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Policy Brief / Universal Access to Energy

Sustainable development goal number 7 : how to set appropriate targets, organise an appropriate monitoring, and reach universal access to energy

Author(s): RANCI Pippo

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ABSTRACT

Highlights

  • In September 2015 the United Nations Assembly established an Agenda 2030 made of 17 Sustainable Development Goals to fight poverty and promote human development.
  • SDG number 7 recites: “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. For SDG 7, as well as for the other SDGs, a system of targets and indicators has been set, to allow monitoring the steps toward the goals.
  • There is one main unsolved problem with Goal 7, and with other Goals. Responsibility for progress has been set at the country level, and monitoring is mainly national. The most difficult task lies in low income countries, where governments do not have sufficient resources to reach the goals by themselves, and even monitoring is weak.
  • International cooperation is included in the system of targets and indicators, yet mostly in qualitative terms; official development aid is the main variable, directly related to the Goal, that can be measured and for which responsibility is assigned.
  • We know from reliable sources that Goal number 7 is not being met and that it is highly likely that the problem will remain beyond the year 2030.
  • A special effort is required. Monitored action should be much broader than official aid. As in the case of climate policies, targets cannot be imposed on independent states and, were they set, no credible system of sanctions would make them mandatory.
  • New ways to pursue the Goal must be found. A possible solution lies in a set of voluntary commitments plus transparency and reporting obligations, similar to the one introduced in the Paris COP 21 for climate policy. It could allow inclusion of the private sector, partner in the Global Compact, into a joint responsibility mechanism.