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Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report 2018

The world is not currently on track to meet Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), which calls for ensuring “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030. Current progress falls short on all four of the SDG7 targets, which encompass universal access to electricity as well as clean fuels and technologies for cooking, and call for a doubling of the rate of improvement of energy efficiency, plus a substantial increase in the share of renewables in the global energy mix.

While overall progress falls short on meeting all targets, real gains are being made in certain areas. Expansion of access to electricity in poorer countries has recently begun to accelerate, with progress overtaking population growth for the first time in sub-Saharan Africa. Energy efficiency continues to improve, driven by advances in the industrial sector. Renewable energy is making impressive gains in the electricity sector, although these are not being matched in transportation and heating – which together account for 80 percent of global energy consumption. Lagging furthest behind is access to clean cooking fuels and technologies – an area that has been typically overlooked by policymakers. Use of traditional cooking fuels and technologies among a large proportion of the world’s population has serious and widespread negative health, environmental, climate and social impacts.

More encouraging than global trends, however, are the strong performances evident within specific countries, across both the developed and developing worlds. These national experiences provide valuable lessons for other countries, and evidence is mounting that with holistic approaches, targeted policies and international support, substantial gains can be made in clean energy and energy access that will improve the lives of millions of people.

The Energy Progress Report provides a global dashboard on progress towards SDG7. The report is a joint effort of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO), which the United Nations (UN) has named as global custodian agencies, responsible for collecting and reporting on country-by-country energy indicators for reporting on SDG7. This report tracks global, regional and country progress on the four targets of SDG7: energy access (electricity; clean fuels and technologies for cooking), renewable energy and energy efficiency, based on statistical indicators endorsed by the UN.

The report updates progress with the latest available data up to 2016 for energy access, and 2015 for clean energy, against a baseline year of 2010. A longer historical period back to 1990 is also provided by way of reference. The Energy Progress Report is a successor to the earlier Global Tracking Framework (published in 2013, 2015 and 2017), which was co-led by the IEA and World Bank under the auspices of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative, and builds on the same methodological foundation.

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