The SDG 7 progress report reflects on the consequences of COVID-19 and the results from global modeling to determine to what extent current policies can help meet the SDG 7 targets and to identify possible additional actions.
It also considers the investments required to achieve SDG 7.
The SDG 7 policy briefs highlight the interlinkages between SDG 7, and SDGs 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), and 15 (life on land) – three of the five Goals to undergo in-depth review this year.
The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and partners launched two publications on SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy for all): the 2022 edition of the SDG 7 progress report and a set of policy briefs highlighting interlinkages between SDG 7 and other Goals. The publications warn that at current rate of progress, the world is not on track to achieve SDG 7 by 2030.
The SDG 7 progress report is set against the background of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and a global energy crisis triggered by the conflict in Ukraine. The report reflects on the consequences of COVID-19 and the results from global modeling to determine to what extent current policies can help meet the SDG 7 targets and to identify possible additional actions. It also considers the investments required to achieve SDG 7.
The report relies on scenarios drawn from the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) ‘World Energy Outlook 2020’ and the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) ‘World Energy Transitions Outlook: 1.5°C Pathway.’
On access to electricity (indicator 7.1.1), the report finds that the number of unserved people decreased from 1.2 billion in 2010 to 733 billion in 2020. However, it notes, the pace of annual access growth has slowed due to COVID-19 and difficulties associated with reaching the remaining unserved populations. The report warns that the world will only achieve 92% electrification by 2030 if current rates of progress persist.
On access to clean cooking solutions (indicator 7.1.2), the report states that while globally, the number of people without access to clean cooking dropped from 6 billion in 2010 to 2.4 billion in 2020, progress has been uneven. It documents improvements in East and Southeast Asia since 2000, and in Central and South Asia since 2010, but notes with concern the access deficit in Sub-Saharan Africa, which nearly doubled since 1990 and rose by more than 50% since 2000. The report calls for “multisectoral, coordinated effort,” including learning from challenges and successes, to achieve universal access to clean cooking by 2030.
The renewable energy share in total final energy consumption (indicator 7.2.1) increased from 16.1% in 2010 to 17.7% in 2019, according to the report. Its findings indicate that in contrast to other energy sources, renewable energy consumption continued to grow throughout the pandemic. However, the report stresses, increased policy support is needed to raise the renewables share in total final energy consumption to “well over 30%” to achieve net-zero energy emissions by 2050 – a task made more difficult by the recent hikes in commodity, energy, and shipping prices.
Primary energy intensity – indicator 7.3.1 measuring energy efficiency – decreased from 5.6 MJ/USD in 2010 to 4.7 MJ/USD in 2019. It means that global annual improvements in energy intensity in 2010-2019 were around 1.9% on average. The goal of SDG target 7.3 is to double the annual global rate of improvement in primary energy intensity, from the 1990-2010 baseline, to 2.6% in 2010-2030. The report finds that to make up for lost time, the annual improvement rate would need to reach 3.2%, and eventually 4%, if the world is to reach net-zero energy emissions by 2050.
The report flags that international public financial flows to developing countries in support of clean energy fell from 11.2 USD billion in 2010 to 10.9 USD billion in 2019, representing a 25% drop from the 2010-2019 average, and a more than 50% decrease from the 2017 peak of USD 24.7 billion. It recommends that flows be increased to reach SDG 7, enable the achievement of SDG 13 (climate action) and other Goals, and support a sustainable COVID-19 recovery.
We need radical actions to accelerate the increase of international public financial flows and distribute them in a more equitable manner, so 733 million people who are currently left behind can enjoy the benefits of clean energy access.
— IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera
Released in support of the July session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the SDG 7 policy briefs highlight the interlinkages between SDG 7, and SDGs 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), and 15 (life on land) – three of the five Goals to undergo in-depth review this year. The publication also shares regional perspectives on advancing SDG 7 in:
- Asia and the Pacific;
- The Arab region;
- The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region;
- Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC); and
- Least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), and small island developing States (SIDS).
Now in its eighth edition, ‘Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report 2022’ was produced by the five custodian agencies of the SDG 7 indicators – the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the UN Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO) – with support from the SDG 7 Technical Advisory Group, composed of government ministries, international organizations, UN agencies, and other partners. The fifth edition of ‘SDG7 Policy Briefs 2022: Addressing Energy’s Interlinkages with Other SDGs,’ was produced by the SDG 7 Technical Advisory Group, with DESA’s Energy Team serving as secretariat.
The publications launched at a global event, which took place on 1 June 2022 in a hybrid format, with online and in-person participation in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The Co-Chairs of the Group of Friends of Sustainable Energy – Denmark, Ethiopia, Norway, and Pakistan – co-hosted the launch event, convened in partnership with the five custodian agencies for SDG 7. [Publication: Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report 2022] [Executive Summary] [The Energy Progress Report Interactive Website] [IEA Progress Report Webpage] [DESA Press Release] [IEA Press Release] [Publication: Policy Briefs in Support of the High-level Political Forum 2022: Addressing Energy’s Interlinkages with Other SDGs] [Launch Event Recording] [ENB Coverage of Launch Event]