Solar Electric Light Fund

Energy Is A Human Right


Bob Freling, Executive Director

The time is now to declare energy a human right.

Without energy, there is no way to light our homes, pump water, store vaccines, run computers, operate machinery, or communicate with the rest of the world. It is a cornerstone of modern civilization, yet 1.5 billion people still have no access to electricity. This is unacceptable.

For nearly 20 years, I’ve been advocating that energy is a human right, and for just as long, the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) has been fighting energy poverty by implementing solar energy solutions in developing countries to assist rural communities with economic, education, health and agricultural development.

Too often, the role of energy in meeting basic human needs, as well as in safeguarding a broad range of human rights, has been overlooked. For example, energy access was not included as a Millennium Development Goal when they were introduced in 2000 by the United Nations, yet it is an absolute prerequisite for achieving each of them.

Thankfully, progress is being made. Recently, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon formally launched the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, whose goals are to ensure universal access to modern energy services for the world’s poor, double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

I am excited about this initiative and look forward to working with the U.N. to achieve its goals. But we can do more: we can make energy a human right.

Join our campaign by being the voice of those living in energy poverty. It’s simple – sign our petition to make energy a human right and stay informed about our progress; support our work in the field; or spread the word about our campaign on Twitter and Facebook.

Working together we can have a tremendous impact on people’s lives!

To read more about energy as a human right, please visit


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