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Strengthening national capacities to design and implement sustainable energy policies for the production and use of biofuels in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Background:

In spite of the progress achieved through energy systems reform (i.e., production efficiency gains, increased investments in supply expansion, and more transparency in pricing, etc.), a number of important challenges or gaps in energy policies are still outstanding in the Latin American and Caribbean region, such as:  the effective integration of social and environmental dimensions into the sustainable use of energy resources, the absorption and dissemination of new energy technologies, the improvement of regulatory frameworks and public policy processes to ensure that the region’s energy trend is fully aligned and supportive of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), specifically No. 1 – Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and No. 7. Ensure environmental sustainability.

Today biofuels are a reality in several countries of the region.  However, little progress has been made on the evaluation of sustainable economic, social and environmental production and use. From a comprehensive point of view, insufficient knowledge is available on the impact of massive biofuel production on food security, taking into consideration not only the effects on food production but also the concerns on food access and its use.  The clarification of these concerns requires a major knowledge of the dynamics between a country’s energy sector, and first. and second generation biofuel markets, as well as the factors affecting the formation and transmission of prices along energy, biofuels and agricultural commodity markets.

The project seeks to contribute to overcoming these gaps through institutional strengthening and improved capacity to implement effective policy instruments and regulations on the entire biofuel production chain is an important development goal for Latin American and Caribbean countries. More specifically, it aims at strengthening the capacity of countries to formulate and implement energy strategies, policies and measures that promote the use of SETs, particularly the sustainable production and use of biofuels, while ensuring that national development of energy resources remains on a sustainable path.

Objective:

To strengthen the capacity of Latin American and Caribbean governments to design and implement sustainable energy policies for the production and use of biofuels.

Expected Accomplishments:

  • Policy makers are provided with more comprehensive analysis for promoting sustainable production and use of biofuels.

  • Enhanced technical capacity in Latin American countries to design and apply policies for sustainable biofuel production and use to reduce poverty and mitigate global warming.
  • Increased regional collaborations to promote sustainable biofuel production through the creation of a Latin American Sustainable Biofuels Alliance, (LASBA)

Implementation Status:

The project has entered in its full operative phase in both Central America and South America. In Central America the first round of field missions and the first deliverable - LEAP (Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning System) scenarios and related prospective studies were completed in all 7 countries (Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic). In South America the first round of field missions was completed in Colombia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay and the prospective studies based on the developed LEAP energy scenarios were completed in the case of Chile and Colombia.

It is expected that application of the LEAP model installed in these government offices will make an important contribution to the promotion of energy planning, and support a more efficient and rationally informed policy making.

The capacity-building activities were initiated with the organization of the Chilean National training Workshop on Energy Planning with the LEAP model, held in Santiago, Chile, which strengthened capacities of more the 30 participants from Chilean government agencies, universities and professionals from the energy planning, transport, agriculture and environmental community.