United Nations energy council tabs Semida Silveira

By: Patrick Gillespie

Semida Silveira, a Professor of Practice in Cornell Engineering’s Systems Engineering program, has been appointed to the Council of Engineering for the Energy Transition (CEET), an independent advisory council to the United Nations Secretary-General.

Under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, the CEET is a global, high-level body of engineers and energy systems experts to contribute to the UN Secretary-General’s goal to build a coalition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and to the UN generally on engineering pathways to achieve comprehensive decarbonization by mid-century. The CEET is an independent and impartial council of recognized global experts, serving in their personal capacity and responding to requests for information by the UN System.

“I am thrilled and honored to be part of this international group of engineers and provide support to policymakers to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement,” Silveira said. “Our task is to devise pathways to accelerate the energy transition – it includes the deployment of proven and innovative technologies, and the engineering of systems that will guarantee a low-carbon future. We have a lot of work to do!”

CEET core activities will focus on solving the challenges of scaling key technologies in support of the global energy transition; recommending guidelines to support countries in the implementation of their Nationally Determined Contributions in line with the Paris Agreement; publishing technical briefs on zero-carbon technologies, including breakthrough technologies; analyzing sectoral and integrated pathways at regional and local levels; and providing guidance and technical advice from a globally diverse expert perspective, ensuring a gender responsive energy transition and decarbonization. 

Silveira and Jaideep Sandhu, the Chief Technology Officer of the Renewables Global Business Unit for ENGIE, a global low-carbon energy and services group, are serving as the council’s first spokespersons.

Before coming to Cornell University, Silveira was a Full Professor in energy systems planning at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, where she established and led the Energy and Climate Division of the Energy Technology Department for 12 years. During this time, she also acted as KTH director of international cooperation with Brazil and other Latin American countries and coordinated cooperation with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The CEET was launched in September 2021 and is co-chaired by Gerd Müller, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Professor Jeffrey Sachs, President of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).


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