|Sustainable Energy News - No. 14 September 1996 (INFORSE, 1996)|
We are now just at the eve of the World Solar Summit (WSS) called by UNESCO in Harare, September 16-17 to start a 10- year World Solar Programme. As stated in the INforSE osi tion Paper on the WSS Process, we are confident that NGOs can work hand-in-hand with the WSS to ensure that the Solar Decade (1996-2005) will be a success.
In our opinion, such success must include fulfilling the requirements stated in lNforSE's sustainable-energy development strategy, launched in Rio in 1992, for more use of renewable energy worldwide and particularly in developing countries. This implies that technological, economic, social, ecological and cultural/political sustainability criteria will be met as well.
Several NGOs support the objectives of the WSS, but so far some key issues have not been adequately addressed.
The initial idea of the WSS Process was modelled on that of a United Nations Conference involving an International Solar Convention, a World Solar Charter, a World Solar Fund, and a World Solar Plan of Action. Experience has shown the limitations of this approach and the difficulties of making it work.
Due to the concerns expressed by some countries and NGOs,
including InforSE. during the proc
cess of WSS preparation, the idea of a Harare Declaration on Solar Energy and Development emerged.
Similarly, a firm commitment to mobilize international financial resources to ensure implementation of a World Solar Programme seems more efficient than the creation of a new fund with the high management costs involved and the risk of merely draining the money from other initiatives to support renewables. The notion that the Solar Decade will address all sorces of renewable energy, not just solar, still remains to be conveyed clearly to the world.
Much work is needed to derive a good Plan of Action from the current list of projects presented by governmental representatives.
Politically, a main challenge in Harare will be to widen support for the WSS Process among key industrialized countries. So far, the World Solar Commission includes among its 15 members only 3 heads of state from OECD.
A similarly important challenge will be to make sure that the important role of NGOs is adequately addressed in the World Solar Plan and the Harare Declaration.
Emilio la Rovere, INforSE Latin America, Brazil
Rene Karottki, INforSE Secretariat, Denmark