Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL)
Achieving the seventh Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 7) on energy is fundamental to all aspects of development. Sustainable energy is critical for improving the health and livelihoods of billions of people around the world. It provides new opportunities, enables businesses to grow, generates jobs, and creates new markets. Economies can grow more resilient and competitive. Families can generate income. Children can study after dark. Clinics can store life-saving vaccines. It is therefore imperative that we go further, faster to deliver universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy to support progress on other sustainable development goals.
Over the past two decades the world has made significant progress towards the interlinked development and climate change objectives embodied in SDG 7 but this progress is not moving fast enough to meet the challenge. Some 1.1 billion people do not have access to electricity and 2.9 billion people do not have access to clean cooking. Progress on energy efficiency is at two-thirds the required rate and more needs to be done to scale up renewables in the global energy mix. Finance flows are at one third of the USD 1.0-1.2 trillion a year needed to meet 2030 objectives.
All regions and constituencies continue to face impediments to social and economic development linked to the availability of affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy services. Africa, the Asia Pacific and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) face significant gaps in access to electricity. Governments have acted to prioritize energy sector development, with some successes, but progress remains uneven. The Latin America and Caribbean region could close the electricity access gap for the 4 percent without services but faces challenges in financing the higher costs to deliver services to remote areas. Further regional integration could help the region exploit untapped renewable energy resources. The Middle East and North Africa region is heterogeneous when it comes to energy access and faces challenges to regional growth linked to the collapse in oil prices and an uncertain outlook. Countries have been focusing on diversification of energy resources and energy efficiency as a priority. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) also face challenges due to their dependency of fossil fuel resources and price volatility as well as vulnerability to climate change but have an opportunity, with the appropriate support and collaboration, to capitalize on their access to a wide range of renewable energy resources. Europe, in contrast, with its high energy consumption and contribution to global economic output needs to continue to reduce its energy intensity and make a substantial transition over coming years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimize environmental impacts.
Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), established as a global initiative by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September 2011, is a multi-stakeholder platform that promotes and supports new collaborative approaches for governments, business and civil society to work together towards achieving these objectives. Many countries are working through SEforALL to develop nationally tailored Action Agendas and Investment Prospectuses, which are recognized in the Finance for Development Outcome document, by the G20 and others as a useful framework to scale up action in priority areas, undertake strategic reforms, and attract new investments and financial support to meet 2030 objectives.
To go further, faster to deliver sustainable energy services, all regions will need continued targeted, adequate and efficient financial and technical support to prepare the necessary transition plans, develop a robust pipeline of national projects with financial models and structures to attract and scale up private finance, and build capacity for their implementation. In parallel, countries will need to continue efforts to establish an enabling policy and regulatory environment, improve the governance and management of the energy sector and enhance its creditworthiness.