International Year of Sustainable Energy for All (2012)

2012 has been designated as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All by the UN in an effort to promote a future in which energy is more easily accessible, cleaner, and efficient.

Many people on Earth today have serious issues with access to electricity. According to estimates from the UN, one in five people on the earth do not have access to even the most fundamental types of contemporary energy. The number of people without access to electricity is estimated to be close to 1.6 billion by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Children find it difficult to study at night without electricity, and businesses are forced to close early as the sun sets. In communities with limited access to energy, this condition results in a lack of educational and economic prospects, which can exacerbate the already severe levels of poverty.

For cooking and heating, about three billion people worldwide rely on wood, coal, charcoal, and animal waste. These fuels can release harmful concentrations of indoor air pollutants when used in a home.

The inefficient use of fossil fuels in industrialized nations is a factor in both climate change and energy instability. The Sustainable Energy for All initiative was started to promote the development of sustainable energy, which is energy that is readily available, cleaner, and more efficient.


Traditional biomass is the primary source of cooking and heating for more than three billion people in underdeveloped nations. There are 1.5 billion people without access to power, and millions of the poorest people are unable to pay for the energy services that are offered.

Energy and sustainable development are thus inextricably linked, and the eradication of poverty requires access to modern, cleaner, and more efficient energy sources.

In order to achieve the internationally agreed upon development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and to achieve sustainable development, which would help to reduce poverty and improve conditions and the standard of living for the majority of the world's population, access to modern, affordable energy services is essential.

Therefore, the UN General Assembly emphasized the significance of improving access to trustworthy, affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable, and environmentally sound energy services and resources for sustainable development. It also highlighted the importance of investing in cleaner energy technology options to achieve a climate-resilient future for all.


By 2030, this project will mobilize governments, the commercial sector, and partners from civil society around the world to achieve three main objectives:
  • Make sure everyone has access to contemporary energy services.
  • 40% decrease of the global energy intensity.
  • Increase the percentage of renewable energy used globally to 30%.

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