Energizing sustainable development: new publication highlights the role of energy in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and mitigating climate change

Dec 12, 2017

Access to affordable energy, infrastructure, transport and technology is interlinked with reducing poverty and inequality.

December 13 2017, Bangkok – As UN agencies gather under the banner of Climate Week in Bangkok, the UN Development Programme has launched a new publication connecting the dots between energy, poverty, and climate change action. 

The colorful book, ‘Games About Change’, combines impact case studies from 16 countries across Asia and the Pacific with games and activities designed to spur readers – whether they be students, parents and children or policy makers– to think about energy and the ways in which the world can shift to a cleaner, more sustainable future. The book aims to translate “technical talk” into plain language, supported by facts and figures.  

Access to affordable energy, infrastructure, transport and technology is interlinked with reducing poverty and inequality. Yet with the planet on track to a potentially catastrophic three degrees Celsius of warming, the answers must lie in clean, renewable energy sources.

Energy poverty continues to impact communities around the world. A majority of households in rural areas across Asia and the Pacific remain without access to modern forms of energy to cook, light their homes and provide heating. 

Governments are making bold efforts to improve access to energy and reduce emissions, even countries which have contributed little to the problem. The book highlights examples of UNDP-supported projects from India – where the government is working to improve energy efficiency in the national railway systems and to develop sustainable urban transport – to Indonesia, where efforts have focused on nurturing investment in the renewable energy sector.

The book also draws on personal stories to illuminate the link between energy and women’s empowerment, education, and health.

In Islamabad, the story of a student benefitting from a new metro bus service, designed to reduce road emissions but also making it safer for women travelers;

In Bangladesh, the story of a father for whom a new solar lantern system was life-changing, enabling his children to study and for life to go on at night;

In India, the story of women being trained as “barefoot solar engineers”, learning to assemble, install and maintain solar-powered lights and lanterns in their villages;

In Hebei, the story of a rural family, including a ninety-year old grandmother, for whom a new house made from energy efficient bricks slashed heating and cooling bills.

In Tuvalu, the story of a nurse for whom access to 24-hour solar power will improve her workplace’s ability to store life-saving vaccines and medicines, and to power equipment used for the treatment of acute medical issues.

The launch of the publication is timely: moving from fossil fuels to cleaner forms of energy remains squarely on the international agenda. Climate talks concluding in Bonn (COP23) last month focused heavily on scaling-up action to meet commitments to reduce carbon emissions, set out under the Paris Agreement. 

Statistics bring into stark relief the magnitude of the challenges which confront the global community in meeting demand for energy, while also reducing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.

By 2030, the world’s energy consumption is predicted to increase by 30-50 per cent. Global transport emissions are expected to rise 120 per cent by 2030 (from 2000 levels). Transport-related CO2 emissions are expected to increase 57 per cent worldwide between 2005 and 2030.

“Access to reliable and sustainable clean energy both enables and accelerates progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Haoliang Xu, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific. 

“All the Goals are interconnected and in fact, the achievement of Goal 7 ‘Affordable and clean energy’ contributes to each of the others, including eliminating poverty and hunger, enhancing health and wellbeing, and achieving inclusive and quality education. 

“This book brings to life the issues, the challenges, but most importantly, the solutions at hand.”

Globally, UNDP supports sustainable energy across more than 110 countries, with almost 260 projects representing around US$1 billion in grant financing and leveraging nearly $6 billion in co-financing from the public and private sectors.

Download a copy of ‘Games About Change’

For more information on UNDP’s work in energy access, click here. 

   ###  ###  ### 


The UN Development Programme partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. 

The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, are a set of 17 interconnected goals agreed to by nearly 200 countries in 2015, for achievement by 2030. Together they constitute a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.



Contact information

Ms. Milou Beerepoot, Regional Technical Advisor, Energy & CCM milou.beerepoot@undp.org


Mr. Mahtab Haider, Communications Specialist, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub mahtab.haider@undp.org


Ms. Kate Jean Smith, Communications Specialist, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub kate.smith@undp.org

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Asia and the Pacific 
Go to UNDP Global