The International Vienna Energy and Climate Forum: igniting change

Vienna – Nearly every ninth person on the planet lacks access to electricity, with the majority living in Africa. At the International Vienna Energy and Climate Forum 2023 (IVECF), UNIDO Director General Gerd Müller called for concrete action to drive sustainable growth in developing countries: “Energy transition is not the main issue for many, because there’s nothing to transition from. Many still need to build basic modern energy systems from zero. They need investment, technologies and real partnership.”

Sending a strong signal about the transformation needed to align with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, Müller highlighted that energy access for all, greening industry, sustainable agriculture, decarbonization and nature-based solutions are the critical topics to guide our actions.

The IVECF on 2-3 November brought together more than 2,300 participants from over 145 countries to tackle challenges highlighted by Müller and bridge the gap between ambition and action. Guided by the motto “Sparking Solutions, Igniting Action”, stakeholders explored scalable and practical solutions to catalyze an inclusive energy transition and accelerate sustainable development.

The first direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere in the Global South, fossil-free steel, biomass-powered cold chains, solar applications for irrigation and portable equipment to convert waste biomass into solid fuel were among the solutions featured. Entrepreneurs and companies supported by UNIDO’s Global Cleantech Innovation Programme and Private Finance Advisory Network engaged in the Cleantech Days held ahead of the Forum, and made valuable contributions to the solutions showcase.

The two-day event identified the necessary levers and pathways for making transformational change across sectors, including energy systems, industry and agriculture, in an integrated manner. On the margins of the Forum, UNIDO and the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) joined forces by signing a memorandum of understanding to drive progress in grid interconnectivity and low-carbon energy transition.

A strong emphasis was put on the empowerment of women as catalysts for innovation and giving young changemakers a seat at the discussion table. Forum Youth Solutions Days were dedicated towards educating, training and mentoring young women and men to scale up their skills and engage actively in energy and climate transition. Contributions from more than 50 partner organizations further supported a holistic view of the role of energy in development with a variety of action-oriented discussions. The IVECF delivered bold solutions and concrete action to feed into the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai, building momentum to launch a new set of priority actions to make sure that we meet our energy and climate ambition.

For more information about the outcomes of the Forum, please visit:

Press contact: Barbora Poyner and

November 14, 2023