The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals are aimed at achieving equality, securing global peace and ending extreme poverty — an ambitious agenda that will require a wide-range of conditions to be met. But one requirement lies at the center of most of the SDGs: that people have access to clean, affordable energy, says a new study with Francesco Fuso Nerini, Assistant Professor in the Division of Energy Systems Analysis at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, as lead author.
By analyzing the SDGs and their related targets, researchers found that access to clean and affordable energy is at the heart of around two-thirds of these targets — ranging from ending discrimination against women to ending poverty.
The paper, published in Nature Energy, found that energy is central in achieving a peaceful and sustainable future.
“Access to food, clean water, sanitation, education, technology and healthcare are all underpinned by affordable and clean energy,” says Fuso Nerini. “For example, electricity access is needed in schools and homes in order for all girls and boys to have access to free, equitable and good-quality primary and secondary education.”
As UN member nations have committed to implement the goals by 2030, the research suggests that far greater emphasis should be placed on considering cross-sectoral dynamics between energy, water, food, gender and education when considering wider public policy goals.
The research was undertaken by the University College London Energy & Development group, a group of researchers and academics at UCL who work on issues related to energy in low and middle-income countries.