Access to affordable modern energy services may not be a Millennium Development Goal (MDG) but without it, sustainable development, indeed the MDGs themselves, cannot be achieved. Yet energy access remains an area of great global inequity.
On one hand, wealthy countries and communities consume vast amounts of often subsidised energy resources every day. On the other hand, 1-in-5 people lives with no access to grid electricity, and around 40 per cent of the world’s population (nearly three billion people) lack the technologies to make cooking fuels clean, safe and efficient. This briefing discusses whether the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative in 2012 can redress the balance. Perhaps, but only if it puts improving the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable at the heart of its efforts.