UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 7 is to ensure affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all by 2030. At the current rate of progress this target is not going to be met, according to new research from five leading international agencies. The good news though, is the report says it can still be achieved.

In the Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report ‘global, regional and country progress was assessed on ‘three targets of SDG7: access to energy and clean cooking, renewable energy and energy efficiency’. There are positives in the paper, with the number of people going without electricity dropping from 1.2 billion in 2010 to 840 million. The world’s most remote areas though, especially sub-saharan Africa, are being left behind, with 573 million in the region living in the dark. Without a rapid acceleration in efforts by 2030, there will still be 650 million with no electricity, and 9 out of 10 of them will be living in sub-Saharan Africa.

“This report shows the progress achieved so far on SDG7 using comprehensive data compiled by the five collaborating international agencies. Despite the advancements towards Goal 7, progress is insufficient to meet the 2030 Agenda’s energy-related goals and targets. This is especially true for developing countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing States. Moreover, gaps in official statistics abound for these countries, and they need investments in energy statistical systems to obtain better data to inform policy accurately and drive sustainable development,” said Stefan Schweinfest, Director, United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).


The report pinpoints key areas where action is needed, and highlights ‘best practices’ – that have been used successfully to help ‘policymakers and development partners understand what is needed to overcome challenges’.

“Renewable energy and energy efficiency are key to sustainable development, enabling energy access, spurring economic growth, creating employment and improving health. We can extend the energy transition to all countries and ensure that the benefits reach the most vulnerable communities. IRENA will strengthen engagement with our Membership and key partners to facilitate on-the-ground solutions to build a sustainable energy future for the benefits of all humankind,” added Francesco La Camera, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report was compiled by the International Energy Agency (IEA) the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO).