Timely seminars and high level events help promote reform. Events are ordered chronologically and include an impressive number of influential speakers from around the world.

HLPF Side Event: Leadership on fossil fuel subsidy reform for sustainable energy access and poverty reduction

Leadership is required to move away from inefficient and harmful fossil fuel subsidies (SDG 12) towards sustainable energy systems with access to energy for all (SDG 7). Fossil fuel subsidies stood at about USD 425 billion in 2015. This is 7.5 times more than the amount of financing required for universal electricity access. Reforming subsidies has massive benefits as a means of implementation for the global transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies. Nevertheless, reform requires efforts from political leaders, civil society and sound information to be successful.

This side event presents opportunities for financing and delivering the SDGs through fossil fuel subsidy reform, with a focus on sustainable energy access. Speakers will present replicable strategies for fossil fuel subsidy reform with high benefits for poverty reduction, gender and the SDGs. These strategies include better targeting of subsidies and subsidy “swaps,” which entail shifting fossil fuel subsidies toward sustainable energy solutions like renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as investments in public transport. The event will see the launch of a report on the interlinkages between energy access and fossil fuel subsidies.

The side event is organized by New Zealand on behalf of the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (“Friends”),  with Finland, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway as co-organizers. IISD’s Global Subsidies Initiative is coordinating the event.


July 18, 2018, 6:30-8:00 PM


  • Chair and opening remarks: Craig Hawke, Permanent Representative of New Zealand
  • Moderator: Scott Vaughan, President and CEO, IISD
  • Panelists:
    • Annika Lindblom, Secretary General, National Commission on Sustainable Development and Counsellor, Ministry of the Environment, Finland
    • Anna Zinecker, Policy Advisor, IISD
    • Ligia Noronha, Director, Economy Division, UN Environment


Anna Zinecker, IISD, +41774580731,
Ziona Eyob,

The Friends group was formed in June 2010 to support G20 and APEC leaders’ commitments to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. The Friends encourage the G20 and APEC to implement their initiative as soon as possible, with maximum ambition and transparency.

Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform are

  • Costa Rica
  • Denmark
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Uruguay