21.11.2012 - Natural Sciences Sector

Sustainable Energy Strategies in Low and Middle-Income Economies

© Mondialogo Power system blending solar, wind and micro-hydro energy generators

Energy plays a fundamental role in shaping the human condition and is the key to socio-economic progress. Development of human society has been marked all along history by the ways humans have controlled energy stores and flows that are part of nature. Not surprisingly, the relevance of energy in the international scenario rises constantly and the many interconnections with environment and society are more and more clear.

The need to increase access to clean, efficient, affordable and reliable modern energy services for balancing the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable choices is nowadays worldwide recognized. Affordable energy services are key elements of economic development and eradication of extreme poverty as called for in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Building enterprises and creating new jobs, improving health and education, and providing basic needs such as food and water in an economical and sustainable manner require a balanced energy mix that is suited to the economic, social, and resource conditions of individual countries and regions.

Energy access has a cost and the initial expenditure on connections or better technologies can be high. There is a large funding gap in providing energy access for the poor which has not been properly addressed by existing financial mechanisms and institutions. Existing policy frameworks and national energy policies often do not respond to the needs and capacities of the poor.

The Politecnico di Milano through the UNESCO Chair on Energy for Sustainable Development, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and its International Centre for Science and High Technology (ICS-UNIDO) are organizing the Conference on "Sustainable Energy Strategies in Low and Middle-Income Economies: Blending technology, finance and policy beyond 2012" that will take place on 22-23 November 2013 to discuss sustainable implementation models as part of an integrated approach to global resource management in low and middle income Economies.

Three main interlinked topics related to the role of energy for sustainable growth will be discussed:

  • Which technologies need to be promoted and are appropriate to low and middle-income economies?
  • Which business models may contribute to the development of new inclusive energy markets?
  • Which policies and institutions are needed to support new energy systems and promote production and consumption patterns that would foster sustainable energy access?

The conference is organized in support of the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All (2012) and the initiative of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, which sets the goals for improved energy efficiency, doubling the use of renewable energies and universal access to modern energy services by 2030.

All of these issues present a number of critical challenges that will remain well beyond 2012 and whose solution requires a comprehensive, balanced and phased approach which takes into account aspects related to technology, financing and investment as well as policy and institutions.

The conference aims to produce a set of recommendations for further research activities and networking on access to energy services, energy efficiency and renewable energies beyond 2012.


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