On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015 – officially came into force. The SDGs mark an important positive step in the battle against poverty, inequality and climate change for the next 15 years.
The SDGs outline the future the international community needs to aim for. This is a future in which hunger is eradicated, water is available, inequality is eliminated, action is taken against climate change, and where education and healthcare is available to all and gender equality is ensured. This is the way to foster global growth, promote human well-being and safeguard the environment.
To guarantee access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all is one of these goals. Energy allows the provision of essential services such as healthcare and education. It improves quality of life for women, allows business start-ups, helps develop agriculture and protects the environment, all of which are key to community development and well-being. 1.2 billion people have no access to electricity, and 2.7 billion people do not have access to clean and safe cooking and heating. This shows the extent of the challenge in meeting SDG 7, and the importance of doing so.
Universal energy access will be achieved by reconciling the need to guarantee modern energy services with their potential impact on the environment and the world’s natural resources, in order to ensure sustainable development. SDG 7 therefore also requires expansion of the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, increased energy efficiency, and cooperation in and promotion of investment in energy infrastructures and renewable energy technologies, especially in the less developed countries.
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