A public review of the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal No. 7 in Belarus has been published



During the 2015 UN General Assembly all UN member countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which committed to achieving 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals. Today humanity is in the middle of the path to achieving them. Unfortunately, numerous studies indicate that progress towards SDGs is not sufficient and, if the current pace continues, many of the goals will not be achieved. This, in particular, was discussed at the UN SDGs Summit held in September 2023.

In this regard, it is very important that every country could monitor the SDGs achievement at local level. It is even more important that researchers conducting this monitoring should be as objective as possible, which is best implemented in the format of public monitoring (review) of the process of the SDGs achievement.

In 2022-2023, a group of Belarusian experts prepared a series of reviews on various SDGs within the framework of the project “Institutional integration of the 2030 Agenda in Belarus and other Eastern Partnership countries”, implemented by the Dortmund International Education Center supported by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).

We bring to your attention a public review of the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7 “Ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources for all” in the Republic of Belarus.

An analysis of specific targets within SDG 7, carried out by experts, shows that the indicators adopted in Belarus fully reflect the goals set and, in some cases, look even more logical than global indicators. At the same time, the authors note that the priority targets of this SDG is aimed at using clean types of energy, switching to renewable sources and increasing energy efficiency. Accordingly, the review focuses primarily on these aspects.

The analysis is complicated by the fact that after 2020 Belstat stopped publishing some energy-related statistics, such as data on the energy intensity of GDP. The authors were able to partially restore the time series using official statements by government officials in the media.

Comparative analysis of the State energy saving program for 2016-2020. and 2021-2025 demonstrates the following dynamics according to the main parameters:


Program for 2016-2020

Program for 2021-2025

Total savings of fuel and energy resources, million t



Percentage of local fuels 



Percentage of the renewable energy sources



Reducing the energy intensity of GDP



In general, the authors note the rather low ambition of government programs and projects to achieve SDG № 7. For example, the ratio of the volume of production (extraction) of primary energy from renewable energy sources (RES) to gross consumption of fuel and energy resources is set at 7% by 2025 and 8% by 2030. The energy intensity of GDP over 10 years (2020-2030) is planned to be reduced by only 13%, which also cannot be considered an ambitious goal.

In addition, national legislation does not create enough economic stimulus for the development of renewable energy sources. This is confirmed, in particular, by the decision to abandon quotas for the commissioning of installations using renewable energy sources, adopted in 2021 for three years. A comparison of Belarus with other countries shows that in terms of the share of renewable energy sources in final consumption, Belarus lags significantly behind the indicators of Central Europe and the Baltic countries.


Comparison of countries by share of RES in final consumption

In the field of energy industry management, experts note a number of features characteristic of Belarus:

  • the electricity sector is completely controlled at the national level with virtually no participation from local authorities;

  • there is no separation of the functions of the State as an owner and as a regulator. As a result, many authorities, in particular the Ministry of Energy, carry out regulatory activities and at the same time own assets for the production of electrical and thermal energy.

The second factor, according to the authors, not only creates barriers to the development of competition, but also does not contribute to the creation of motivation to improve energy efficiency. In fact, the Ministry of Energy is interested in increasing the consumption of heat and electricity, gas and peat, which contradicts energy saving goals.

In general, the authors of the review note the presence in Belarus of complex cross-subsidization schemes and economic relationships between participants in the energy market, which creates additional risks for the functioning of this sector.

The authors also note that in recent years, gasification of houses, as well as electrification of heat supply, has been actively carried out in Belarus. This direction appeared in connection with the need to integrate nuclear power plants into the energy system of Belarus. The positive here is that partially unclean fuels (wood and peat) are replaced by electrical energy, but this creates an additional element of government subsidy, which will only increase as this practice expands.

Thus, the authors conclude that Belarus is working to expand the use of clean energy and increase its availability. However, from the entire list of implemented measures, only those that offer significant government subsidies or administrative control work. At the same time, the creation of additional mechanisms for general subsidies worsens the economic state of the energy sector, distorts economic incentives and creates problems in the future when such practices will have to be abandoned.

It is important to note that until 2020, a large number of international projects of various scales were implemented in Belarus. Only within the framework of the international initiative “Covenant of Mayors” 5 projects were implemented for a total amount of about 3.4 million euros. Thus, a significant driver in the movement to achieve the goals of reliable and affordable energy supply were projects financed by international financial institutions (EBRD, WB, EU, GEF), which have now either ceased work in Belarus or are completing existing projects with no plans to launch new ones.

In addition to the above-mentioned projects, in the period 2015–2020, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) implemented a significant number of small projects, which were especially noticeable in terms of informing the population and working with local problems. At the same time, NGOs had unique competencies in solving local problems, and were also interested in the most effective distribution of resources and in direct work with the population. Taking into account the liquidation of many NGOs since 2021, activity in this area has noticeably decreased.

Thus, the authors of the review note that despite many achievements in ensuring universal access to inexpensive, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources, Belarus today faces the threat of an almost complete stop of development in achieving SDG 7 and the urgent task is to at least maintain the current level of achievement relevant indicators.

At the end of the review, the authors formulate a number of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of efforts to achieve SDG №7, as well as increase the use of available resources. The authorities of Belarus, in particular, are recommended to adopt the already developed National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency, and also consider the possibility of participating in the Energy Community.

The full text of the review is available here (Russian language).

Other public reviews prepared by Belarusian experts can be found in the “SDG Monitoring” section of the website.

Fill in this field