Sunday, June 20, 2021
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HomeWorldGlobal Push Needed To Ensure ‘Clean, Affordable And Sustainable Electricity’ For All

Global Push Needed To Ensure ‘Clean, Affordable And Sustainable Electricity’ For All


During the last decade, more people around the
world have gained access to electricity than ever before.
However, the number still not connected has grown in
Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia,
according to a new UN report on universal access to energy,
launched on Monday.

The seventh Sustainable
Development Goal (SDG),
SDG7, aims to
ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and
modern energy for all.

However, those nations which
remain most off the grid, are set to enter 2030 without
meeting this goal unless efforts are significantly scaled
up, warns the new study entitled Tracking SDG 7: The
Energy Progress Report
, published by the International
Energy Agency (IAE), International Renewable Energy Agency
(IRENA), UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN
DESA), World Bank, and World Health Organization (WHO).

“Moving
towards scaling up clean and sustainable energy is key
toprotect human health and topromote healthier
populations, particularly in remote and rural areas”, said
Maria Neira, WHO Director of the Department of
Environment, Climate Change and Health.

COVID
setbacks

The report outlines significant but unequal
progress on SDG7, noting that while more than one billion
people globally gained access to electricity over the last
decade, COVID’s financial impact so far, has made basic
electricity services unaffordable for 30 million others,
mostly in Africa.

“The Tracking SDG7 report shows
that 90 per cent of the global population now has access to
electricity, but disparities exacerbated by the pandemic, if
left unaddressed, may keep the sustainable energy goal out
of reach, jeopardizing other SDGs and the Paris
Agreement
’s objectives”, said
Mari Pangestu, Managing Director of Development Policy
and Partnerships at the World Bank.

While the report
also finds that the COVID-19 pandemic
has reversed some progress, Stefan Schweinfest, DESA’s
Director of the Statistics Division, pointed
out
that this has presented “opportunities to
integrate SDG 7-related policies in recovery packages and
thus to scale up sustainable
development”.

Modernizing renewables

The
publication examines ways to bridge gaps to reach SDG7,
chief among them the scaling up of renewables, which have
proven more resilient than other parts of the energy sector
during the COVID-19 crisis.

While sub-Saharan Africa
has the largest share of renewable sources in its energy
supply, they are far from “clean” – 85 per cent use
biomass, such as burning wood, crops and manure.

“On
a global path to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, we
can reach key sustainable energy targets by 2030 as we
expand renewables in all sectors and increase energy
efficiency”, said IAE Executive Director, Fatih
Birol.

And although the private sector continues to
source clean energy investments, the public sector remains a
major financing source, central in leveraging private
capital, particularly in developing countries and in a
post-COVID context.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which
has dramatically increased investors’ risk perception and
shifting priorities in developing countries, international
financial flows in public investment terms, are more
critical than ever to leverage the investment levels needed
to reach SDG 7, according to the report.

“Greater
efforts to mobilize and scale up investment are essential to
ensure that energy access progress continues in developing
economies”, he added.

Scaling up
clean and sustainable energy is key toprotect human
health —
WHO’s Maria
Neira

Other key
targets

The report highlighted other crucial actions
needed on clean cooking, energy efficiency and international
financial flows.

A healthy and green recovery from
COVID-19includesthe importance of ensuring a quick
transition to cleanand sustainableenergy”,
saidDr.Neira.

Feeding into autumn
summit

This seventh edition of the report formerly
known as the Global Tracking Framework comes at a crucial
time as Governments and others are gearing up for the UN
High-level Dialogue on Energy
in September 2021 aimed to
examine what is needed to achieve SDG7 by 2030 and mobilize
voluntary commitments and actions through Energy
Compacts
.

The report will inform the summit-level
meeting on the current progress towards SDG 7, “four
decades after the last high-level event dedicated to energy
under the auspices of UN General Assembly”, said Mr.
Schweinfest.

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