733 million people globally has no access to electricity in the 21st century

 2.4 billion people are still cooking using fuels that are harmful for human health and environment

According to the 2022 edition of Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report, 733 million people

globally still do not have access to electricity, and 2.4 billion people are still cooking using fuels that are harmful for their health and the environment. At the current rate of progress, 670 million people will remain without electricity by 2030 – 10 million more than projected last year.

The 2022 edition of Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report monitors global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG7) of ensuring affordable modern energy supply and clean cooking oil for everyone by 2030. The study was produced by UN entities and partners, known as the SDG7 custodian agencies, who urge governments and policymakers to step up action.

Covid-19 impacts such as lockdowns, supply chain disruptions, and diversion of fiscal resources to keep food and fuel prices affordable, have affected progress towards achieving SDG 7. The world’s most vulnerable countries have been particularly affected, the report states.

The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed progress towards universal access to electricity, clean cooking oils and technology, while the fallout from war in Ukraine could result in further setbacks, according to the UN-backed report.

The director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Francesco La Camera, said: “International public financing for renewable energy needs to accelerate, especially in the poorest, most vulnerable countries. We have failed to support those most in need.

“With only eight years left to achieve universal access to affordable and sustainable energy, we need radical actions to accelerate the increase of international public financial flows and distribute them in a more equitable manner, so 733 million people who are currently left behind can enjoy the benefits of clean energy access.”

Dr Maria Neira of the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasised said that millions of people are killed through heart disease, stroke, cancer, and pneumonia because they still rely on dirty cooking fuels and technologies which are major sources of air pollution.

“Women and children are particularly at risk – they spend the most time in and around the home and therefore carry the heaviest burden to their health and well-being,” Dr Neira, the director of WHO’s Department of Environment, Climate Change, and Health said.

She added: “Transitioning to clean and sustainable energy will not only contribute to make people healthier, it will also protect our planet and mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

Additionally, nearly 90 million people in Asia and Africa, who previously gained access to electricity, can no longer afford to pay for their basic energy needs.

The report said Africa remains the least electrified in the world, with 568 million people without access.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s share of the global population without electricity rose from 71 percent in 2018 to 77 percent in 2020, while most other regions saw declines.

                                                             Rukhsana Manzoor deputy Editor

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