In September 2015, the General Assembly adopted a new and ground breaking agenda to guide development efforts for the period 2015 to 2030. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, which jointly constitutes a comprehensive plan of action to eradicate poverty and ensure sustainable development.
Recognizing the importance of energy for sustainable development, the 2030 Agenda has established the Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), the first-ever universal goal on energy, with five targets on access, efficiency, renewables and means of implementation. SDG7 represents a significant milestone, especially since the Millennium Development Goals from 2000 did not include an energy goal. Energy is – for the first time – recognized as a core part of the global sustainable development agenda of the United Nations system.
Energy is inextricably interlinked to many SDGs, including poverty eradication, food security, clean water and sanitation, health, education, prosperity, jobs creation, and the empowerment of youth and women. Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all is fundamental to human development. A shift toward sustainable energy solutions is also essential to the achievement of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
The ambition of the 2030 Agenda, including the goal and targets on energy, calls for equally ambitious means of implementation, including enabling environments, effective institutions, technology transfer, capacity building, scaled-up financing and multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve sustainable development.
The United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF) is the central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2018, the HLPF will be convened under the theme of “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies,” and undertakes the first global review of SDG7, along with SDGs 6, 11, 12 and 15. Many Member States are expected to undertake Voluntary National Reviews to assess progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG7.
The 2018 HLPF will serve as a first critical milestone to take stock of progress to-date including energy’s linkages with other SDGs and reflect on the way forward to accelerate implementation of SDGs.
The aim of the Global SDG7 Conference was to prepare substantive input on review of SDG7 during the High-Level Political Forum in 2018. It intended to facilitate exchange of lessons, insights and experiences to-date among member states and all stakeholders and consider challenges and opportunities for furthering progress towards 2030. More specifically, it provided an opportunity for participants to discuss:
- Trends and gaps toward the achievement of SDG7;
- Interlinkages between SDG7 and other SDGs;
- Means of implementation, including finance, capacity building and innovation;
- Key areas of opportunities for action by policy makers and all stakeholders on achieving SDG7 and leveraging its interlinkages with other SDGs in support of the 2030 Agenda.
The conference took place on 21 - 23 February 2018 at UN Conference Centre in Bangkok hosted by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP). It consisted of plenary sessions, alongside break-out interactive segments. Side-events were organized on 21 February 2018.
The conference included participation of Member States, observers, UN Agencies and representatives of civil society, private sector, and other relevant stakeholders.