Achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal on energy, with its targets on universal access, energy efficiency and renewable energy, is central to both the UN’s global goals, and achieving the central goal of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which is to limit the maximum global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed stated this at this year’s Vienna Energy Forum.

On January 1, 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit, officially came into force.

Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilise efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

The SDGs, also known as Global Goals, build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. The new Goals are unique in that they call for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.

They recognise that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.

While the SDGs are not legally binding, governments are expected to take ownership and establish national frameworks for the achievement of the 17 Goals. 

Countries have the primary responsibility for follow-up and review of the progress made in implementing the Goals, which will require quality, accessible and timely data collection.

Regional follow-up and review will be based on national-level analyses and contribute to follow-up and review at the global level.

Last week, at this year’s Vienna Energy Forum, the UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed stated that “The 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement are mutually reinforcing and inseparable.

And it is why Member States have overwhelmingly endorsed both. Implementing the 2030 Agenda and addressing climate change must go hand-in-hand.”

The UN Deputy Secretary General also warned that time was running out, and that climate change impacts, driven by globally rising temperatures, were accelerating.

On account of this, she said the Paris Agreement needs to be rapidly implemented and clean energy scaled up: “Droughts, floods, high heat, extreme weather, and rising seas are displacing people as never before and putting lives and livelihoods in jeopardy.

And there is a real humanitarian cost; climate impacts have already incurred huge expense for business owners and the insurance industry. No country or sector is immune.”

She described the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as two ground-breaking agreements that “are a transformative vision for a better world — universal, inclusive and integrated, an agenda for shared prosperity, peace and partnership on a healthy planet.

“But realizing that vision means we must address climate change as a matter of utmost urgency. And we know that climate change is a scientific fact.  

There is no longer any doubt. It is a real and present threat to peace and prosperity around the globe.
“Droughts, floods, high heat, extreme weather, and rising seas are displacing people as never before and putting lives and livelihoods in jeopardy.

“And there is a real humanitarian cost, climate impacts have already incurred huge expense for business owners and the insurance industry. No country or sector is immune. That is why 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement are mutually reinforcing and inseparable.”

She said “At the heart of these two agendas lies energy. A transformative approach to energy makes all our Sustainable Development Goals possible, from reducing poverty to delivering clean water; from powering innovation and industry to providing light for children to learn; from delivering essential health services to empowering women and youth; from addressing food security to mitigating climate change.”

According to the UN Deputy Secretary General, “this is why the 2030 Agenda has established the first ever universal goal on energy, SDG7: to “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.”

Achieving SDG 7 on energy, with its targets on universal access, energy efficiency and renewable energy, would open a new world of opportunity for billions of people, she said.

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