Wednesday, June 22, 2011

UNDP joins the sustainable energy for all campaign

Vienna, Austria, 21 June 2011

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has joined other UN agencies and partners in a call to provide every human on earth with access to modern energy services within the next 20 years. Meeting at an international energy forum in Vienna, 21-23 June, UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan said: “Achieving universal access to modern energy by 2030 is possible and can lift more than a billion people out of extreme energy poverty. The additional investment required is about $40 billion per year until 2030, less than three percent of total global energy investment,” citing the findings of a joint analysis by the International Energy Agency, UNDP and United Nations Industrial Development Organization, “Energy Poverty: How to make modern energy access universal?”

Today, 1.4 billion people are still without electricity access, and 3 billion use firewood and other biomass and coal as fuel for cooking and heat, causing indoor pollution and leading to diseases that kill two million people every year. Some 1,000 participants at the Vienna Energy Forum are discussing how to create momentum for universal energy access while also reducing the amount of carbon produced through energy supply and consumption.

“We have to build a momentum for a global movement for universal energy access,” said Grynspan. “We need to invest in capacity development to create enabling policy, regulatory frameworks and effective institutions and we must partner with the private sector and civil society that drives innovation, brings investments and creates jobs.”

The UN General Assembly has designated 2012 “International Year for Sustainable Energy for All”. Universal access is one of the key focus areas for a high level summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June next year. UNDP has assisted countries in investing more than US$2.5 billion over the last decade in projects that have brought sustainable energy to 10 million poor around the world. For example, in Nepal, more than 100,000 people benefited from an off-grid network of micro-hydropower systems set up with UNDP and the World Bank support. This is one of many UNDP local initiatives which are being carried out as fully fledged, expanded programmes.

In an effort to support governments in setting their countries on low-emission, climate resilient development paths, UNDP recently launched “Catalysing Climate Finance”, a step-by-step guide enabling governments attract clean energy investments by identifying and implementing an optimal mix of public policies, public funding and national and international legislation.

“Achieving universal energy access is a top priority for UNDP,” concluded Grynspan. “The three goals being proposed towards 2030: universal energy access, 40 percent energy intensity reduction and achieving 30 percent renewable energy in the global energy mix, provide an important starting point for the discussions in the global policy processes such as Rio+20, UNFCCC and the post 2015 Millennium Development Goals agenda. With our presence in 176 countries and territories, we’re ready to support countries achieve universal energy access and sustainable energy transitions.”

For more information on UNDP’s work:
The Analysis “Energy Poverty: How to make modern energy access universal?”, can be downloaded

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