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World Off Track On Energy Sustainable Goals Says Report :: Uganda Radionetwork
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World Off Track On Energy Sustainable Goals Says Report

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Up to 2.3 billion people still use polluting fuels and technologies for cooking, largely in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
06 Jun 2023 17:27
One of the abandoned heaps of charcoal being set ablaze in Acholi. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics(UBOS) in 2021 found that charcoal’s urban energy primacy has persisted, providing the primary energy for up to 80% of Kampala’s population. Credit Carol


The world is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 for energy by 2030 as the clock ticks halfway towards the 2030 development agenda.     

A new report finds that mounting debt and rising energy prices are worsening the outlook for reaching universal access to clean cooking and electricity.        

The report was released 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) on Tuesday.Uganda is among the countries majority of whose populations still depend on dirty energy sources for cooking.

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics(UBOS) in 2021 found that charcoal’s urban energy primacy has persisted, providing the primary energy for up to 80% of Kampala’s population.UBOS also found that charcoal, wood, and other forms of biomass together provide more than 90% of the total primary energy consumed in Uganda, with electricity contributing 2% and petroleum 10%.

The Ministry of Energy in 2020 found that even in the industrial sector, , biomass energy is more than ten times the electrical energy used and approximately six times petroleum.

Projections estimate that 1.9 billion people will be without clean cooking and 660 million without electricity access in 2030 if we do not take further action and continue with current efforts.

Those gaps according to the report will negatively impact the health of our most vulnerable populations and accelerate climate change.

According to WHO, 3.2 million people die each year from illnesses caused by the use of polluting fuels and technologies, which increase exposure to toxic levels of household air pollution.

The Director-General, World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there is a need to protect the next generation by acting now. 

“Investing in clean and renewable solutions to support universal energy access is how we can make real change. Clean cooking technologies in homes and reliable electricity in healthcare facilities can play a crucial role in protecting the health of our most vulnerable populations.”

SDG 7 strives to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy by 2030.  

The goal includes reaching universal access to electricity and clean cooking, doubling historic levels of efficiency improvements, and substantially increasing the share of renewables in the global energy mix.

  Attaining this goal will have a deep impact on people’s health and well-being, helping to protect them from environmental and social risks such as air pollution, and expanding access to primary health care and services.

The 2023 edition of Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report warns that current efforts are not enough to achieve the SDG 7 on time.

There has been some progress on specific elements of the SDG 7 agenda – for example, the increased rate of using renewables in the power sector – but progress is insufficient to reach the targets set forth in the SDGs.      

The global energy crisis is expected to stimulate the deployment of renewables and improve energy efficiency with several government policies pointing to increasing investment.      

However, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates show that international public financial flows in support of clean energy in low- and middle-income countries have been decreasing since before the COVID-19 pandemic and funding is limited to a small number of countries. 

Francesco La Camera, Director-General of, International Renewable Energy Agency said cost-competitive renewable energy has yet again demonstrated remarkable resilience, but the poorest in the world are still largely unable to fully benefit from it.        

“To realise SDG7 without compromising climate goals, we must bring about systemic change in the way international cooperation works. It is crucial that multilateral financial institutions direct financial flows more equitably around the world to support renewables deployment and related physical infrastructure development.” Francesco La Camera said        

The report suggests that to meet SDG 7 targets and to ensure that people fully benefit from the socio-economic gains of the shift to sustainable energy, it is necessary to structurally reform international public finance and define new opportunities to unlock investments.   

Key findings of the report  

In 2010, 84% of the world’s population had access to electricity. This increased to 91% in 2021, meaning more than a billion people gained access over that period. However, the growth pace of access slowed in 2019–2021 compared to previous years. Rural electrification efforts contributed to this progress, but a large gap within urban areas remains.   

In 2021, 567 million people in sub-Saharan Africa did not have access to electricity, accounting for more than 80% of the global population without access. The access deficit in the region stayed almost the same as in 2010. Up to 2.3 billion people still use polluting fuels and technologies for cooking, largely in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

The use of traditional biomass also means households spend up to 40 hours a week gathering firewood and cooking, which prohibits women from pursuing employment or participating in local decision-making bodies and children from going to school.  

According to the 2019 WHO estimates, 3.2 million premature deaths each year were attributable to household air pollution created by using polluting fuels and technologies for cooking. 

The report will be presented to top decision-makers at a special launch event on 11 July 2023 at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, ahead of the second SDG Summit in September 2023 in New York.

The authors urge the international community and policymakers to safeguard the gains made toward achieving SDG 7, to advance structural reforms, and to maintain a strategic focus on the vulnerable countries needing the most support.