By Tokunbo Kujore, Impact Analyst and Founder, Afro Girls
Imagine not being able to turn on the light to study or to treat a patient. This is a reality for millions of students, healthcare professionals and homes around the world. To be honest, I didn't know too much about the progress on affordable and clean energy before this series. During research however, I discovered that clean energy is essential to solving all of the Sustainable Development Goals. Access to energy for all means decreased premature deaths and increased energy efficiency, more job opportunities, functioning facilities and sanitation, sustainable and inclusive communities, proper food production and resistance to climate change.
Global Goal 7 ensures access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. There has been progress since the declaration of the SDG’s five years ago, but with 3 billion people who lacked access to clean cooking solutions and an estimated 1 billion people who were functioning without electricity - with 50% living in Sub-Saharan Africa alone (WHO), before the pandemic, we have a lot more to get done in 10 years.
Reliable and affordable clean energy are needed now more than ever during the pandemic. Renewable electricity from water, solar and wind power enables healthcare facilities, supplies clean water for essential hygiene and enables communications and IT services that connect people with essential items and information about measures to protect themselves from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Women at Risk
We have seen the devastating effects of not prioritizing clean energy through human life expectancy and climate change. About estimated 4 million people die each year from unreliable energy sources. Women and girls in developing countries face harsh realities with unreliable energy sources. Due to traditional gender roles, they are often responsible for the responsibilities of the home and outside of the home, including working, heating and cooking meals with unclean cookstoves and sources which directly exposes them to toxins from the fuels that they use. This negatively affects their health and safety.
Energy for All
I know what it's like to not have access to energy for hours on end. My challenge to all of us is to make energy inclusive. I think that we can make tremendous progress towards achieving goal 7 by 2030 by taking a “glocal” approach. If the organizations that focused on clean energy, governments and local entities, i.e. leadership and establishments, worked together to find solutions, we could achieve the targets of SDG 7. Involving the local platforms could be an efficient and effective approach towards achieving this goal by 2030.
Check out more posts in the SDGs in 20/20 series here.