Towards SDG 7: Mapping evidence of access to sustainable energy in L&MICs
With the slowing down of progress towards SDG 7, we move into the second phase of the 2030 agenda with more urgent questions about what interventions are effective to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the war in Ukraine aggravated the global energy crisis resulting in the scaling back of even basic electricity access around the world. To provide an overview of the rigorous evidence on sustainable energy interventions, 3ie is producing an evidence gap map (EGM) in collaboration with Sustainable Energy for All.
The energy crisis affects individuals across regions and demographics, especially in low- and middle-income countries (L&MICs). For example, many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are behind other African countries in terms of access to electricity (UNDESA 2023a), while in Latin America and the Caribbean, gender inequalities in accessing renewable energy sources still persist (UNDESA 2023b). The EGM findings will inform future research, programming and policy by helping understand what interventions are proven to work in increasing energy access, efficiency, and the use of renewables.
What we know about sustainable energy interventions
In the past decade, there have been advances in access to electricity and a decrease in the cost of some renewable energies (GSDR 2023). Previous reviews have emphasized the need for further evaluations on electricity access (Bayer et al. 2020) and energy efficiency interventions in L&MICs (Berretta et al. 2021). While reviews and gap maps exist on access, renewables and efficiency – to date there has been no mapping of the rigorous evidence across all three of these sustainable energy pillars.
Mapping evidence (and gaps)
We will identify and collate ongoing and existing impact evaluations and systematic reviews on the effects of interventions increasing access to electricity, renewable energy or energy efficiency. To be included in the map, primary studies must be based on a rigorous experimental or quasi-experimental design or must be a systematic effectiveness review. Pre-analysis plans and ongoing evaluations will also be included.
How you can help validate our literature search
We will conduct a comprehensive search of both academic and grey literature and are keen to supplement our searches with inputs from policymakers, development practitioners and researchers. We are especially interested in uncovering research that is yet to be published. By reaching out to the energy community, we want to reduce the risk of missing out on relevant evidence within our map.
The protocol for the EGM covers the scope of our map in detail, including the types of interventions and outcomes included and other criteria for study inclusion (see Figure 1). The following intervention groupings related to the energy sector are included:
- Legal and regulatory frameworks and policies
- Financial incentives and market-enabling activities
- Electrification and energy infrastructure interventions
- Information and capacity development interventions
If you know of a study that might be relevant to this EGM or have any views to share on the subject, please comment below and/or contact Zafeer Ravat (email@example.com).
We are accepting study suggestions till 18 August 2023.