UNDP-EU support Parliamentary Action on Renewable Energy
Chronic power shortage is a major problem in many developing countries. At the same time, countries in Africa, Asia and the Arab region have rich potential in renewable energies like solar, wind, hydroelectric or biomass energy. If harnessed, these resources could provide unlimited energy needed to lift the poor out of poverty and help reduce gender inequalities, without accelerating climate change. The lack of national legal frameworks, policies and financial resources are major obstacles that should be overcome to be able to provide renewable energy for a significant portion of the world’s population. Parliaments are key national institutions for the development, promotion and funding of renewable energy projects.
The Parliamentary Action on Renewable Energy (PARE) project aims to build the capacity of parliamentarians to strengthen their advocacy and monitoring of the development of renewable energy sources and to promote policy and regulatory reform to encourage investment in renewables. This 3-year initiative, which started in January 2012, has a budget of over EUR 3.1 million. The EU contribution to the project is of EUR 2.5 million .
Project promotes use of renewable energy
The project helps countries to generate renewable energy in a wide range of contexts, from large-scale solar power stations or wind farms, to small-scale biogas digesters which can turn agricultural waste into cooking gas for a single household. In addition, it encourages the development of both long-distance, cross-border grid connections linking as many people as possible to areas where renewable energy is most abundant, and village mini-grids enabling communities that are far from the national grid to harness local solar, wind, small hydro, biomass or other renewable resources. Wherever opportunities arise, the project also seeks to address closely related themes such as energy efficiency and climate adaptation.
Through this collaboration, UNDP and its implementing partner, Climate Parliament, build regional networks of Members of Parliament (MPs) and national cross-party parliamentary groups in ten priority countries (Bangladesh, Congo-Brazzaville, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Tunisia) to promote renewable energy.
Examples at country level
Bangladesh, for instance, launched an official Climate Parliament Group in September 2012. This cross-party group includes male and female MPs and is representative of the three main parties of Bangladesh: the Bangladesh Awami League, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, and the Bangladesh Jaitya Party. The Group organised a Round Table discussion with experts and government officials within the Bangladesh Parliament, to identify key issues and challenges for the development of renewable energy in the country and discuss the revision of the country’s 2008 Renewable Energy Law.
The national cross-party parliamentary groups meet bi-annually to present renewable energy success stories from their countries, learn from each other’s experience of undertaking parliamentary initiatives, and share best practice. Those events are also an occasion to underline their support for renewable energy.
MPs from the Middle East and North Africa region, are also committed to hold parliamentary meetings in their national parliaments to educate other legislators on climate change and open channels between national parliaments and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), civil society groups and private firms working on sustainability.
To cement the engagement of the participants and to further their technical knowledge, the UNDP-supported Portal for Parliamentary Development AGORA has created a dedicated space for MPs on renewable energy issues and a first E-discussion has been launched on the subject of ‘Legislating for Renewable Energy’.
Through this project, UNDP and its implementing partner also facilitate technical advice to parliamentarians to promote well-informed and implemented policies and legislative and regulatory frameworks.
In India, the MPs of the Climate Parliament Group called in December 2012 on the Minister of Finance and the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission to raise renewable investment to 1% of the country’s national budget, which was subsequently recommended by the Estimates Committee’s and supported by the Prime Minister.