Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy
Target 7.1 By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
Indicator 7.1.1: Proportion of population with access to electricity
Indicator 7.1.2: Proportion of population with primary reliance on clean fuels and technology
Target 7.2 By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
Indicator 7.2.1: Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption
Target 7.3 By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
Indicator 7.3.1: Energy intensity measured in terms of primary energy and GDP
Target7.A By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology
Indicator 7.A.1: International financial flows to developing countries in support of clean energy research and development and renewable energy production, including in hybrid systems
Target 7.B By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support
Indicator 7.B.1: Investments in energy efficiency as a proportion of GDP and the amount of foreign direct investment in financial transfer for infrastructure and technology to sustainable development services
Where to find data?
The Energy Progress Report is a joint report of the Custodian Agencies – 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).
The Energy Progress Report provides the international community with a global dashboard to register progress on the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 7: ensuring universal energy access, doubling progress on energy efficiency and substantially increasing the share of renewable energy by 2030. It assesses the progress made by each country on these three targets and provides a snapshot of how far we are from achieving SDG7. The 2019 release is the fifth edition of this report, which was formerly known as the Global Tracking Framework (GTF).
SDG 10 calls for reducing inequalities in income as well as those based on sex, age, disability, race, class, ethnicity, religion and opportunity – both within and among countries.
The international community has made significant strides towards lifting people out of poverty. The most vulnerable nations – the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries and the small island developing states – continue to make inroads into poverty reduction. However, inequality persists and large disparities remain regarding access to health and education services and other assets.
There is growing consensus that economic growth is not sufﬁcient to reduce poverty if it is not inclusive and if it does not involve the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.
Fortunately, income inequality has been reduced both between and within countries. At the current time, the per capita income of 60 out of 94 countries with data has risen more rapidly than the national average.
To reduce inequality, policies should be universal in principle, paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations. An increase in duty-free treatment and continuation of favoring exports from developing countries could be helpful, in addition to increasing the share of developing countries’ votes within the IMF. Finally, innovations in technology can help reduce the cost of transferring money for migrant workers.
Target 10.1 seeks to ensure that income growth among the poorest 40% of the population in every country is more rapid than its national average. This was true in 56 of 94 countries with data available from 2007 to 2012.
This was especially true in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Asia, where 88% and 67% of countries, respectively, saw gains for the poorest 40% of households. That said, faster growth for the poorest does not necessarily imply greater prosperity, since nine of the 56 countries experienced negative income growth rates over this period.
Reducing inequality requires transformative change. Greater efforts are needed to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, and invest more in health, education, social protection and decent jobs especially for young people, migrants and other vulnerable communities.
Labour share of GDP
The labour share of GDP, which represents the proportion of wages and social protection transfers in an economy, provides an aggregate measure of primary income inequality.
The share of GDP that is attributed to labour has been trending downward over the past 15 years as processes have become more mechanized and capital assumes a growing share of GDP. While the labour share of GDP fell from almost 58% in 2000 to just over 55% in 2015 for developed regions, developing regions experienced a slight improvement to 55%. Stagnating wages across all regions contributed significantly to these results.
Over this period, the labour share of GDP only increased in Oceania and Latin America and the Caribbean, where it was at 48 and 52%, respectively in 2015. Eastern Asia saw a flat growth of labour share of GDP and continues to maintain the highest share in the world at 61.4% of GDP.
What does this mean and what does this look like?
In economic research regarding global inequality, the year 2013 brought to life a graph which became known as the “elephant graph”.
The chart uses World Bank data to show how income was distributed globally from 1988 to 2008. The paper from the researchers Christoph Lakner and Branko Milanovic included this chart that represents the global population (on the x-axis where the number 100 indicates 100% of the population) and the growth of income per percentile (on the y-axis where income growth reached a high of 80% in some cases).
This means that several groups of people experienced an important growth in their income, but also a decline in the 70 to 80 percentile and very little growth in the 80 to 90 percentile. This is basically due to the fact that the global middle class increased, in particular people in East Asia (especially China) and South Asia (especially India), and that in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa people finally escaped extreme poverty. Another reason is the increase in income among the ultrarich, who live mainly in rich countries in Europe or North America.
The data analyzed in this chart finished in the year 2008, so in the year 2018 a team of economic researches published the World Inequality Report to update this graph, taking into account the years 1980-2016. But it stopped looking like an elephant and was dubbed as the “Loch Ness monster”.
What exactly is the difference? If you compare the two graphs, you will see that in this second case the growth rate only reaches a 40% increase among most income groups, thus showing less increase for most of the global population. But the elephant trunk has now become Nessie’s neck, which means that there is an even higher concentration of economic growth in the top 1%.
There are different reasons behind this change in appearance, however, we should use this graph to remind us that the incomes of the world’s richest people have grown much more than any other population group in recent decades, and, that still, in absolute terms, the bottom half of the world’s income distribution has increased enormously.
You can revisit the posts for SDG 9 or SDG 7 where these differences can be observed in the different lifestyles in Puerto Rico and Papua New Guinea.
The overall goal of SDG 7 is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Be it for jobs, security, climate change, food production or increasing incomes, access to energy for all is essential.
Working towards this goal is especially important as it interlinks with other Sustainable Development Goals on which SDG 7 can have a direct impact on improvement. Focusing on universal access to energy, increased energy efficiency and the increased use of renewable energy through new economic and job opportunities is crucial to creating more sustainable and inclusive communities and resilience to environmental issues like climate change.
Currently there are approximately 3 billion people who lack access to clean cooking solutions and are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution. Additionally, slightly less than 1 billion people are functioning without electricity and 50% of them are found in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. Fortunately, progress has been made in the past decade regarding the use of renewable electricity from water, solar and wind power and the ratio of energy used per unit of GDP is also declining.
The global challenge however is far from being solved and there needs to be more access to clean fuel and technology and more progress needs to be made regarding integrating renewable energy into end-use applications in buildings, transport and industry. An important focus are regulatory frameworks and innovative business models that will contribute to transforming the world’s energy systems.
Access to electricity
The proportion of the global population with access to electricity increased steadily, from 79% in 2000 to 85% in 2012. Recent progress was driven largely by advancements in Southern Asia, South-Eastern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Despite these improvements, 1.1 billion people are still without this essential service. In particular, over 65% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa are living without electricity. Of those gaining access to electricity worldwide since 2010, the vast majority (80%) are urban dwellers.
From 2005 to 2014, the proportion of the global population with access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking, such as gas and electricity, increased from 54% to 58%. Advancements have been slow in some regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where access remains very low.
Limited progress since 2010 falls substantially short of global population growth and is almost exclusively confined to urban areas. As a result, the absolute number of people relying on polluting fuels and technologies, such as solid fuels and kerosene, for cooking has actually increased, reaching an estimated 3 billion people.
What does this mean and what does this look like?
As can be seen on the graph above Oceania is a region where access to electricity and clean cooking fuels can still be improved. Among the countries with low rates is Papua New Guinea. It is an extremely geographically diverse part of the world with beautiful coral reefs and beaches, as well as rainforest and mountains and is one of the least densely populated countries in the world.
The proportion of Papua New Guinea‘s population with access to electricity increased from 11% in 1996 to 54.43% in 2017, with stark differences between urban and rural areas. And only 12 % of the population relied primarily on clean fuels and technology.
Now, the country’s western extremity is located along the border to Indonesia as can be seen on the following image. And in Indonesia (in green), the figures are quite different.
There the proportion of the population with access to electricity reached 98.14% in 2017 and 65% of the population relied primarily on clean fuels and technology.
Differences that can also be observed depending on who is telling the story and what the aim of this story is. When it comes to the SDGs, there is still much to be done, but when we look at Papua New Guinea as a country rich in culture and magical landscapes, we might forget its challenges and just take it for heaven on earth.
Both realities coexist, but if we really want to achieve Sustainable Development, we should find a way of combining both realities to ensure wellbeing for all.