Sustainable Energy at the Heart of the Next Development Agenda

By: Tim Wirth

Among the international development goals proposed by the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda is that of “Securing Sustainable Energy,” including 2030 targets on ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement of energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. These three objectives, initially put forward in 2011 by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon under the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, are a welcome component of the report, as they are essential for eliminating extreme poverty and achieving a sustainable future.

While energy was not mentioned in the Millennium Development Goals established in 2000, it is widely recognized that  sustainable access to modern energy services is a necessary precondition to reducing poverty and improving health and education – indeed, to all of the MDGs. That’s why some have called energy “the missing MDG,” and why I am encouraged to see energy featured so prominently in conversations leading to the post-2015 development framework.

Read more