Energy and the Sustainable Development Goals

From energypedia


'Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' was adopted at the UN Summit for Sustainable Development on 25 September 2015. The agenda includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets that the world committed to achieving by 2015.

In the Preamble of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development it is stated:

"This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development."[1]

UN Sustainable Development Goals.jpg

Key Facts

  • Valid from 1.1.2016-31.12.2030
  • 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 targets and 232 indicators[2]
  • Universal goals and targets, which involve the entire world, developed and developing countries alike. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development (social, environment, economic). => each country needs to integrate the SDGs into its policies and formulate implementation strategies.
  • The UN has conducted the largest consultation programme in its history to obtain opinion on what the SDGs should include.

Indicator Development and Global Reporting Mechanism

Indicator Tiers

Based on their level of methodological development and overall data availability, the indicators are grouped into three different tiers:[3]

  • A first tier for indicators which are conceptually clear, where an established methodology and standards exist. Data are regularly produced by countries for at least 50% of countries and of the population in all regions where the indicator is relevant (Tier I); As of July 2020, Tier I contains 123 indicators.[3]
  • A second tier for indicators which are conceptually clear, with established methodology and standards, but data are not regularly produced by countries (Tier II); As of July 2020, Tier II contains 106 indicators. 2 indicators have multiple tiers.[3]
  • A third tier for which an internationally agreed methodology or standards are not yet available but will be / are being developed (Tier III).[3]


Data collection and reporting will be carried out as follows:[4]

  • Countries will provide their national data and metadata to international agencies, coordinated by the national statistical office, and facilitated as appropriate, by regional mechanisms;
  • International agencies will provide global and regional aggregates and accompanying metadata to UNSD for use in the annual progress report and inclusion in the SDG indicator database;
  • International agencies will provide country level data and accompanying metadata to UNSD for inclusion in a SDG indicator database, which will be used during the preparation of the annual SDG progress report.

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SDG 7 on Energy in Detail

Goal 7

With SDG 7, energy is finally being recognized as a key enabler for development. Universal access to energy, a higher share of renewable energy and massive improvements in energy efficiency are now part of the top global priorities for sustainable development in the years to come.

Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all[5]

  • 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
      (“Clean” is defined by the emission rate targets and specific fuel recommendations included in the normative guidance WHO guidelines for indoor air quality: household fuel combustion)[6].
  • 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
  • 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
  • 7.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
  • 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: Installed renewable energy-generating capacity in developing countries (in watts per capita)

For results worldwide and more details on the methodologies for tracking SDG 7 check the SDG 7 tracking homepage of World Bank / ESMAP.

Progress of Goal 7 in 2016

The following points are retrieved from the Report of the Secretary-General, "Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals", E/2016/75.[7]

  • Energy is crucial for achieving almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals, from its role in the eradication of poverty through advancements in health, education, water supply and industrialization, to combating climate change.
  • The proportion of the global population with access to electricity has increased steadily, from 79 per cent in 2000 to 85 per cent in 2012. Still, 1.1 billion people are without this valuable service. Recent global progress in this area has been driven largely by Asia, where access is expanding at more than twice the pace of demographic growth. Of those gaining access to electricity worldwide since 2010, 80 per cent are urban dwellers.
  • The proportion of the world’s population with access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking increased from 51 per cent in 2000 to 58 per cent in 2014, although there has been limited progress since 2010. The absolute number of people relying on polluting fuels and technologies for cooking, such as solid fuels and kerosene, however, has actually increased, reaching an estimated three billion people. Limited progress since 2010 falls substantially short of global population growth and is almost exclusively confined to urban areas.
  • The share of renewable energy (derived from hydropower, solid and liquid biofuels, wind, the sun, biogas, geothermal and marine sources, and waste) in the world’s total final energy consumption has increased slowly, from 17.4 per cent in 2000 to 18.1 per cent in 2012. More telling is the fact that modern renewable energy consumption, which excludes solid biofuels used for traditional purposes, grew rapidly, at a rate of 4 per cent a year between 2010 and 2012, and accounted for 60 per cent of all new power-generating capacity in 2014. In absolute terms, about 72 per cent of the increase in energy consumption from modern renewable sources between 2010 and 2012 came from developing regions, mostly from Eastern Asia. The technologies making the largest contribution have been hydropower, wind and solar energy; together they account for 73 per cent of the total increase in modern renewable energy between 2010 and 2012.
  • Energy intensity, calculated by dividing total primary energy supply by GDP, reveals how much energy is used to produce one unit of economic output. Globally, energy intensity decreased by 1.7 per cent per year from 2010 to 2012. This represents a considerable improvement over the period from 1990 to 2010, when it decreased by 1.2 per cent a year. As a result, global energy intensity, which stood at 6.7 (millijoules (mJ) per 2011 United States dollar ppp) in 2000 fell to 5.7 by 2012. The proportion of the world’s energy use covered by mandatory energy efficiency regulation, which has almost doubled over the past decade, from 14 per cent in 2005 to 27 per cent in 2014, was a factor. Still, current progress is only about two thirds of the pace needed to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency. Among end-use sectors, industry was the largest contributor to reduced energy intensity, followed closely by transportation. About 68 per cent of the savings in energy intensity between 2010 and 2012 came from developing regions, with Eastern Asia as the largest contributor.[7]

Progress of Goal 7 in 2017

The following points are retrieved from the Report of the Secretary-General, "Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals", E/2017/66.[8]

Progress in every area of sustainable energy falls short of what is needed to achieve energy access for all and to meet targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Meaningful improvements will require higher levels of financing and bolder policy commitments, together with the willingness of countries to embrace new technologies on a much wider scale.

  • Globally, 85.3 per cent of the population had access to electricity in 2014, an increase of only 0.3 percentage points since 2012. That means that 1.06 billion people, predominantly rural dwellers, still function without electricity. Half of those people live in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking climbed to 57.4 per cent in 2014, up slightly from 56.5 per cent in 2012. More than 3 billion people, the majority of them in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, are still cooking without clean fuels and more efficient technologies.
  • The share of renewable energy in final energy consumption grew modestly from 2012 to 2014, from 17.9 per cent to 18.3 per cent. Most of the increase was from renewable electricity from water, solar and wind power. Solar and wind power still make up a relatively minor share of energy consumption, despite their rapid growth in recent years. The challenge is to increase the share of renewable energy in the heat and transport sectors, which together account for 80 per cent of global energy consumption.
  • From 2012 to 2014, three quarters of the world’s 20 largest energy-consuming countries had reduced their energy intensity — the ratio of energy used per unit of GDP. The reduction was driven mainly by greater efficiencies in the industry and transport sectors. However, that progress is still not sufficient to meet the target of doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.[8]

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Progress of Goal 7 in 2018

The following points are retrieved from the Report of the Secretary-General 2018: Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.[9]

Ensuring access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all has come one step closer due to recent progress in electrification, particularly in LDCs, and improvements in industrial energy efficiency. However, national priorities and policy ambitions still need to be strengthened to put the world on track to meet the energy targets for 2030.

  • From 2000 to 2016, the proportion of the global population with access to electricity increased from 78 per cent to 87 per cent, with the absolute number of people living without electricity dipping to just below 1 billion.
  • Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking has gradually improved, to reach 59 per cent globally in 2016, up 10 percentage points since 2000. Even with this progress, 3 billion people are still cooking with polluting fuel and stove combinations. Key barriers to increased access include high user costs for many of the cleaner cooking solutions, limited infrastructure, lack of consumer awareness of the benefits of clean cooking and limited financing for producers seeking to enter the clean fuel and stove markets.
  • Renewable energy consumption increased to 17.5 per cent in 2015, up slightly from 17.3 per cent in 2014 as the growth in renewables outpaced the growth in overall energy consumption. Most of the increase came from bioenergy and the continued expansion of wind and solar energy, driven by falling costs and policy support.
  • Global energy intensity decreased by 2.8 per cent in 2015 from 2014, double the rate of improvement seen from 1990 to 2010. To reach the Sustainable Development Goal target, global energy intensity needs to improve at an annual rate of 2.7 per cent over the period 2016–2030, necessitating a significant ramp-up in global policy ambition to keep up the momentum. [9]

Progress of Goal 7 in 2019

The following points are copied from the Report of the Secretary-General on SDG Progress 2019[10].

Access to electricity in the poorest countries has begun to accelerate, energy efficiency continues to improve and renewable energy is making gains in electricity sector. Despite this progress, some 800 million people remain without electricity while access to clean cooking fuels and technologies needs dedicated attention. In addition, if Sustainable Development Goals 7, 13 and related Goals are to be met, much higher levels of ambition are required with regard to renewable energy, including transportation and heating.

  • The global electrification rate rose from 83 per cent in 2010 to 87 per cent in 2015, with the increase accelerating to reach 89 per cent in 2017. However, some 840 million people around the world are still without access to electricity.
  • The global share of the population with access to clean cooking fuels and technologies reached 61 per cent in 2017, up from 57 per cent in 2010. Despite this progress, close to 3 billion people still rely primarily on inefficient and polluting cooking systems.
  • The renewable energy share of total final energy consumption gradually increased from 16.6 per cent in 2010 to 17.5 per cent in 2016, though much faster change is required to meet climate goals. Even though the absolute level of renewable energy consumption has grown by more than 18 per cent since 2010, only since 2012 has the growth of renewables outpaced the growth of total energy consumption.
  • Global primary energy intensity (ratio of energy used per unit of GDP) improved from 5.9 in 2010 to 5.1 in 2016, a rate of improvement of 2.3 per cent, which is still short of the 2.7 per cent annual rate needed to reach target 3 of Sustainable Development Goal 7.
  • International financial flows to developing countries in support of clean and renewable energy reached $18.6 billion in 2016, almost doubling from $9.9 billion in 2010.[10]

For more details on tracking SDG 7 see The World Bank (2019): "2019 Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report"

Progress of Goal 7 in 2020

The following points are copied from the Report of the Secretary-General on SDG Progress 2020.[11]

The world is making good progress on increasing access to electricity and improving energy efficiency. However, still millions of people around the world lack access to electricity and progress on access to clean cooking fuels and technologies is too slow. The COVID-19 pandemic spotlights the need for reliable and affordable electricity to health centres. However, a survey conducted in selected developing countries showed that one quarter of the health facilities surveyed were not electrified and another quarter reported unscheduled outages affecting their capacity to deliver essential health services. All these facts further weaken the health system response to the current health crisis. 

  • The global electrification rate rose from 83% in 2010 to 90% by 2018. Latin America and the Caribbean and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia maintained strong progress, exceeding 98% access by 2018. Conversely, the world’s deficit is increasingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa where around548 million, or 53% of its population, lack access to electricity.
  • Access toclean cooking fuels and technologies increased to 63% in 2018, from 60% in 2015 and 56% in 2010. Still, 2.8 billion people lack such access and rely primarily on inefficient and 12 polluting cooking systems. Because of a stagnant rate and fast population growth, in sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people without access to clean fuels for cooking increased
  • The renewable energy share of total final energy consumption gradually increased from 16.3% in 2010 to 17.0% in 2015 and 17.3% in 2017. Much faster growth is required to meet long-term climate goals.
  • Global primary energy intensity (energy used per unit of GDP) improved by 2.2% annually, from 5.2 in 2015 to 5.0 in 2017, a rate still short of the 2.7% annual rate needed to reach SDG target 7.3.
  • International financial flows to developing countries in support of clean and renewable energy reached $21.4 billion in 2017, 13% more than in 2016, and a two-fold increase from flows committed in 2010. Hydropower projects received 46% of 2017 flows, while solar projects received 19%, wind 7% and geothermal 6%.

Progress of Goal 7 in 2023

The following points are copied from the report Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report 2023. See: IEA, IRENA, UNSD, World Bank, WHO. 2023. Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report.[12]

The world is not on track to achieve any of the SDG7 targets.

In 2021:

  • 675 million people still lacked access to electricity. Of those, 567 million people lived in Sub-Saharan Africa – accounting for more than 80% of the global population without access. At the current rate of progress, 660 million people are projected to still lack access to electricity in 2030
  • 2.3 billion people lacked access to clean cooking, largely in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. At the current rate of progress, 1.9 billion people would continue to rely on polluting cooking fuels in 2030.
  • Renewable energy deployment has risen significantly in the power sector, growing by around 27 percent in 2010-2020 and 7 percent in 2019-2020 – the largest annual growth recorded over the past three decades.
  • The share of renewable sources in total final energy consumption reached 19.1 percent globally in 2020, compared to 16.7% in 2010. However, current progress is insufficient and renewable energy deployment must accelerate considerably – particularly in heat and transport.
  • Progress in energy efficiency measures is also off track, with only a 0.6% rate of improvement in 2021. Energy intensity must improve at no less than 3.4 percent annually from now until 2030 to make up for the shortfall.
  • International public financial flows to developing countries to support clean energy decreased for the third year running, amounting to USD 10.8 billion in 2021. This is only about 40% of the 2017 peak of USD 26.4 billion.

Energy and its contribution to the achievement of other SDGs

Energy access, renewable energy, energy efficiency and other energy-related issues are contributing directly or indirectly to the achievement of almost all other SDGs by facilitating and enabling relevant development processes.

Besides SDG 7, however, energy is only mentioned explicitly in Goal 12 on sustainable consumption (see below in the table). This means governments will have to report on it.
In previous framework versions, Goal 4 had an indicator 4.a.1 which stated i.a. the "Proportion of schools with access to: (a) electricity (...)"[13] However, this indicator is no longer entailed in the 2020 Global Indicator Framework. The following list shows to which goals or indicators energy contributes. It is not necessarily comprehensive, so feel free to add further goals and indicators where energy plays a role in achieving them.

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Goal 1

SDG Icons-01.jpg

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Relevance of energy

1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day

1.1.1 Proportion of the population below the international poverty line, disaggregated by sex, age
group, employment status and geographical location.

Production and commercialisation of efficient stoves as well as the rise of the renewable energy sector (e.g. sale, installation and services of solar panels, pico PV lamps etc) create jobs and small businesses, leading to income generation for both women and men.

Furthermore, families save money and time due to reduced fuel demand for cooking and lighting.

Access to energy services is a pre-requisite for economic development and makes entrepreneurial activities beyond daylight hours possible.

1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

1.2.1 Proportion of the population living below the national poverty line, disaggregated by sex an age group

1.2.2 Proportion of men, women and children of all
ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according
to national definitions

1.4 By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance

1.4.1 Proportion of the population living in households with access to basic services

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Goal 2

Goal 2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

Although there is no mention of energy in targets or in indicators, energy plays a vital role to ending hunger, improving nutrition and increasing agricultural productivity in a sustainable way.



Relevance of energy

2.1: By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round

2.1.1 Prevalence of undernourishment
2.1.2 Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population, based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)

95% of staple food needs to be cooked before they can be eaten[14]. Not only in humanitarian settings like refugee camps the supply with sufficient cooking fuels is of high relevance to enable people to prepare their meals but  improved access to efficient technologies and fuels also makes the preparation of more nutritious food that needs to be cooked for a long time (e.g. beans) more likely.

2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and income of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment

2.3.1 Volume of production per labour unit by classes of farming/pastoral/forestry enterprise size

2.3.2 Average income of small-scale food producers, by sex and indigenous status

To increasing agricultural productivity, energy is needed for irrigation as well as for cooling, drying, milling, pasteurizing, and further processing activities.

2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality

2.4.1 Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture

For a productive and sustainable agriculture, renewable energy is key e.g. for pumping water.

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Goal 3

Goal 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Impacts of renewable / clean / efficient energy:

When it comes to a functioning health system, energy is a key component: vaccines and medicines need to be refrigerated, equipment needs sterilisation and light is needed for operations and emergencies at night. See also the article Energy for Rural Health Centers.

Clean / improved technologies and fuels for cooking, heating and lighting emit less particulate matter (PM) and carbon monoxide (CO), thus reducing the risk of respiratory diseases and eye infections, especially in women and in children under five years. Furthermore, by replacing traditional cooking and lighting technologies (e.g. open fires and kerosene lamps) with improved cookstoves which shield the fire and solar lanterns, the risk of burns, injuries and fires is reduced.



Relevance of clean energy

3.2 By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age (...)

3.2.1 Under - 5 mortality rate

Close to half of deaths due to pneumonia among children less than 5 years old are caused by particulate matter released from indoor air pollution from household solid fuels.[15]

3.4 By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being

3.4.1: Mortality of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease

According to WHO, 3.8 million premature deaths annually from noncommunicable diseases including stroke, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer, are attributed to exposure to household air pollution.[15]

3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination

3.9.1: Mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution

According to WHO smoke from traditional cooking technologies causes 3.8 million premature deaths per year.[15]

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Goal 4

Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Energy services reduce the working time and provide some free time to especially women and children, and also enable the use of modern communication and learning tools.



Relevance of energy

4.1 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes

4.1.1 Percentage of children/young people: (a) in grades 2/3; (b) at the end of primary; and (c) at the end of lower secondary achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in (i) reading and (ii) mathematics.

efficient cooking energy:

  • children spend less time on collecting firewood thus have more time to go to school.
  • Use of less fuelwood reduces the cost for school feeding programmes, thus more children attending school get a warm meal


  • permits home study even in the evenings
  • makes evening classes possible

4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university

4.3.1 Participation rate of youth and adults in formal and non-formal education and training in the last 12 months

4.6 By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy

4.6.1 Percentage of population in a given age group achieving at least a fixed level of proficiency in functional (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills.

4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship

4.4.1 Percentage of youth/adults with information and communications technology (ICT) skills by type of skill

The use of educational media and communications in schools, including computers, Internet or movies is not possible without energy

4.a Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all 4.a.1 Proportion of schools offering basic services, by type of service Basic services for effective learning environments include access to electricity.

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Goal 5

Goal 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls



Relevance of energy

5.4 Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate

5.4.1 Percentage of time spent on unpaid domestic
and care work, by sex, age group and location

Modern energy services reduce the time spent by women and girls on basic survival activities (gathering firewood, fetching water, cooking, etc.)

5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women

5.b.1 Proportion of individuals who own a mobile telephone, by sex

Information and communication technologies, including mobile phones, need energy to operate

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Goal 6

Goal 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all



Relevance of energy

6.1 By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all 
6.1.1 Percentage of population using safely managed drinking water services 
579 million people do not have access to clean, protected and treated, drinking water. [16] Water purification and desalination using solar or wind energy could help to address this issue 

6.6 By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

6.6.1 Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time

Energy-saving cookstoves and more efficient technologies for charcoal production reduce the pressure on forests and other woody ecosystems by reducing the demand for firewood and charcoal. Erosion can be diminished.

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Goal 8 

Goal 8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Relevance of energy

8.3 Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services

8.3.1 Proportion of informal employment in total employment, by sector and sex

The production / selling / installation of PV products and related services creates jobs and small businesses for men and women. The same holds true for the production and commercialisation of improved stoves.

Furthermore, energy access and energy efficiency enable enhanced productivity and inclusive economic growth.

Renewable energy employed 8.1 million people around the world in 2015 (excluding large hydropower).[17]

8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value

8.5.2 Unemployment rate, by sex, age group and persons with disabilities

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Goal 9

Goal 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation



Relevance of energy

9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater  adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities

9.4.1 CO2 emission per unit of value added

Modern and efficient energy technologies emit less or no CO2 at all.

9.c Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020

9.c.1 Proportion of population covered by a mobile network, by technology

Information and communication technologies, including Internet and mobile phones, need energy to work

Goal 11

Goal 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable



Relevance of energy

11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums

11.1.1 Proportion of urban population living in slums, informal settlements or inadequate housing

Access to energy is a basic service to meet basic needs such as safe and healthy cooking and indoor and outdoor lighting in the evening. Clean cooking and lighting addresses household and ambient air pollution.

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Goal 12

Goal 12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
This is the only SDG, where energy and energy-related issues are mentioned explicitly in the indicators (marked in bold).



Relevance of energy

12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources

12.2.1 Material footprint per capita, and material footprint per GDP

Efficient cookstoves and sustainable forestry practices including efficient charcoal production contribute to the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources

12.3 By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses
12.3.1 (a) Food loss index and (b) food waste index Energy is crucial to reduce food losses along food supply and value chains via cold storage, drying etc.[18]
12.a Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production
12.a.1 Installed renewable energy-generating capacity in developing countries (in watts per capita)
Renewable energy generation doesn't contribute to global warming, sun and wind energy are non-exhaustive compared to fossil fuels.
12.c Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities.
12.c.1Amount of fossil-fuel subsidies per unit of GDP (production and consumption).
Fossil fuel combustion is the major source of CO2 emissions (89%).[19]

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Goal 13

Goal 13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Fossil fuel use is the primary source of carbon dioxide (CO2), which accounts for two third of all global greenhouse gas emissions.[20] Renewable energy and energy efficiency are key to combat climate change.



Relevance of energy

13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning

13.2.1 Number of countries with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans, strategies as reported in adaptation communications and national communications

13.2.2 Total greenhouse gas emissions per year

Up to 25% of black carbon emissions come from burning solid fuels for household energy needs [21]

Greenhouse gas emissions by sector

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Goal 15

Goal 15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss



Relevance of energy

15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements

15.1.1 Forest area as a percentage of total land area

Efficient technologies such as improved stoves for cooking and heating reduce pressure on forests and thus help combat deforestation and desertification.

Less land degradation as efficient technologies reduce burning of dung, which can be used as fertilizer instead as for cooking.

Sustainable forest management practices, afforestation and reforestation are already part in many projects that promote sustainable access to cooking energy.

15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally

15.2.1 Progress towards sustainable forest management

15.3 By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, inclu
ding land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world

15.3.1 Percentage of land that is degraded over total land area

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Goal 17

Goal 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development



Relevance of energy

17.6 Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and
access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge-sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism

17.6.1: Fixed Internet broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, by speed

Any device that connects to the Internet needs electricity, as well as Internet providers, servers, etc.

17.8 Fully operationalize the technology bank and science, technology and innovation capacity-building mechanism for least developed countries by 2017 and enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology

17.8.1 Proportion of individuals using the Internet

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Further Information


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  1. A/70/L.1 - Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  2. SDG tracker
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 IAEG-SDGs - Tier Classification for Global SDG Indicators;
  4. Development of a global reporting mechanism - Background note to the Third Meeting of the IAEG - SDGs, 30 March – 1 April 2016.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 5.21 5.22 5.23 5.24 5.25 5.26 Global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goalsand targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
  6. WHO Indoor air quality guidelines (2014): household fuel combustion
  7. 7.0 7.1 UN (2016): Report of the Secretary-General on Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Report of the Secretary-General, "Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals 2017",
  9. 9.0 9.1 Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Report of the Secretary-General 2018:
  10. 10.0 10.1 UN (2019): Report of the Secretary-General on SDG progress 2019. Special edition.
  11. Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Report of the Secretary-General (2020)
  12. IEA, IRENA, UNSD, World Bank, WHO. 2023. Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report.
  13. UN Stats SDG Indicators Metadata repository
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 WHO (2018): Household air pollution and health. Fact Sheet.
  16. WHO 2019:
  17. Renewable Energy and Jobs - Annual Review 2016. link:
  21. Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves,

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