Universal Energy Access: Powering the MDGs
The Millennium Development Goals, which all 192 United Nation member states and at least 23 international organizations have signed on to, include 1) eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; 2) achieving universal primary education; 3) promoting gender equality and empowering women; 4) reducing child mortality; 5) improving maternal health; 6) combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; 7) ensuring environmental sustainability; and 8) building a global partnership for development.
When the Millennium Development Goals were first announced 10 years ago, I was surprised and disappointed to learn that energy access had not been included by the U.N. as one of the MDGs. For without access to modern energy services, none of the MDGs are ultimately achievable. However, in the past few years, a growing number of institutions, including the United Nations itself and the International Energy Agency, have come to acknowledge and promote the fundamental importance of modern energy in meeting all of the Millennium Development Goals.
So how exactly does energy relate to the MDGs? Let us take a closer look. For each of the Millennium Development Goals, I have provided an example or two of the role that energy access can play in fulfilling that goal. Please bear in mind that the list of examples included here is by no means exhaustive.
Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
- Household lighting extends the productive work day.
Electricity facilitates the establishment of village-based micro-enterprises.
Energy for irrigation increases food production and access to nutrition.
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