Energy Security and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific

Energy Security and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific

Date: 
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract

Over the past few years, energy security and sustainable development have moved up the global agenda. There are two main reasons for this: first, the impact of high and often volatile energy prices; second, concerns over environmental sustainability and particularly about the global climate. Both issues are critically important for Asia and the Pacific—a region in which impressive economic growth has boosted the demand for energy and put corresponding strains on the environment. To pursue energy security, the countries of the region will want to ensure that energy supplies are available, sufficient, affordable and sustainable. This will mean taking a broad range of measures: conserving and raising energy efficiency; rationalizing pricing and taxation systems; improving energy sector governance; and diversifying energy supplies, in particular making greater use of alternative and renewable resources. Energy-producing and -importing countries also need the appropriate legal frameworks, regulatory environments and systems for pricing and taxation, along with fair and transparent processes that will encourage public-private partnerships for developing energy infrastructure. At the same time, they will want to consider the ecological and social implications. Across the region, some 1.7 billion people still rely heavily on traditional biomass for cooking and heating, and almost 1 billion lack electricity. This has enormous socio-economic costs—degrading the environment, spreading disease, increasing child mortality and weakening social services. It also restricts the opportunities for women, who have to gather and use traditional fuels. All of these have major implications for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): without better access to energy services, many of the MDGs may be missed.

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