Poverty and Environment Concerns Spur Efforts to Explore Energy Options
21 January 2002- The need to provide modern, environmentally sound energy
services to more people living in poverty is the focus of discussions that will
take place in New Delhi from 21-23 January.
Many of the 1.5 billion people who lack access to safe drinking water are the
same people who lack access to electricity and modern energy services. People
living in poverty rely on energy that is often produced by inefficiently
burning biomass or wood, which leads to further environmental degradation as
well as respiratory health problems. A key challenge for sustainable
development and to secure a better future for those currently living in poverty
is to provide access to commercially viable energy services.
The New Delhi meeting will involve representatives from government, business
and industry, civil society, as well as from United Nations agencies,
programmes, and regional commissions. It is sponsored by the United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and organized by the Tata
Energy Research Institute.
According to JoAnne DiSano, Director of the United Nations Division for
Sustainable Development, it generally accepted now that access to energy is a
key component to any programme that attempts to reduce poverty. "Access to
clean energy is not just about global climate change or about cleaning up air
pollution in major metropolitan areas. It's also about providing people with an
essential tool that will allow them to work their way out of poverty without
harming their environment."
The basic themes of the meeting will revolve around energy, energy equity, the
integration of social, economic and environmental dimensions, as well as
finding the means to mobilize resources. Among the questions that the meeting
will consider are issues of subsidies, whether energy services can be bundled
with other key infrastructure services such as water, how to link energy
services with income and job generation programmes, and mechanisms for
utilizing renewable energy technologies.
According to the conference organizers, the outcome of the meeting could serve
as a key input into the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in
Johannesburg in August 2002.
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24 August 2006