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Solar panels providing power to a village in Africa. Shutterstock/Daleen Loest
Vignesh SRIDHARAN, Mark HOWELLS, Gabrielle DESARNAUD, Manfred HAFNER, Mélodie MISTRE, Dimitris MENTIS

Sustainable Development Goals: The EU at the Global Partnership Forefront INSIGHT_E Hot Energy Topic, No.16, May 2016

In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; featuring a set of 17 measurable and time-bound Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 associated targets for 2030. This Hot Energy Topic analyzes advancement to SDG7 (access to a clean energy) and SDG13 (combat and adapt to climate change) in Africa through the prism of SDG17 (partnership).  


The SDGs are a comprehensive set of goals succeeding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which focused 15 years of efforts on improving the material quality of life of the planet’s poorest. The SDGs have a broader focus on development, in both rich and poor countries. The new goals cover a range of topics from poverty eradication to combatting climate change, while taking into account the need for global partnerships to achieve these goals. While energy did not appear, distinctively, in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),  it is recognized for the first time as a key enabler of sustainable development by the creation of a dedicated SDG7.

With investment in energy infrastructure accelerating, the focus in this HET is placed on both SDG7 as well as an SDG that emphasizes the importance of greenhouse gases (GHG) mitigation and adaption to climate change (SDG13). The two are strongly related. The energy sector is the largest emitter of anthropogenic emissions, and investments made now will lock in emissions trajectories. At the same time irrigation, hydro flows and cooling are required for biofuel, hydro- and thermal based power generation respectively. And water availability is strongly affected by a changing climate. Thus, ensuring that energy systems are also climate adaptive is essential. 

Given the development imperative, this Hot Energy Topic places emphasis on the importance of SDG 17, which relates to global partnerships. We focus on how the European Union (EU) should play a significant role to assist developing economies in Africa in meeting their energy targets.

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Sustainable Development Goals: The EU at the Global Partnership Forefront
Energy access Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Renewables Africa