The Energy Challenge for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals

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Energy must play a more prominent role in strategies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Consumption of modern energy services by the poor falls far short of needs – and potential. Today’s situation, this report argues, “entrenches poverty, constrains the delivery of social services, limits opportunities for women, and erodes environmental sustainability at the local, national and global levels.” International experience gives guidance as to what can successfully be done to provide much wider access to energy services for poor people. This report entitled “The Energy Challenge for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals” is the first by UN-Energy, and presents specific recommendations for linking production and access to energyservices to poverty reduction programmes and national MDG strategies and campaigns.The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) requested in its Johannesburg Plan of Implementation that a new collaborative mechanism between United Nations agencies, programmes and institutions be formed. In response, UN-Energy was created in 2004 as the principal interagency mechanism in the field of energy. Its purpose is to help ensurecoherence in the UN system’s multi-disciplinary response to WSSD and to collectively engage non-UN stakeholders. This innovation in the way the UN system works is still in its infancy. We will build a solid basis to realize cooperativeapproaches, synergies in implementation and efficiency of effort in achieving the objectives as laid out by the UN intergovernmental bodies and as committed to in the recently published UN system report to the 2005 World Summit, “OneUnited Nations-Catalyst for Progress and Change”. In this way, we will do our part to improve the management of global issues. We recognize our responsibility to work with accountability across institutional boundaries.The September 2005 World Summit in New York will give further guidance to enhance the work of the UN system. Following the summit, UN-Energy will focus on its collective contribution to the Commission on Sustainable Development,which in 2006 and 2007 will have energy on its agenda. Our work program presently addresses energy access, particularly in Africa, renewable energy including biomass fuels, energyefficiency, and instruments for policy integration, capacity building and awareness raising at the country level. Taking the opportunity to meet at other events, such as the Energy forDevelopment conference in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, in December 2004, the World Bank Energy Week in March 2005, and the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy in Vienna in May 2005, we will in future develop our engagementwith stakeholders.This report was chosen as our first because of the centrality of providing energy services in the pursuit of the MDGs; a key topic for the international community in this year. The report reflects the insights and experience of participating UNorganizations. It was drafted by a team from the World Bank and UNDP, and extensively discussed and commented upon by UN-Energy members before being finalized. We offer it toinform and vitalize dialogue on national and global policy choice, and to support public and private sector investment in energy services to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

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