Tom Wallace of ONE’s Global Policy Team in London kicks off our new blog series on energy poverty with comments from the European Union Sustainable Energy for All Summit.
On Monday the European Union (EU) became the first developed country group to make clear commitments to the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative to help increase energy access in developing countries.
A video from the event:
The pledge to help developing country governments provide electricity access to 500 million citizens by 2030 was delivered by EU President José Manuel Barroso in front of high-level experts in the field including African and European ministers and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Germany also used the event to confirm their individual commitment to increase their overseas renewable energy funding. As part of the €500 million pledge, the European nation will help support developing country governments in the challenge to increase electricity access to 100 million people.
Their pledges come not a moment too soon. Electricity provision is crucial for poverty alleviation as it is integral to health care, education services and job creation. It is not secret that a lack of modern energy access traps millions in poverty. But the International Energy Agency finds that prior commitments to address energy poverty do not do enough. Current pledges would leave nearly 50 percent of Africans without electricity come 2030, seriously limiting poverty alleviation on the continent. The above pledges from the EU President and Germany are both timely and very welcome.
The European Commission also used the event to announce a new EU Technical Assistance Facility that will spend in excess of €50 million over the next two years to assist African governments in the establishment of governance structure and technical capacity to make this electrical provision possible. Further announcements clarifying some of the specifics of implementing these pledges are expected in the run up to the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in June. We hope that the importance of energy access will also feature prominently at next week’s Clean Energy Ministerial in London and that other nations will provide similar support to this crucial issue.
ONE would like to officially congratulate EU President Barroso, the German government, and European Commission on their ambitious pledges and commitments. We hope to congratulate many more leaders in the near future!
In the weeks ahead stay tuned to the ONE Blog for more posts on energy access and keep an eye out for our new Hot Topic page on Sustainable Energy.
Join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #energy4all, and be sure to tweet Tom Wallace at @TomIanWallace.