Youth Corner
Published on March 22, 2024

Youth Speak: Energy Access and Affordability as Driving Forces of Sustainable Development

Energy access and affordability remain core development challenges in large parts of the world. At the same time, the diversification of the energy matrix and its shift from fossil fuel-based energy to renewable energy is imperative for climate mitigation as energy accounts for over two-thirds of global greenhouse emissions1

“As a people, our desire is to grow more and more to fulfil our economic and financial ambitions. As a consequence, it increases inefficient production and lack of access to reliable energy,” says Mohamadú Saido Baldé, a youth champion from Guinea-Bassau.

To remain aligned with the Paris climate target of 1.5°C, emissions must decrease by at least 28-42% by 2030 despite an adverse global context and increased energy insecurity that may slow down energy transition incentives (2). Although access to electricity has increased, the pace needs to accelerate along with reliability and affordability to ensure universal access. The clean energy transition will not only ensure we meet humanity’s climate goals but will also bring more monetary revenues, for instance through the use of solar and wind power to replace coal resources, which could save up to US$ 23 billion a year (3)

Mikkel Kristmoen, a youth champion from Norway, urges the international community to “no longer be blinded by the cheapness of hydrocarbons and blanket our world in smog and oil spills. Let us invest in wind and solar. Our descendants will thank us for it.”

The UN Joint SDG Fund aims to promote integrated policy solutions and financing solutions for just and green energy transitions, focusing on renewable energy production, transmission and access, especially for people who have been left behind. It will also facilitate the scale-up of inclusive, just, and green energy initiatives, including at the municipal level, to enhance access and affordability of clean energy.

We extend our thanks to Doha Debates for their support in bringing together the voices of young changemakers around the world to advocate for the Global Goals.


Join the movement using the hashtag #YouthSpeak at @JointSDGFund!


About United Nations’ Youth2030 vision

A world in which the human rights of every young person are realised; that ensures every young person is empowered to achieve their full potential; and that recognises young people’s agency, resilience and their positive contributions as agents of change. 


About United Nations Joint SDG Fund’s Youth Corner

The UN Joint SDG Fund’s Youth Corner is a youth platform where young people’s needs can be addressed, their voices amplified, and their engagement advanced as part of its Youth2030 mission.


About Doha Debates

Doha Debates engages a vanguard of intellectually curious truth-seekers to constructively debate differences in order to build a better future.


For further information about the incredible youth featured, you can connect with them via the links below:

Mohamadú Saido Baldé (Youth Champion): Website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram 

Mikkel Kristmoen (Student at Norwegian University of Life Sciences): LinkedIn


(1) UNEP (2020), Emissions Gap Report 2020

(2) UNEP (2023), Emissions Gap Report 2023

(3) IRENA (2020), Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2019, International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi.




The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.