7.1.2 Population with Primary Reliance on Clean Fuels and Technology
Target 7.1: By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Custodian Organization: World Health Organization (WHO)
Tier Classification: Tier I
To facilitate the implementation of the global indicator framework, all indicators are classified by the IAEG-SDGs (Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals Indicators) into three tiers on the basis of their level of methodological development and the availability of data at the global level, as follows:
Tier I: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, and data are regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.
Tier II: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries.
Tier III: No internationally established methodology or standards are yet available for the indicator, but methodology/standards are being (or will be) developed or tested.
Definition: Proportion of population with primary reliance on clean fuels and technology is calculated as the number of people using clean fuels and technologies for cooking, heating and lighting divided by total population reporting that any cooking, heating or lighting, expressed as percentage. “Clean” is defined by the emission rate targets and specific fuel recommendations (i.e. against unprocessed coal and kerosene) included in the normative guidance WHO guidelines for indoor air quality: household fuel combustion.
Concepts: Current global data collection focuses on the primary fuel used for cooking, categorized as solid or nonsolid fuels, where solid fuels are considered polluting and non-modern, while non-solid fuels are considered clean. This single measure captures a good part of the lack of access to clean cooking fuels, but fails to collect data on type of device or technology is used for cooking, and also fails to capture other polluting forms of energy use in the home such as those used for lighting and heating.
New evidence-based normative guidance from the WHO (i.e. WHO Guidelines for indoor air quality guidelines: household fuel combustion), highlights the importance of addressing both fuel and the technology for adequately protecting public health. These guidelines provide technical recommendations in the form of emissions targets for as to what fuels and technology (stove, lamp, and so on) combinations in the home are clean. These guidelines also recommend against the use of unprocessed coal and discourage the use kerosene (a non-solid but highly polluting fuel) in the home. They also recommend that all major household energy end uses (e.g. cooking, space heating, lighting) use efficient fuels and technology combinations to ensure health benefits.
For this reason, the technical recommendations in the WHO guidelines, access to modern cooking solution in the home will be defined as “access to clean fuels and technologies” rather than “access to non-solid fuels.” This shift will help ensure that health and other “nexus” benefits are better counted, and thus realized.
Rationale: Cooking, lighting and heating represent a large share of household energy use across the low- and middle-income countries. For cooking and heating, households typically rely on solid fuels (such as wood, charcoal, biomass) or kerosene paired with inefficient technologies (e.g. open fires, stoves, space heaters or lamps). It is well known that reliance on such inefficient energy for cooking, heating and lighting is associated with high levels of household (indoor) air pollution. The use of inefficient fuels for cooking alone is estimated to cause over 4 million deaths annually, mainly among women and children. This is more than TB, HIV and malaria combined. These adverse health impacts can be avoided by adopting clean fuels and technologies for all main household energy end-or in some circumstances by adopting advanced combustion cook stoves (i.e. those which achieve the emission rates targets provided by the WHO guidelines) and adopting strict protocols for their safe use. Given the importance of clean and safe household energy use as a human development issue, universal access to energy among the technical practitioner community is currently taken to mean access to both electricity and clean fuels and technologies for cooking, heating and lighting. For this reason, clean cooking forms part of the universal access objective under the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative
Limitations: The indicator uses the type of primary fuels and technologies used for cooking, heating, and lighting as a practical surrogate for estimating human exposure to household (indoor) air pollution and its related disease burden, as it is not currently possible to obtain nationally representative samples of indoor concentrations of criteria pollutants, such as fine particulate matter and carbon monoxide. However epidemiological studies provide a science-based evidence for establishing those estimates using these surrogates.
The indicator is based on the main type of fuel and technology used for cooking as cooking occupies the largest share of overall household energy needs. However, many households use more than one type of fuel and stove for cooking and, depending on climatic and geographical conditions, heating with polluting fuels can also be a contributor to household (indoor) air pollution levels. In addition, lighting with kerosene, a very polluting and hazardous fuel is also often used, and in some countries is the main fuel used for cooking.
While the existing global household survey evidence base provides a good starting point for tracking household energy access for cooking fuel, it also presents a number of limitations that will need to be addressed over time. Currently there is a limited amount of available data capturing the type of fuel and devices used in the home for heating and lighting. Accordingly WHO in cooperation with World Bank, and the Global Alliance for Clean Cook stoves, is leading a survey enhancement process with representatives from country statistical offices and national household surveying agencies (e.g. Demographic and Health Survey, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, Living Standards Measurement Survey) to better gather efficiently and harmoniously information on the fuels and technologies for cooking, heating and lighting. This process is currently in the piloting phase with expected rollout of the final household surveys questions (~6 questions in total) expected in the coming year. These few questions will replace and slightly expand the current set of questions commonly used on national multipurpose surveys to assess household energy.
Substantial progress has already been made toward developing and piloting a new methodology known as the Multi-Tier Framework for Measuring Energy Access (World Bank) which is able to capture the affordability and reliability of energy access explicitly referenced in the language of SDG7 and harnesses the normative guidance in the WHO guidelines to benchmark tiers of energy access. The methodology for the Multi-Tier Framework for Measuring Energy Access has already been published based on a broad consultative exercise and represents a consensus view across numerous international agencies working in the field. A first Global Energy Access Survey using this methodology has already been launched and is underway expecting to yield results by early 2017.
Data Source: Data for this indicator was primarily collected from the United Nations Statistics Division’s Open SDG Data Hub. National level data from the UN Statistics Division is compiled by the respective custodian for the SDG indicator, unless otherwise noted. To learn more about the data used in this portal, visit the about page.
Data is accurate as of October 31, 2018.
7.1.2 Population with Primary Reliance on Clean Fuels and Technology in the Sustainable Development Goals
Click on the SDG to reveal more information
7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Be it for jobs, security, climate change, food production or increasing incomes, access to energy for all is essential.
Sustainable energy is opportunity – it transforms lives, economies and the planet.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is leading a Sustainable Energy for All initiative to ensure universal access to modern energy services, improve efficiency and increase use of renewable sources.
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