The role of electricity in development has long been recognized. Providing access to electricity contributes to poverty reduction efforts and economic growth. Furthermore, the increasing impact of energy consumption and production on the environment emphasizes the need for the electric power sector to decrease environmental pressures.
Information and indicators related to the electric power sector help to measure the effectiveness of policies in achieving the Millennium Development Goals including poverty reduction, equitable growth and environmental sustainability. One of ESCAP's roles is to provide information, data and other relevant parameters to policy-makers related to the electric power sector, which can in turn be used for planning, implementing and monitoring development.
Traditionally, the electric power sector has focused on its contribution to economic development, with less emphasis on the social and environmental impacts. In this context, the Ad hoc Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Sustainable Development Indicators for the Power Sector held from 17 to 19 July 2007 aimed to support analytical work in monitoring the effectiveness and impact of the electric power sector to enable policy-makers in the Asia Pacific region to plan for sustainable energy development. The outcome of these discussions reflected better linkages between the electric power sector and social development and environmental sustainability.