Energy for Sustainable Development


ESCAP’s mission on energy is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all in Asia and the Pacific; and to enhance energy security and connectivity by promoting regional cooperation, using the means of intergovernmental process, research, and capacity building.

Energy is the cornerstone of sustainable development. With a dedicated goal on energy, Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a framework to guide the energy sector. SDG7 is a critical priority in Asia and the Pacific.

The Asia-Pacific region produces one third of the world’s GDP and consumes more than half of global energy supply. With both population and living standards rising, the region is facing the highest increase in energy demand globally. At the same time, energy poverty remains a critical issue; over 420 million people remain without electricity, and 49.6% remain without access to clean cooking. Meeting rising energy demand and achieving universal access while ensuring development that is environmentally friendly, socially sound and economically feasible presents a challenge.

Facing these obstacles, ESCAP leads programmes aimed at helping member States to advance energy access, renewable energy, and energy efficiency in line with SDG7 targets. ESCAP fosters the transition to a sustainable energy system through regional cooperation and supports member States in identifying energy challenges and generating sound policy responses by providing a platform for dialogue and knowledge exchange. Most importantly, ESCAP established the Asia and Pacific Energy Forum, the first and still only ministerial level, intergovernmental meeting on energy in the UN system.
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SDG7: Ensure Access to Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable and Modern Energy for All

Recognition of the synergies between energy and many facets of development are increasing along with the demand for more sustainable energy production, distribution and use. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), have set global targets for energy development that, if achieved, will serve to increase and expand socio-economic benefits while reducing environmental impacts. Tackling the multiple energy-related challenges necessitates a transition in the way energy is generated, transmitted and consumed. Major components of this transition are enhanced energy efficiency, increased renewable energy in the energy mix and improved energy access. While the energy sector in many countries is slowly being transformed, the pace of the change needs to be accelerated. ESCAP is engaged with countries on several regional projects to drive forward its mandate on SDG-7 through capacity building, technical assistance and regional cooperation, to enhance data-driven decision-making capacities and tools. ESCAP is currently leading the following projects: National Road Maps for the Implementation of SDG 7 Evidence-Based Policies for Sustainable Use of Energy in Asia and the Pacific

Energy Connectivity and Regional Cooperation

Energy connectivity, particularly cross-border power trade, can facilitate overall regional economic cooperation and integration. It can realise mutual socio-economic and environmental benefits and contribute to the achievement of the SDG7 targets for the member States. ESCAP promotes regional cooperation by providing a platform for dialogue and hosting workshops and expert group meetings designed to delineate and address the principal barriers to energy connectivity from national, subregional, and regional perspectives.