International community tackles energy poverty for MDGs

Sep 29, 2010

International Community Must Tackle Energy Poverty to Speed Achievement of Development Goals

New York ― UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on countries to work together to provide reliable sources of energy to the one fifth of the world’s population currently beyond the reach of the electricity grid.

At an event to launch a groundbreaking publication focusing on the billions of people without access to electricity or clean cooking facilities, Ban Ki-moon said: “I urge countries to work together – along with the UN-Energy programme – to create energy access initiatives.”

“Lack of political will is the real obstacle to ensuring all people have access to affordable and reliable sources of energy for their daily lives,” he said during a high-level launch event in the sidelines of a UN summit in New York to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The report, Energy poverty: How to make modern energy access universal, investigates the energy-access challenges confronted by many developing countries, putting in jeopardy MDG achievement by the globally agreed deadline of 2015.

Twenty percent (or 1.4 billion) of the world’s population is without electricity access, and 40 percent (or 2.7 billion) currently rely on organic or plant matter as cooking fuel, says the report, a joint effort between the International Energy Agency, UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

To meet the MDG 1 of eradicating extreme poverty by 2015, an additional 395 million people would need access to electricity and an additional one billion access to clean cooking facilities. This would require annual investment of US$41 billion between 2010 and 2015.

A new financial, institutional and technological framework is required, says the report, as is capacity development and training to dramatically scale up access to modern energy services at local and regional levels.

“A new collaborative programme of UNDP, the UN Environment Programme and UNIDO - the United Nations Energy Access Facility (UN-EAF) - aims at supporting developing countries to dramatically expand access to modern and clean energy services for the poor”, said Olav Kjorven, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director, Bureau for Development Policy.

Olav Kjorven said: “As the host of the UN Resident Coordinator (RC) system at the country level, UNDP is confident, fully prepared and committed to dramatically scaled-up efforts and programmes and take a leadership role to galvanize actions to expanding energy access on the ground.”

For more information about the high level event and the publication, please visit

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