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Development Account Projects

Capacity-building on climate change mitigation for poverty alleviation in Western Asia

Background:

In many developing countries, more than 70 per cent of the population lives in isolated rural communities, where they depend mainly on biomass in the form of firewood and charcoal to meet their energy needs. Lack of energy services has exacerbated the cycle of extreme poverty in these rural areas, resulting in poor social and economic conditions and has had an adverse impact on basic issues such as food security, water supply, health care, education, communication, and overall development. Uncontrolled use of biomass has also resulted in deforestation, land degradation, increased emission of greenhouse gases directly impacting climate change.

The proposed action is a delivery-oriented sustainable capacity-building programme and a nucleus for small business start-ups for the promotion of renewable energy technology applications that could spur development in rural areas, and expedite the deployment and implementation of these applications for sustainable development, climate change mitigation, and poverty alleviation.

ESCWA and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are in the process of establishing a Renewable Energy Education Park that is intended to host a series of activities at different levels in the field of renewable energy technologies. In this context, the Park is planned to be used as a venue to implement the proposed action through national capacity-building and information-sharing among all stakeholders in the area of renewable energy promotion, with a special focus on improved participation of the local government authorities in rural municipalities. Hence the project seeks to build capacity of governments and other stakeholders for promoting renewable energy services in rural areas. The UNESCO African Global Energy Education and Training Programme will be used as one of the training modules.

Special regional technical capacity-building and education programmes in the area of designing and implementing the renewable energy technology pilot systems will be implemented to target college students and technical personnel in the field. Among others, the pilot systems will include 10-25 kW wind turbine designs, thermal solar collectors and Photovoltaic (PV) cells and water pumps, a hydrogen electrolyser and a fuel cell, small hydropower demonstration. The project will focus on countries with special needs taking into account lessons learned and experiences from different regions. Through regional and subregional networking, policy options, good practices and lessons learned will be shared among all participating countries. The renewable energy technology pilot systems will then be used for raising public awareness in the area.

Collaboration with ESCAP and ECA will be sought in the development of guidelines and a set of training modules on enabling the environment for establishing publicprivate partnerships and criteria for selection of appropriate partnership models responsive to specific development needs. Collaboration will also include setting up interregional workshops and working groups to share best practices and raise awareness of policymakers. Engaging the private sector in providing energy services in rural areas through public-private partnerships is seen as a viable strategic option. It will enhance government's capacity to develop integrated solutions, facilitate creative and innovative approaches to utilize the private sector's capital, technology skills and share risks.

Objective:

To build capacity of policymakers, civil society and the private sector in the field of renewable energy technologies to enhance energy security and improve access to energy services in the poor rural areas.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Enhanced capacity of target groups to develop effective policies and programmes to scale up the use of renewable energy for integrated rural development and enhance energy security and improving access to renewable energy services in rural areas of developing countries for poverty reduction
  • Development and application of policy measures with regard to establishing publicprivate partnerships for better access to energy services through collaboration among existing regional and subregional institutions and centres of excellence
  • Increased use of locally available renewable energy resources, such as biomass, small hydro, solar and wind, through the development and demonstration of pilot systems and initiatives on public-private partnerships

Implementation status:

Project implementation commenced in 2010.