CEO Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat will be a speaker/panelist at this high-level plenary session.

15:15 to 17:15 | Room C6, (C-building, 7th floor), Vienna International Centre

Emerging low-carbon energy systems as a catalyst for industrial transformation in developing countries 

IIASA Deputy Director General/Deputy CEO Professor Nebojsa Nakicenovic will be a discussant/panelist at this high-level round table session.

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Last edited: 18 May 2018


Luis Gomez Echeverri

Emeritus Research Scholar

Directorate - DDG For Science

T +43(0) 2236 807 611

Full programme

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313