The ECOWAS Commission, through ECREEE, and in collaboration with the Gov­ernment of Ghana, the Global Fo­rum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE), the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) organised a high level energy forum in Accra, Ghana, from October 29 – 31, 2012, under the theme Towards Sustainable Energy for All in West Africa: Paving the way through Re­newable Energy and Energy Ef­ficiency. The event was organized under the auspices of the UN Sus­tainable Energy For All (SE4ALL) Initiative, which aims, by 2030, to: en­sure universal access to modern energy services; double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix; and double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

The forum was formally declared opened by Mr. Emmanuel Amah Kofi Buah, Deputy Minister for Energy, Gha­na. In his opening address, Mr. Buah not­ed that the issue of poverty in West Af­rica cannot be solved without the region achieving universal access to energy. In support of this statement, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO, and Chair of UN-Energy, commented that the forum presented an opportunity for the policy makers in the ECOWAS region to draw up concrete actions for achieving sustainable energy for all. Ms. Irene Giner-Reichl, President of the GFSE, commended the ECOWAS Com­mission for its determination towards ending the energy crises in its region. She added that this determination has been recognized by other sub-regions in the continent- the Southern African De­velopment Community (SADC) and the Eastern African Community (EAC) – and has encouraged them to do the same. Ms. Gin­er-Reichl urged the Minsters to continue in their effort to end energy poverty.

The forum brought together over 320 participants, includ­ing ECOWAS energy and environment ministers, lead­ers of international organizations, diplomats, and other major players to facilitate the establishment of a regional implementation frame­work for the SE4ALL Initiative in the ECOWAS region.

The forum featured a meeting of ECOWAS Energy Ministers which adopted resolutions relating to the ECOWAS Policy on Renewable En­ergy, ECOWAS Policy on Energy Efficiency, ECOWAS Small Hydro Power Program, and the ECOWAS Bioenergy Strategy Framework.

The forum also witnessed the of­ficial launch of the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency initiatives on standards and labelling, lighting, electricity distri­bution and efficient cooking. The ECO­WAS Observatory for Renewable Ener­gy and Energy Efficiency (ECOWREX), developed within the framework of the implementation of the GEF-UNIDO Stra­tegic Program for West Africa (SPWA), was also launched at the event.