Mr. Eliott Harris Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist

Welcome Remarks
at The High-Level Luncheon Accelerating SDG 7 Achievement

Your Excellency, Mr. Alpha Condé, President of Guinea,
Your Excellency, Mr. Thomas Remengesau, President of Palau,
Your Excellency, Mr. Komi Sélom Klassou, Prime Minister of Togo,
Your Excellency, Mr. Neven Mimica, European Union Commissioner for
International Development and Cooperation,
Honorable Ministers,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As co-convener and on behalf of Under-Secretary-General Mr. Liu, I have the pleasure to welcome you all to this luncheon.

It is a great pleasure to have this momentous gathering on the occasion of the SDG7 review at the High-Level Political Forum, the first critical milestone in taking stock of progress-to-date.

Pleased also allow me to commend the steadfast leadership of Mr. Neven Mimica, European Union Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation, co-convener of this luncheon.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The cornerstone of the 2030 Agenda is the promise to leave no one behind.
Achieving universal access to electricity and clean cooking solutions is indispensable to meet this pledge and achieve all the SDGs.

Clean energy transition is also essential to realize synergies between the 2030 Agenda and climate change. It reduces emissions, strengthens resilience and produces tremendous development benefits, from innovation to new jobs, from poverty reduction to empowered women.

As you heard during the SDG7 review last week, however, we are not moving fast enough.

On renewable energy, we are seeing rapid progress in the power sector, but far less in transportation, cooling and heating.

We are making gains in energy efficiency, but not at the pace needed to double energy productivity by 2030.

About 1 billion people are still living without access to electricity. That’s 100 million less than in 2014, but it’s still far, far too many people.

Most disturbingly, in Sub-Saharan Africa alone in 2016, estimated 860 million people – 70 percent of Africans, most of them women and children – do not have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies. That’s 275 million more people than in 2010.

These numbers have devastating consequences. About 4 million people die every year because of indoor air pollution caused by inefficient cooking practices.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Achievement of SDG7 is within reach, but only if we all take immediate action together to scale up our efforts.

We must double financing for SDG7 from the current USD 500 billion per year to over US$ 1 trillion per year to achieve SDG7.

Strong multi-stakeholder partnerships are key to mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources.

Secretary-General’s Climate Summit next year will be an important global platform to raise our ambitions and mobilize game-changing partnerships.

At the UN, we will continue to strengthen our efforts to support Member States in support of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris agreement.

We at UN DESA will strengthen our work with the multi-stakeholder SDG7 Technical Advisory Group and continue to promote coordination and coherence within the UN system and beyond.

We have no time to lose. We count on your strong leadership to making SDG 7 a reality.

Thank you.

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