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A report from the UN Secretary-General sets the stage for an upcoming high-level event on sustainable energy. It notes the need for more momentum towards universal energy access and a decarbonized, climate-resilient energy system in order to deliver on SDG 7 and many other aspects of the 2030 Agenda. 

The report titled, ‘Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’ (A/76/206), is issued annually to review progress towards SDG 7 and efforts to accelerate progress. The 2021 report explains what is needed in five areas: access to electricity, access to clean cooking solutions, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and means of implementation. It also reviews the state of SDG 7 progress in each region of the world and in the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS).

Looking towards the UN’s High-level Dialogue on Energy on 24 September 2021, the report explains the preparations that have taken place. Preparations have included:

  • Five theme reports prepared by technical working groups, which present recommendations to be included in a global road map for achieving SDG 7 and net zero emissions;
  • Ministerial forums held in June 2021, drawing on the theme reports; a summary of the forum discussions will be issued and serve to inform the high-level dialogue by presenting elements of the global road map;
  • Creation of energy compacts from the private sector and other stakeholders, focused on mobilizing voluntary action. Over 25 compacts were showcased during the ministerial thematic forums, including a USD 1 billion platform announced by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ikea Foundation to scale up energy access for 1 billion people through renewables. Compacts will continue to be encouraged until the Dialogue. The compacts will be tracked on an online platform.
  • Online stakeholder consultations: The Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) organized a series of online consultations with stakeholders to seek input for the preparatory process for the high-level dialogue on energy. 

The Dialogue will be convened by the Secretary-General at the summit level; it will be the first global gathering on energy under the auspices of the UN General Assembly in 40 years. It aims to mobilize worldwide action on SDG 7 and net zero emissions in support of achieving poverty eradication and other Goals.

According to the Secretary-General’s report, a global stocktaking should be convened by the end of 2023 to review the global plan of action for the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024), in light of the outcomes of the September 2021 energy summit. [Publication: Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all: Report of the Secretary-General] [All SDG Knowledge Hub coverage of preparations for high-level dialogue]

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