Asia-Pacific: UN launches Sustainable Energy for All Decade, regional hub

Village shop at dusk in Sri Lanka lit by solar panels. Photo: World Bank/Dominic Sansoni

18 June 2014 – With an estimated 628 million people in Asia- and the Pacific lacking access to electricity and more than 1.8 billion using natural fuels, the United Nation office in the region launched today the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), underscoring the importance of clean forms of electricity in the post-2015 developing agenda.

The goals of the 2014-2024 UN Decade, launched two weeks ago, echo the priorities set out by UN Secretary’s General Ban Ki-moon in his eponymous 2011initiative to reach universal access to energy services and double the amount of renewable energy available by 2030.

The UN Decade was launched regionally today in Manila, Philippines. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) also launched a Regional Hub to tackle energy issues at the country level.

“ESCAP is pleased to be part of the collaboration among the three agencies in establishing the SE4ALL Regional Hub,” said Shun-ichi Murata, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP during his opening remarks.

“The Regional Hub will leverage the existing structures of ESCAP, UNDP and ADB energy programs and integrate the strengths of all three development partners to support the achievement of the SE4ALL goals in the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr. Murata explained.

Accessing forms of clean energy resources is seen as key factor in improving the environment and in making a positive impact on the socio-economic conditions of citizens. New ‘eco-friendly’ activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and indoor air pollution could drastically improve the living conditions of existing and future generations.

“Our partnership underscores the strong belief that everywhere in the world, people need access to reliable, affordable and clean energy services to ensure they thrive economically and be able to manage their lives” said Kandeh K. Yumkella, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and CEO of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, suggesting also how the Regional Hub would allow positive changes in the clean-energy landscape.

The SE4ALL Hub aims to bolster information sharing, forging partnerships and providing a platform for cooperation around specific action areas.

In particular, “Universal access to modern energy means providing energy for schools, health clinics, small business and other productive services that improve lives” Manager of the UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre, Caitlin Wiesen said today. She added “This new hub will be an important resource for countries looking for clean energy solutions that serve the poor.”

Since its launch in 2011, the Suitable Energy for All initiative seems to have been successful in obtaining a consistent support worldwide. More than 75 countries have joined this network to ultimately support clean and sustainable energy.


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