In September 2000, when the United Nations announced the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be achieved by 2015, no specific MDG related to energy was considered, despite the importance of access to energy in achieving most of the MDGs.
However, energy has finally achieved its rightful position at the top of the global development agenda within the new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were approved in September 2015, in particular SDG 7: “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” and SDG16: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development”.
The joint efforts under SE4ALL, with the convening and financial power of the United Nations and the World Bank, as well as the support of many others entities, including the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), World Petroleum Council (WPC) and others, are instrumental in achieving the goal of universal access to energy.
In addition, concerted efforts of the Oil and Gas Industry focused on energy poverty alleviation can be a positive contribution to the proposed SDGs and the objectives of the SE4ALL.
In this respect, the Oil and Gas Industry is in a unique position to use its resources—in particular its technical expertise and knowledge—to develop creative solutions for providing better access to energy and to create opportunities for replicating and scaling up investments in energy access, working together with other stakeholders including development funds, business developers and other industry initiatives, to advance energy access.
As the Oil and Gas Industry has adopted corporate social responsibility as part of its business to address the social challenges of its host communities, there is an increasing focus in addressing energy poverty. This is important particularly in developing countries, as access to affordable modern energy is critical to foster local economic development and attain sustainable development.
Aligned with the new SDGs, the Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4ALL - multi-stakeholder partnership between governments, the private sector, and civil society launched by the UN Secretary-General in 2011) has three interlinked objectives to be achieved by 2030:
Ensuring universal access to modern energy services