Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today, including poverty eradication, gender equality, adaptation to climate change, food security, health, education, sustainable cities, jobs and transport, speakers told a key United Nations forum on sustainable development on Tuesday.
“We believe that what we need going forward is to strengthen ambition, strengthen action and strengthen cooperation,” said Adnan Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency, on the second day of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
The Forum, which will run through 18 July, aims to examine progress already made by dozens of countries towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – adopted by 193 Member States in 2015 – and discuss the remaining challenges and the best way forward.
Mr. Amin moderated an afternoon session that focused on Goal 7 – ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, highlighting how the increasing use of sustainable energy has become a tangible reality in many countries, including Portugal, where the whole country can now be powered through renewable resources.
The Forum featured a statistical presentation by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), whose representative said that despite improved access to electricity globally, nearly one billion people continue to live without electricity while about 3 billion people lack access to clean-cooking solutions and are exposed to dangerous levels of indoor air pollution.
Panellists discussed how achieving SDG 7 will galvanize actions to meet the Paris Agreement on climate change, and how women are disproportionately affected by indoor air pollution caused by the use of fuels such as coal and wood indoors.
The Forum meets annually under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC, including a three-day ministerial segment, and is due to meet once every four years at the level of Heads of State and Government, under the auspices of the UN General Assembly.
Under the theme “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”, this year’s Forum focuses on six of the 17 goals:
Goal 6: To ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Goal 7: To provide access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Goal 11: To make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Goal 12: To ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Goal 15. To protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss.
Goal 17. To strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, that will be considered each year.