SDG7 conference: Hydropower ‘part of the solution’ to sustainable development

14 February 2018

Governments will review the United Nations goal on sustainable energy at a major summit in Bangkok, Thailand, next week.

The Global SDG7 Conference, at which the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) is hosting a side-event on hydropower, will allow policy-makers to take stock of progress to boost energy access.

Sustainable Development Goal 7, which was agreed by world leaders at the UN in 2015 along with 16 other goals, aims to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.

Despite its adoption, the UN estimates that 1.06 billion people, predominantly rural dwellers, still do not have access to electricity. Half of those people live in sub-Saharan Africa.    

Ahead of the Bangkok conference between 21 and 23 February 2018, the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and Norad have urged countries to recognise hydropower’s significant role in efforts to achieve sustainable development.

Jon Lomøy, Director General of Norad, described the conference as “an important platform to mobilise the global energy community” to take action.

“To achieve SDG7 we need to enable the whole spectrum of renewable technologies and resources. Hydropower is a perfect match with wind and solar power to ensure high quality energy supply. Hydropower is therefore part of the solution for sustainable development.”

“The Norwegian Government is highly committed to the 2030 Agenda and we welcome this conference organised by UN DESA,” he said.

The conference comes as a major report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found hydropower remains the world’s lowest-cost source of renewable electricity, at a global weighted average levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of US$0.05 per kWh.

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association (IHA), said: “As the lowest-cost renewable energy technology, hydropower remains at the centre of international efforts to decarbonise and transition to a clean energy future.

“The Global SDG7 Conference is a significant moment for countries to take stock and recognise hydropower’s role, working together with other renewables, in national plans to achieve affordable, sustainable energy.”

The conference will give policy-makers and stakeholders the opportunity to identify trends and gaps in progress towards the goal, and look at finance, capacity-building and innovation. It will be followed by a high-level political forum in New York in July, during which strategies will be discussed for accelerating progress on goals for energy, water and sanitation, cities, and the environment.

The Norad side-event between 16:30-18:00 on 21 February is entitled ‘Hydropower: part of the solution for sustainable development’. The event at UN ESCAP headquarters will provide examples of institutional cooperation between Norway, Myanmar and Nepal.

Speakers include: Norway’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Marianne Hagen; Norad Asssistant Director for Climate, Energy, Environment and Research Oernulf Stroem; and Myanmar Ministry of Electricity and Energy Assistant Director Pauk Kyaing Sahm.

Next year the World Hydropower Congress in Paris, between 14 and 16 May 2019, will focus on hydropower’s role in delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information on the Global SDG7 Conference organised by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), please visit the event website.

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