Accelerating Energy Efficiency: Policy Briefs for the 2018 High Level Political Forum

The High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development meets annually in July, under the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), where countries present their Voluntary National Reviews (VRNs) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The HLPF also carries out thematic reviews of progress on the SDGs including cross-cutting issues. To facilitate an in-depth review of progress, the HLPF annually discusses a particular set of SDGs and their interlinkages. In 2018, the in-depth review will be carried out over SDGs 6, 7, 11, 12 and 15, as well as 17, which is reviewed annually.

As a Major Group Consultative Member for the ECOSOC Civil Society Network, my cooperative efforts are particularly focused on the private-public dialogue over policy briefs contained within the new publication “Accelerating SDG 7 achievement: Policy briefs in support of the first SDG 7 review at the UN High-Level Political Forum 2018”. The document was launched by the SDG7 Technical Advisory Group, in partnership with UN DESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and includes 27 policy briefs relating to accelerating SDG 7 achievement.

Policy Brief #6 Energy Technology Innovation: Digitalization of Grid Services. Increasing the speed of digitalized technology development could lead to a first-mover advantage for pioneering countries or companies.

  • The need for resilient infrastructure, increasing stress on resources, and decentralized supply) and enabled by the interaction of various disciplines such as data and information networks. As the rate of interlinkages increases and improvements in data and information networks accelerate, we can expect rapid advances in the innovations that exploit the interactions of these technologies.
  • Technology such as sensors, robotics and advanced analytics, which together form advanced interconnected systems capable of quickly analyzing large amounts of data, are developing potentially transformative solutions, across various sectors, for improving energy efficiency and managing more variable renewable energy. This development is driven by continuous improvements, and the cost-performance curve of core digital technology building blocks: computing power, data storage, and bandwidth utilization.

Policy Brief #14 Interlinkages Between Energy and Sustainable Cities: Smart Grid and Smart Buildings. Cities are adopting more energy efficient policies and practices in the transport, buildings, industry, and commercial sectors.

  • The number of energy efficient building codes adopted by countries, and by-law at city levels, has increased in the last five years.
  • Smart grids are enabling major energy efficiency and resilience gains. Using ICTs, the grid is able to manage energy demand and use most efficient energy source on the system.

The formal session to review SDG7 will take place on 10 July from 11:00 to 13:00, during the HLPF 2018 and Side Events sponsored by Member States, UN system and other intergovernmental organizations, Major Groups and other accredited stakeholders will be held in the margins of the event. More information on the HLPF 2018 can be found here.

Market research: Business environment in Brazil

Economy: Brazil is a developing country, currently facing great economic growth. Middle class is changing its consuming habits as a response to income increase and easier access to credit, but still suffers from great economic inequality and great shortage of qualified technical manpower, especially in the ITCs and engineering sectors. This enhances the obstacles to the appropriate infrastructure expansion needed in order to meet its economic growth, but it also represents an opportunity for foreign investors and specialized technical manpower. Abundant natural resources and strong agribusiness, mineral and energy sectors.

Most industrial economic activity, which includes automobiles, steel, petrochemicals, computers and steel, is focused around the southeastern states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, and São Paulo. Brazil’s agricultural sector is well diversified and the country is a world leader in producing sugarcane, coffee, soybeans, and orange juice. [1]

There are a number of promising areas for foreign exports and investment, including: agricultural equipment; agriculture; aircraft and parts; airports; computer software; e-commerce; highways; insurance; iron and Steel; IT hardware; medical equipment; mining; oil and gas; pharmaceuticals; pollution equipment; ports; railroads; safety and equipment; telecommunications and tourism. [2]

Foreign trade overview for 2011.1, compared to 2010.1 [3]

  • International trade in Brazil reached a record USD 223,6 bi. A 30,1% growth over the same period in 2010.

  • Basic goods exports increased 44%, semi-manufactured 29,6%, manufactured 19,1% and industrialized 50,3%

  • Destination markets: Exports to Asia showed a 37,9% increase, along with 23,9% for Latin America and the Caribbean, and 31,4% for the European Union.

  • For imports, the acquisition of raw materials and industrial supplies and materials represented 45,5% of total, while 21,5% where of capital goods. This shows strong correlation with productive investments.

  • Consumer goods imports increased 31,1%, fuel and oil 39,2%, capital goods 27,5% and raw material and industrial supplies and materials 24,8%.

Society and Culture

Brazil is a democratic and federation structured society, with a population of over 190 million people of vast ethnic and cultural diversity. Increase of minimal wage and expanded coverage of income transfer policies in past years have contributed to the recent changes in its distribution pyramid. [4]

Demography [5]

  • Metropolitan areas concentrate major population groups with large demographic density disparity between regions.

  • Lower fecundity and birth rates indicate the reduction of children and teenage population, while the increase of life expectancy shows older population growth. According to UN statistics, life expectancy in Brazil reaches 72,9 years.


  • In 2009, the population between 18 and 24 years old with 11 years of schooling was extremely low, at 37,9%. In the same year, 48,4% of students aged between 18 and 24 were at a graduation level of study.

  • In 2009, the illiterate population was still at 9,7% (14,1 million people). From this group, 32,9% were 60+ years old and 52,2% lived in the northeast region of the country. It is also a fact that Brazilian women are more literate than men.


  • There was a total of 58,6 million households in Brazil. 85% (49,8 million) located in urban areas, averaging 3,3 people per household (2009).

  • Only 62,6% of urban households were connected to the water supply and sewage systems, and offered waste management services. (North: 13,7%; Northeast: 37%; Southeast 85,1%)

  • 49,1% of households had a landline while 83,1%  of households had at least one person with a mobile phone. This is a reflection of the high cost of landline phone services and the absence of such service in many locations.

  • Internet access: 31,5%. Computer possession: 39,3%. An important note is that internet access needs great investments regarding service offer and accessible prices.

  • Two million children aged between 5 and 15 were under some type of labor; 44% of them located in Brazil.

  • 48,5% of low income families where situated in northeast (2009).


  • The elderly population of 60+ years old accounted for 11,3% of the population. 55,8% of this group were women, and 30,7% had less than one year of schooling.

  • In 2009, 48,2% of the population declared being of white race (mostly European ethnicity); and a growth of indigenous population in rural and urban areas.


[1] US Department of Commerce. Doing Business in Brazil. Access on August 31, 2011.

[2] Ibid.

[3] MDIC. Balança Comercial. Access on August 24, 2011.

[4] Portal Brasil. Business Environment in Brazil. Access on August 24, 2011. pp. 28-29.

[5] IBGE. Síntese de indicadores sociais. Access on August 24, 2011.