Widening Energy Access and Enhancing Energy Security to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific

Widening Energy Access and Enhancing Energy Security to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific

Saturday, December 1, 2012

In the Asia-Pacific region, almost two billion people are dependent on the traditional use of biomass and close to 700 million have no access to electricity. Among the various prevalent options, grid-based electrification has so far been the most widely used option, with renewable energy options accounting for a very small proportion. In the cooking and heating sectors, especially among rural households, biomass accounts for more than 30 per cent of total energy consumption in many developing countries, and in some Asia-Pacific countries its share stands as high as 95 per cent. Traditional use of biomass for cooking and heating has serious impacts on the health and well-being of people, especially of women and children.

However, despite its relevance, cooking energy has attracted relatively less attention from policymakers. In 2009, while a majority of countries had set ambitious targets for reaching electricity to its people, few had set targets for improved cooking fuels. With the existing policies, the future scenario is not likely to very different. In 2030, one billion people globally are still likely to be without electricity. The number of people without access to electricity in developing Asia is likely to decrease by almost 45 per cent, from 675 million people in 2009 to 375 million in 2030. In developing Asia, the number of people without access to clean cooking facilities will decline from 1.9 billion in 2009 to around 1.7 billion in 2030.

In working towards achieving these targets, the following actions are recommended in working towards APEF:
 Launch an initiative to measure, benchmark and monitor progress on energy access;
 Create a database on energy services for livelihoods including motive power;
 Undertake documentation of innovative processes and practices in energy access and setting up of an information hub on good practices can prove useful in establishing the links between various existing centers, networks and organizations;
 Capacity development of national policymakers to help translate the stated political support towards energy access into concrete actions;
 Promote a regional oil strategy, including working towards building up and maintaining oil storage facilities, and coordinate the maintenance of emergency stockpiles among countries in the region.
 Facilitate interministerial dialogues at national level to maximize the impact of energy
access interventions;
 Develop a policy and action agenda note on energy access, which can be used as a tool for advocacy at APEF and afterwards at national and subnational levels;
 Conduct a preparatory meeting for APEF, with participation from senior government officials and others who can influence national policies, sharing concrete evidence from developing countries to demonstrate successful energy access strategies and their contribution to poverty reduction, and inform policymakers about ways to develop such strategies, policies and programmes in a more systematic, cost-effective and culturally harmonious manner.