United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development



SDG 7 on Affordable and Clean Energy

In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include a dedicated and stand-alone goal on energy, SDG 7, calling to "ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all". Energy lies at the heart of both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all will open a new world of opportunities for millions of people through new economic opportunities and jobs, empowered women, children and youth, better education and health, more sustainable, equitable and inclusive communities, and greater protections from, and resilience to, climate change.

The Global Roadmap for Accelerated SDG 7 Action resulting from the High-level Dialogue on Energy 2021 provides a guide for collective action on energy across sectors that transcends individual and piecemeal approaches and delivers scaled-up and broad impact. It calls for action in five key areas: closing the energy access gap; rapidly transitioning to decarbonized energy systems; mobilizing adequate and predictable finance; leaving no one behind on the path to a net-zero future; and harnessing innovation, technology and data. Importantly, the Roadmap also includes two sets of milestones for 2025 and 2030.

Progress Towards SDG 7

While much progress has been made since 2015, the world is clearly not on track for the achievement of SDG 7: globally, 733 million people were still lacking access to electricity and 2.4 billion people did not have access to clean cooking fuels and technology in 2020. In terms of renewable energy, globally there were already close to three terawatts of renewable energy capacity in 2020, representing nearly 29% of all power generation, and renewables accounted for 82% of newly installed capacity that year. However, fossil fuels still made up about 60% of global power generation capacity. In addition, the current average annual rate of energy efficiency improvement must increase from the current 0.8% to 3.0%.

The Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals Report provides an overview of overall progress on the SDGs, while Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report assesses annually the progress made and provides a snapshot of how far we are from achieving SDG 7 specifically. Moreover, the annual SDG7 Policy Briefs provide a focus on energy’s interlinkages with other SDGs.

The Role of the United Nations


While there is no single entity in the United Nations system that has sole responsibility for energy, many of its agencies, bodies and programmes work extensively towards the achievement of SDG 7. Building on these efforts, UN-Energy is the United Nations’ mechanism for inter-agency collaboration in the field of energy. UN-Energy brings together some 30 organizations that are global leaders in their respective fields, covering together all aspects of energy and sustainable development. UN-Energy is co-chaired by Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP, and Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All. DESA serves as the Secretariat of UN-Energy.

UN-Energy seeks to support countries in achieving SDG7 and the interrelated goals of the Paris Climate Agenda and the broader SDG agenda. In May 2022, the UN-Energy Plan of Action Towards 2025 was launched to guide activities in the upcoming years, providing clarity, focus and expected deliverables that will enable UN-Energy to catalyse the implementation of the Global Roadmap for Accelerated SDG 7 Action in support of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. As part of this, UN-Energy launched the Energy Compact Action Network which provides a platform for the proponents of Energy Compacts in support of implementing their voluntary commitments of over $600 billion USD into SDG 7, and to mobilize further commitments.

DESA’s work on SDG 7

DESA supports Member States with secretariat services for their intergovernmental discussions on energy. This includes support to the General Assembly, in particular the Second Committee, the review of SDG 7 at the High-level Political Forum, and General Assembly mandated events such as the High-level Dialogue on Energy 2021 and the Global Stocktaking on SDG 7 Implementation to be held in 2024.

DESA also facilitates the provision of analysis on energy issues in support of the achievement of SDG 7. To this end, DESA convenes the SDG7 Technical Advisory Group which brings together multi-stakeholder experts from a broad range of institutions and all world regions to facilitate stocktaking of progress to-date and to provide technical advice. The Group is essential to the annual publication of the SDG7 Policy Briefs in support of the High-level Political Forum.

Moreover, DESA is actively engaged in capacity building on SDG 7, including through the Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Network. The goal of this multi-stakeholder Network is to provide a global platform for all stakeholders to enhance capacities and signal their high-level commitment on water-energy approaches and solutions. It supports the sharing of best practices, experiences and quality data, the strengthening of capacity building, the mobilization and scaling up multi-stakeholder action, and the enhancement of advocacy, communications and outreach.

Displaying 1 - 15 of 241
Displaying 1 - 15 of 522
Title Category Date
Australia Energy 1-May-2007
Brazil Energy 1-May-2007
Burundi Energy 1-May-2007
Denmark Energy 1-May-2007
Egypt Energy 1-May-2007
Group of 77 & China Energy 1-May-2007
Ghana Energy 1-May-2007
India Energy 1-May-2007
Indonesia Energy 1-May-2007
Japan Energy 1-May-2007
Kazakhstan Energy 1-May-2007
Mexico Energy 1-May-2007
Norway Energy 1-May-2007
Papua New Guinea Energy 1-May-2007
Republic of Korea Energy 1-May-2007


  • Held on 24 September 2021, the High-Level Dialogue on Energy was the first global gathering on energy under the auspices of the General Assembly since 1981. The Dialogue promoted the implementation of the energy-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by raising ambition and accelerating action. It resulted in the Global Roadmap for Accelerated SDG7 Action and Energy Compacts including more than 400 billion US Dollars in voluntary commitments.
  • On 10 July 2018, the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) conducted a review of SDG7 for the first time. The session brought together leading representatives from government, international organizations, and civil society to discuss progress and actions needed to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
  • January 2018 SDG 7 Conference
    A global SDG 7 meeting was held from 21 to 23 February 2018 in Bangkok, UN ESCAP. The Global SDG 7 conference was co-convened by UN DESA, UN ESCAP and the Ministry of Energy of Thailand. The conference brought together key stakeholders from Governments, UN system and other international organizations, the private sector, and civil society to engage in a dialogue that emphasized the integrated and cross-cutting nature of sustainable energy and its multiple roles in supporting the achievement of the SDGs. The conference was generously supported by Norway, Republic of Korea, China, Germany, The Netherlands, the European Commission, ENERGIA, and Hivos.
  • January 2015 SDG 7
    Sustainable Development Goal 7 aims to "Ensure access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all" ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services (7.1), increasing substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix (7.2), doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency (7.3), enhancing international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology (7.a) and expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology (7.b).
  • January 2014 UN Decade of SE4All
    The United Nations have been working together with stakeholders in order to develop a more coordinated plan of action at global level to ensure progress on sustainable energy for all. The United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024) represents a precious opportunity for all stakeholders to gather around a common platform to take further action and complement activities and synergies ensuring progress towards the overall objectives of sustainable energy for all.
  • Convened as a high-level meeting and organized by the UN SG Ban Ki-moon,the SE4All Forum marked the beginning of the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2024, including its initial two year focus on Energy for Women, Children, and Health. On the last day of the Forum, more than 60 delegations attended the High-Level Dialogue on Energy in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
  • Through the adoption of Resolution 65/151, the UN General Assembly established the year 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. This decision aimed at raising awareness about the importance of increasing sustainable access to energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy at local, national, regional and international levels. Furthermore, it focused on the impact that energy services have on other sectors such as productivity, health, education, climate change, food and water security, and communication services. .
  • Future We Want recognizes the crucial role that energy plays in the development process, emphasizes the need to address the challenge of access to sustainable modern energy services for all and recognizes that improving energy efficiency, increasing the share of renewable energy and cleaner and energy-efficient technologies are important for sustainable development.
  • January 2011 SE4All Initiative
    In September 2011, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched Sustainable Energy for All as a global initiative aimed at achieving sustainable energy for all by 2030 and able to mobilize action from all sectors of society in support of three interlinked objectives: providing universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
  • CSD-15 recognized that energy was crucial for sustainable development and poverty eradication. The Commission agreed on the need to further diversify energy supply by developing advanced, cleaner, more efficient, affordable and cost-effective energy technologies.