The individuals and efforts recognised are leading and driving action on Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), the call for universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.

The celebration, hosted at Bloomberg LP, was held as government representatives gathered in New York City for the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development. This year’s HLPF includes a progress review on SDG7 for the first time.

As new research released at the SEforALL Forum shows, we are currently not on track to meet global energy goals set out in SDG7. The leadership, innovation and commitment shown by these Seven for 7 honorees, however, is proof that with the passion, dedication and right opportunity, we can all go further, faster – together – to meet SDG7 on time.

The seven leaders represent government, business, and finance, as well as the community of Ashden Award winners, who are having an impact globally and in countries from Afghanistan to India and Mexico to Saint Lucia. Their success and passion are driving action and making progress across all measures of access, efficiency and renewables, offering the broader SDG7 community momentum and new ideas on how to replicate, learn from and scale up solutions.

“The leadership stories we’re hearing tonight give me hope that we can make faster progress on SDG7,” said Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All. “We are not on track to realize the global goals by 2030. Their urgency requires leadership. These stories illustrate the difference leadership can make - speeding pace of renewable energy development, accelerating energy efficiency gains and scaling access to energy increasingly with distributed renewable energy. Their leadership will mean more people get the health care they need, the air quality they must have and the chance to be productive in their one local economies. Together, we can go further, faster"

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Founder-Director of Ashden, said: “Increasing access to sustainable energy has the potential to transform billions of lives around the world. There is a huge opportunity here for investors of all types to get behind the green energy curve and support game-changing businesses models. This will require bold commitment and financial innovation on a par with this global challenge, but I firmly believe it is possible.”

Read more about the Seven leaders here.