The 2015 International Students Energy Summit (ISES), held at the Nusa Dua Convention Centre in Bali, Indonesia, included talks on numerous topics related to the implementation of sustainable energy resources. The event’s theme of “Connecting the Unconnected” combined visions of “striving forward” and “leaving no one behind” in an attempt to change the management of energy in order to tackle poverty and improve the quality of life in developing countries. 

Michela Magni (Project Officer for Solutions), Ian Lieblich (City Coordinator - Sydney) and Reem Al-Mansoori (Project Officer for Education) attended the NUSA DUA International Student Energy Summit in Indonesia June 2015

Michela Magni (Project Officer for Solutions), Ian Lieblich (City Coordinator - Sydney) and Reem Al-Mansoori (Project Officer for Education) attended the NUSA DUA International Student Energy Summit in Indonesia June 2015

In approaching such issues, the speakers stressed the importance of the role of the youth. “ You are the leaders of today, not tomorrow. You can lead a spark, ” said Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations during the opening ceremony. The youth were asked to explore new frontiers in order to make energy accessible for all; this is what sustainable energy is about. 

As Ms. Heyzer added, “ We need to connect light to darkness. Why? Because in darkness life cannot live in its full potential. When we are in darkness, someone is in light. How do we share our resources? If we want to share prosperity, we must share energy.” Indeed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) preach the sharing of energy without exploiting our planets’ very finite resources, as Ms. Heyzer later confirmed the fact that “our economic systems can’t use energy for unsustainable growth.” As today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders, ours is the last generation capable of solving this global crisis.

The whole event was structured around the necessity for a multidisciplinary approach to the world’s energy and opportunity. This was well reflected in the heterogeneity of ISES 2015 delegates. More than 600 students, coming from different backgrounds and realities, attended the summit that this year was hosted for the first time in a developing country.

It is in Bali that the delegate students took their first steps together to connect the unconnected, led by the voices of dignitaries such as the Vice President of Indonesia, H.E. Mr. Jusuf Kalla, the managing director of the World Bank Group, the former President of the Maldives and many other experts of the sector.

The structure of the event, organised in plenary and parallel sessions, offered the delegates the chance to approach a great variety of themes and issues, from geothermal energy to sustainable cities and women empowerment, to name a few.

ISES 2015 also offered the students the possibility to work together on particular projects that had been ideated by the delegates themselves during the Innovation Jam. With the summit not only offering the chance to gain access to the ideas of great experts, but also providing an opportunity to develop and think critically while enjoying being part of an international team.

Climate change was one of the main discussed themes, given the proximity of the Conference of Parties 21 (COP21) that will take place this upcoming December in Paris. At the end of the year, world leaders are expected to seal a pact that would control greenhouse gas emissions, limiting global warming. In this regard, Heherson T. Alavarez, Representative of the Philippine Climate Change Commission, stressed the importance of insuring the success of the Paris Summit, underlying the importance of the role of the youth in the process,

“Let the youth of your nations, swiftly and resoundingly challenge the gridlock of the $400 billion fossil subsidy and the market cost externalities of carbon.”

We are certainly in a period of transition with the today’s youth set to play a crucial role in the intervening 85 years. For this reason it was so important for SDSN Youth to have a presence at such a conference, networking with students from hundreds of universities studying a plethora of different degrees across diverse industries. Governments want energy that is cheap and reliable, as leaders of the next generation it is our responsibility to produce both the technology and policy to make this happen, and ensure the sustainable development of many of the delegates’ homes, be they in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Asia Pacific or Latin America.

Change is happening now. SDSN Youth is surely a vital component of that change and is providing passionate, driven young people with the chance to attend conferences such as ISES and further the sustainable development goals and clean, green progress. As stated by Mr. Alvarez,

“The peaceful global battle cry of man to save man from climate change would be Liberté, Egalité, Nunca Externalité.” 

Editors Note:

All opinions expressed on the blog are the opinion of the authors and not of SDSN Youth.

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