Helio International watches over the progress towards sustainability.

HELIO International is a Paris-based non-profit global network of energy experts that maintains an on-going watch to promote sustainable energy development.  This ?watch? takes the form of assessing how countries are promoting sustainability and then presenting its findings at major conferences and global events. They are here presented by their president Rod Janssen.

For example, in 2002, we assessed the impacts of 17 countries and two regions, presenting them at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.  Countries were assessed through the use of our eight indicators related to the environment, society; the economy and technology. These indicators are designed to be used in any country ? developed or developing, large or small ? and we have trained observer/reporters in many countries how to use these indicators.  The indicators are supplemented by detailed assessments in order to expand on the dynamics within the countries and regions. We call the entire monitoring process our Sustainable Energy Watch (SEW).

Currently, HELIO International is preparing for a new round of country reviews that we plans to present in 2006 around the discussions of the UN?s Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), which will focus on energy-related issues.  We are accredited as observers to the CSD.

In the late 1990s, with funding from Gaz de France, HELIO International developed sustainability indicators for the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol.  The indicators formed the basis for the ?Gold Standard? that is now used globally.  To test the CDM indicators, HELIO participated with a network of organisations called SouthSouthNorth, based out of Cape Town, in the development and implementation of CDM mitigation projects using our indicators.  The project was funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Now a new four-year project ? also funded by the Dutch ? goes farther, focussing on how to develop climate projects that tackle poverty.  It has also added adaptation projects and a greater, more structured effort on technology transfer.  HELIO?s role is in monitoring the entire process and HELIO has monitors in the participating countries.  One of the challenges is in developing and using indicators for adaptation projects, since this is a relatively new field from the climate change perspective and no indicators have been used in the past.  See http://www.southsouthnorth.org for more information.

Members of HELIO International have participated in each of the UNFCCC COP meetings and have worked with other NGOs to help bring in the NGO viewpoint into the development of the climate discussions. 

HELIO International is a corporate member of ECEEE and has presented several papers at the ECEEE summer studies over the years.  Most recently, HELIO wrote on the need for citizen participation in integrating sustainability to energy policy.  More concretely, the paper argues for the development of citizen utility boards in the electricity sector, similar to such efforts in the US.  The paper argues that the development of such users? councils would allow citizens, as energy users: 1) to be better informed, 2) to be prepared to contribute to rational energy decision-making, and 3) to promote more actively climate stabilisation and sustainable development by favouring energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Under the 6th Framework Research Programme in the EU, HELIO has been participating in research studies focusing on externalities.  While the analysis of externalities has been led by academics, HELIO has been involved in bringing a broader perspective into the discussions.

HELIO remains active in promoting sustainable energy.  Most recently, HELIO presented detailed comments to the European Commission on its green paper on energy efficiency.  HELIO takes a pro-active approach to ensure that energy policies are as robust and effective as possible in promoting sustainability. 

HELIO is a small organisation, relying on many expert volunteers throughout the world.  Funding is primarily through participation in projects and working with strategic partners.  While based in Paris, it has a global perspective and even I, as president, live in England!  And our main advisers come from some of the most influential organisations globally.  These would include Christopher Flavin of the Worldwatch Institute in Washington and Bert Bolin, the first IPCC Chairman, from Sweden!

We may be small, but you?ll be hearing a lot more from us in the future.

Rod Janssen







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