|Sustainable Energy Strategies - Materials for Decision-makers (SEED - UNDP, 2000, 208 p.)|
Of a current global population of some 6 billion people, 1.5-2 billion do not have access to electricity. Approximately 2 billion depend on collection of resources like wood, dung and other biomass to meet their basic needs for cooking and heating. Women and children are the ones most heavily burdened by the need to collect fuel resources.
The most rapid growth in energy demand takes place in developing countries, where investment resources are scarce and human capacity and inter-sectoral planning processes are often weak. The links between current energy use patterns and environmental problems, such as urban air pollution, indoor air pollution, acidification, and global warming, have all been clearly documented. These problems are certain to be severely aggravated in the future if new technological solutions and new priorities are not brought into the planning process. There is also an undeniable connection between access to high-quality energy services and human, social, and economic development. Inadequate and inequitably available energy services create bottlenecks for employment generation and restrict access to education and health services.
If the energy services are to be available for human, social, and economic development without accelerated environmental degradation and accentuated health impact, a fundamental change is required in the manner that energy issues are integrated in national development and the way development assistance is administered. This change involves a move to sustainable energy services, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, and cleaner conventional fuels.