Global efforts on SDG energy targets fall short

23 May 2019

Sian Crampsie

A new report from a multi-agency group of global energy and development organisations says that a greater effort must be made if the world is to meet the energy targets set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030.

A new report from International Energy Agency (IEA) the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO) says that although notable progress has been made on energy access in recent years, more sustained effort will be required to improve energy access and energy sustainability in some of the world’s poorest populations.

According to the report, ‘Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report’, the number of people living without electricity has dropped to roughly 840 million from 1 billion in 2016 and 1.2 billion in 2010. India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Myanmar are among countries that made the most progress since 2010.

However, without more sustained and stepped-up actions, 650 million people will still be left without access to electricity in 2030, the report notes. Nine out of 10 of them will be living in sub-Saharan Africa.

The report tracks global, regional and country progress on the three targets of SDG7: access to energy and clean cooking, renewable energy and energy efficiency. It identifies priorities for action and best practices that have proven successful in helping policymakers and development partners understand what is needed to overcome challenges.

“We need to do more to put the world on track to meet all SDG7 targets,” said Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director, IEA. “I am particularly concerned by the dramatic lack of access to reliable, modern and sustainable energy in certain parts of the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, a region where we need to really concentrate our efforts.”

In the report, the international organizations say that great efforts have been made to deploy renewable energy technology for electricity generation and to improve energy efficiency across the world. Nonetheless, access to clean cooking solutions and the use of renewable energy in heat generation and transport are still lagging far behind the goals.

“Maintaining and extending the pace of progress in all regions and sectors will require stronger political commitment, long-term energy planning, increased private financing and adequate policy and fiscal incentives to spur faster deployment of new technologies,” the report says.

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