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A Message from Sustainable Energy for All - June 2019

Glenn Pearce-Oroz, Director of Policy and Programmes, SEforAll

Worldwide, 840 million people do not have access to electricity. Nearly three billion lack clean cooking options, turning instead to dirty fuels like charcoal and animal waste for cooking.

These energy access gaps in turn undercut our ability to achieve several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those tied to health, education, gender and climate. Put succinctly, energy is an enabler for human development, which is why the rapid achievement of SDG7 on affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all needs to happen well before 2030 so that other SDGs can also be achieved.

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) works with leaders in government, the private sector and civil society to drive further, faster action toward achievement of SDG7 and the Paris Agreement on climate change. In pushing for universal energy access, especially for marginalized and vulnerable groups, we advocate the pivotal role energy efficiency must play. Launching the Efficiency for Access Coalition in 2015 with the Global LEAP initiative was part of SEforALL’s broader efforts to ensure policy and investment frameworks target demand-side solutions in conjunction with developing renewable energy provision.

The Coalition represents a concerted effort to promote access to energy efficient appliances that will transform people’s lives. Energy efficiency is the cornerstone of the global sustainable energy transition and offers vast social and economic gains. It is our cheapest, easiest path to meeting the ambitions of the SDGs in accordance with the Paris Agreement. It is not just a developed, or “first-world” topic; ambitious energy efficiency measures can allow governments with energy access gaps, including for electricity and clean cooking solutions, to make better use of their energy capacities, and deliver modern services to all.

We know from our own research on sustainable cooling that 1.1 billion people worldwide face serious health risks because of a lack of refrigeration for food and vaccines or protection from extreme heat from appliances like fans. Meanwhile, switching to cooking solutions that run on clean energy can spare people (and the environment) harmful pollution generated by burning dirty fuels.

Lighting is essential for carrying out even routine health procedures, while life-saving medical equipment relies on reliable, ongoing power. Yet, tens of thousands of health centers across low- and middle-income countries lack electricity, with many more suffer from frequent and debilitating blackouts. Managing overall energy demands of health facilities through energy efficient appliances is essential for electrifying these facilities, whether on-grid or off-grid.

These are just some of the challenges that both SEforALL and the Efficiency for Access Coalition are working hard to address with an eye for the 2030 target date set out by the SDGs. As an initiative linked closely to SEforALL at its outset, we are proud to support and endorse the Efficiency for Access Coalition, particularly its efforts to reach those at the bottom of the pyramid who can benefit most from energy access and energy efficient appliances. The Coalition is an integral part of the broader sustainable energy movement and SEforALL looks forward to collaborating with its various partners and following its evolution in the years to come.