Power Can Challenge Poverty ? And That Makes Universal Energy Access a Must
Monday, October 17, 2011
Earlier this week, decision makers came together in Oslo to launch Energy+, the international energy and climate initiative. It promises to be a landmark contribution towards securing sustainable energy for all by 2030.
The need for such progress is clear, given that half the world’s population live without modern energy, the majority of people cook on an open fire, and two out of three families in sub-Saharan Africa are without electricity.
Access to modern energy sources transforms lives and is critical to development and moving people out of poverty. But we are making very slow progress in this area. In fact, projections show that just as many women, men and children will be living in energy poverty two decades from now. That’s not development, it’s injustice. So the Energy+ initiative is welcome, acknowledging as it does that neither current levels of financing nor existing programmes are sufficient to address the scale of current challenges.
A long overdue global consensus is emerging, led by the UN and its secretary general Ban Ki-moon, which recognises the importance of sustainable energy access for the wellbeing of the world’s people, the future of the global economy and the preservation of our planet.
As energy moves up the political agenda, however, it’s important that the needs of communities living without energy access are not forgotten. High-level declarations must be translated into delivery, in ways that make a meaningful and positive difference across the developing world.