United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Bulgaria and Croatia

Talking points on energy
(OWG on SDGs, 26 November 2013)

It is already widely recognized that energy issues are more relevant than ever since they affect the economy, the security and shape national political and developmental strategies.
Energy is a missing MDG and the United Nations has acknowledged that gap. At Rio+20 Member States expressed their determination “to act to make sustainable energy for all a reality, through this, help to eradicate poverty and lead to sustainable development and global prosperity”. Momentum is growing. Many countries and regions such as Africa, European Union, and SIDS have endorsed the SE4All as a political priority. Furthermore the UNGA declared 2014-2024 the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for all. Overall, a picture emerges where energy is central both to achieving the MDGs in the years to come and to realizing sustainable development in the future.
As we have agreed in Rio the post 2015 development agenda should be holistic, genuinely universal in nature, and should find ways to ensure real results. In fact, energy is one example for the interrelatedness of the three dimensions of sustainable development. It is the thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity and an environment that allows the planet to thrive. Addressing energy issues we address most of the global challenges we face today: poverty eradication, food security, clean water, public health, education, economic growth, climate change, etc.
Establishing universal energy access is a precondition for poverty eradication and equitable, inclusive economic growth. Increasing the use of renewable energy can dramatically reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, also reduce the dependency of the countries on fossil fuels and thus improves energy security and forms the basis of a future low-carbon economy. Innovative technological solutions can be used in achieving energy efficiency and building green economy models. The transfer of technologies can be a useful tool for poverty eradication and sustainable development.
Improving the energy efficiency is one of the most effective ways to accelerate transition toward a sustainable energy system. An enhanced energy efficiency can also offer significant investment opportunities for private and public sectors both in developed and in developing countries.
At the same time, we need to take into account the impacts that the energy policy has on natural resources and related climate change concerns. Thus, making energy part of the post 2015 development agenda we should provide guidance on how energy production can be made more sustainable. Here it comes the role of the good international energy governance that will lead to sustainability, affordability and security of energy supplies.
Sustainability requires adequate funding that most countries in need of development don’t have. Innovative and flexible funding mechanisms are urgently required in the energy framework.
The structure and the way energy should be integrated in the new development goals must be discussed and carefully evaluated in order to find the best formulation of targets that serve both developing and developed countries in the context of the universality of the SDGs.