The Clinton Foundation built it’s brand upon bringing together governments, local actors and NGOs to develop systems-level solutions to wicked problems. It’s no surprise that William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States of America and Founder of the Clinton Foundation, preaches the value of a collaborative approach, claiming “We all do better when we work together.”
The Clinton Foundation hosted and launched the Clinton Global Initiative in 2015, designed in support of the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. The SDGs are a set of aspirational goals hoping to provide a set of benchmarks that would mark the creation of a truly developed world. Replacing the never achieved Millennium Development Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals are designed to create a vision of global inclusion and inspire coordinated action while respecting sovereignty and national policies. The 25 goals are lofty, with titles such as End Poverty in all Forms and End Hunger.
Putting aside the legitimacy or effectiveness of these goals, they do undeniably exist. The responsibility now falls upon the UNDP to provide proof that they are, in fact, eliminating hunger and poverty in all forms. One goal of particular interest in SDG #7: Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
SDG #7 speaks to the fact that achieving energy security across the globe is crucial to accomplishing the remaining SDGs: Poverty eradication, advancements in technology and mitigating climate change can all be helped by providing access to clean energy. A report card released in 2016 gave the following insight towards the accomplishment of this noble endeavour from 2000 to 2016:
- The proportion of the global population with access to electricity has steadily increased from 79% to 85%. However, that still leaves 1.1B worldwide without access to this resource.
- The proportion of the world’s population with access to clean fuels and technologies has increased from 51% to 58%.
- The global share of renewable energy has grown from 17.4% to 18.1%. More telling is that 72% of the increase in energy consumption from modern renewables came from developing regions, stemming primarily from investments into hydropower, wind and solar energy.
- Energy intensity (the amount of energy needed to produce one unit of economic output) has decreased by 1.7%, to sit at 5.7% (measured in millijoules per USD PPP).
- Current progress is only about two thirds of the pace needed to double the rate of global improvement in energy efficiency.
- The biggest progress in the areas of greater access to energy and reductions in energy intensity came from Eastern and Southern Asia.
Organizations like M-Kopa, a solar provider and asset financing firm on the African continent, have done some of the heavier lifting in the developing world by providing unique and innovative models to vulnerable consumers. Individual projects are being developed by the UNDC, the Clinton Foundation and other great organizations across the planet.
Developing systems that empower local populations and bring decision makers to the table is not a newfound phenomenon. With the other Clinton looking to secure her place in the most powerful office in the land, it seems as good a time as many to attempt to bring these philosophies and guiding principles beyond the development frontier and look to integrate a model of sustainable inclusion in the Oval Office.