UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 aims to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030. But progress has stalled: around 775 million people worldwide still live without access to electricity, according to the International Energy Agency, and in 2022 this number increased for the first time since IEA began tracking this data two decades ago.
Most of the population living without electricity is concentrated in Africa and Asia. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the number of people without energy access has regressed to its previous 2013 peak. The challenge is particularly acute in remote regions or small islands.
Ahead of revealing the new data analysis, the IEA warned that “There is no pathway to net-zero without first achieving universal electricity access”.
Hydropower, big or small, can support access to clean energy for all citizens on and off the electricity grid. This plenary session will explore hydropower’s crucial role alongside other renewables in advancing sustainable development, and how governments can act to enable it.