The initiative takes as starting point that "more than 1.4 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity, and 1 billion more only have intermittent access. Some 2.5 billion people – almost half of humanity – rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating." Energy is crucial to human development, abatement of poverty and, in doing so, peace. On that point, see the statement from the Vienna Energy Forum participants on "Universal energy access can secure growth and freedom" dated 21 June 2011. In the same time, most part of the challenge is to support access to energy in a sustainable manner, i.e. that will benefit people's economic and social development while respecting the environment. This requires both knowledge sharing and technology sharing. This is also why energy efficiency must be promoted simultaneously.
- Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
In recognition of the importance of energy access for sustainable economic development and supporting achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations General Assembly has designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All."