New partnerships to save billions from ill effects of dirty fuels

New initiatives announced on Sunday aim to urgently bring clean cooking solutions to the three billion people worldwide who still rely on dirty, inefficient fuels, such as biomass and kerosene for their cooking energy.

These dirty cooking methods not only contribute to deforestation and climate change, but also expose their users to dangerous levels of air pollution, which result in about four million deaths each year, mostly among women and children.

To counter this dangerous trend, UN DESA, together with the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Development Programme, (UNDP) and the World Bank, has launched the Health and Energy Platform of Action, which will help countries strengthen the cooperation between their health, energy and other sectors. Among others, it is expected to establish a High-Level Coalition of Leaders for Clean Cooking, Energy and Health.

Donor countries, together with World Bank Group’s ESMAP Programme, launched the Energy Storage Initiative with $500 million of initial funding and proposed the establishment of a Clean Cooking Fund, with an additional $500 million pledged by the governments of Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

In his opening remarks, UN Under-Secretary-General and head of UN DESA, Liu Zhenmin, underlined that achieving the Sustainable Development Goal on clean energy (SDG 7) will spur progress not only on climate action but also across many other goals and targets—such as poverty eradication, gender equality, health, education, decent jobs, innovation and transport.

Mr. Liu emphasized the urgency to address the clean cooking access gap, saying that “we cannot leave three billion people without clean cooking facilities.” He also pledged to continue strengthening the synergies between climate action and the broader 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to scale up ambition and commitment in its implementation.

Underscoring UN DESA’s commitment to SDG 7, Mr. Liu also vowed to support the Sustainable Energy Access Coalition under the leadership of Ethiopia, Morocco and other partners, strengthen the secretariat for UN-Energy, and continue to invest in the SDG 7 Technical Advisory Group.

The announcements came just ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit, during a high-level meeting of the Summit’s energy transition track. Entitled “Leaving No One Behind – Taking Action”, the event featured government leaders, representatives of key international organizations, and various stakeholders, who showcased their joint actions push the world over the tipping point for sustainable energy deployment.

The outcome summary by the session moderator is accessible here.

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