Universal access to energy: Getting the framework right | Veerle Vandeweerd

19 Jun 2012

Improving access to affordable and sustainable energy services is absolutely central to broader development efforts to reduce poverty, and improve education, health, gender equality and environmental sustainability.

Globally, 1.4 billion people across the globe lack access to electricity (85% of whom live in rural areas), and 2.7 billion people (approximately 40% of the global population) rely on solid fuels for cooking and heating.

Currently, the largest concentrations of the ‘‘energy poor’’ (that is, people who are both poor and lack access to sustainable modern forms of energy) are in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Recent projections suggest that the problem will not only persist, but in fact deepen in the longer term without an international recognition and commitment to effect change.

The challenge of increasing access to sustainable and cost-effective energy for the poor has to be met by setting new and bold targets for financing and implementation at the global and country level.

Given its capacity as the lead development organization of the UN, UNDP is supporting the publication of a Report on ‘‘Universal access to energy: Getting the framework right’’. This report is the unique outcome of collaboration amongst experts focused on addressing key issues emanating from Africa and Asia, two regions of the world where lack of access to energy cripples the daily lives of the poor.

It is my hope that this report will serve as a global catalyst to promote analyses, dialogue and dissemination of innovative policies, assessments, tools and modalities that address energy access for the poor in a manner that is directly relevant to the needs and concerns of developing countries.

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