International Year of Sustainable Energy for All
"Expanding access to affordable, clean energy is critical for realizing
the MDGs and enabling sustainable development."
-Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
The Challenge and the Goal
Access to clean and affordable modern energy is critical to fostering lasting social and economic development and to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Worldwide, some 2.7 billion people rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating, and 1.4 billion have no access to electricity, with one billion more having access only to unreliable electricity networks.
The lack of modern energy services stifles income-generating activities and hampers the provision of basic services such as health care and education. In addition, smoke from polluting and inefficient cooking, lighting, and heating devices kills nearly two million women and young children prematurely every year and causes a range of chronic illnesses and other health impacts. Black carbon emissions from these devices worsen global climate change, and foraging for fuel contributes to deforestation.
In response, the Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change – composed of global business leaders and heads of UN agencies – has called on the United Nations and its member countries to commit themselves to ensuring universal access to modern energy services by 2030. UN-Energy a collaboration of 20 UN agencies will lead the effort.
Why Energy Matters