Theme report on Energy Access

Energy can create transformational opportunities. For the 759 million people in the world who lack access to electricity, the introduction of clean energy solutions can bring vital services such as improved healthcare, better education and affordable broadband, creating new jobs, livelihoods and sustainable economic value to reduce poverty. In regions such as sub-Saharan Africa where half of secondary schools and a quarter of health facilities have no power, clean energy access will help save lives, and offer opportunities for prosperity at a transformative scale.

An energy revolution based on renewables and energy efficiency is urgently needed not just to accelerate economic progress and development, but also to slash emissions that are rapidly warming our planet. The energy sector today, dominated by fossil fuels, accounts for 73 per cent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Global CO2e emissions must be halved by 2030 to avoid an increasing frequency and severity of dangerous and unprecedented weather extremes, including heatwaves, devastating floods and droughts, risks to food and water security, population displacement, and loss of lives and livelihoods.

As governments start to define a pathway out of the COVID-19 crisis, we must now ensure that all countries have the chance to be part of an energy transition that seizes the opportunity to significantly improve the wellbeing of people, and planet.

This will not be an easy task. To ensure a just transition, we must support countries and communities to adapt to a green economy through social protection and new skills, ensuring all who need to be are equipped to take advantage of the 30 million new green jobs expected by 2030.

To generate the vital momentum needed for this transition, the UN Secretary-General is convening the High-Level Dialogue on Energy in September 2021, the first such meeting in 40 years. The landmark event will offer a global stage for countries to attract new investments and forge new impact focused partnerships to drive forward this energy revolution.

As a foundation for informed deliberations, five Technical Working Groups were established on the five key themes of the High-level Dialogue: (1) Energy Access, (2) Energy Transitions, (3) Enabling SDGs through Inclusive, Just Energy Transitions, (4) Innovation, Technology and Data, and (5) Finance and Investment. These Technical Working Groups brought together leading experts on these subjects from across the world to identify key recommendations for a global roadmap towards the achievement of SDG7 and the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement.