| Sustainable energy News - No. 8 March 1995 |
The following statement was presented on behalf of INforSE at the World Summit for Development Main Committee, Friday 10/3 by Lalitta Balakrishnan, All India Womens Conference / INforSE - India.
1. Many social problems are related to environmental degradation in the form of desertification, unstable climatic conditions due to global warming, urban industrial pollution etc.
2. The potential for combined environmental and social development must be recognized and fully utilized. There is a wide range of opportunities for income generation, alleviation of poverty and creation of constructive employment utilizing natural resources in a sustainable manner. This development involves the genuine participation of local communities in decision-making and implementation.
3. Point 50J of the Draft Programme of Action in the Draft Declaration recognizes the need to encourage the utilization of renewable energy based on local employment-intensive resources, in particular in rural areas. Sustainable and locally based energy solutions have already proven to be successful and ready for implementation on a large scale.
Sustainable social development must be based on the use of locally available renewable energy sources. At the same time these technologies have had very positive social impacts. Apart from creating smoke free kitchens, thereby alleviating family members of respiratory diseases, and reducing drudgery work loads on women in 2 million Indian families, 200,000 jobs have been created in the construction of biogas plants.
In Kenya, the Kenya Ceramic Jiko, a fuel efficient charcoal stove, is improving the economy and environment for 700,000 families, and has created thousands of new jobs in stove manufacturing. Recent studies conducted in both countries have clearly shown that by becoming self-employed in the manufacturing of the improved stove, rural women has experienced tremendous social transformation. This has meant a new status, empowerment and an improvement in family health. Even in an industrialized country such as Germany, energy conservation measures created 400,000 new jobs from 1973-1990.
4. NGOs are forerunners and important cooperation partners in sustainable energy. The role of NGOs in the development and promotion of sustainable energy must be recognized by Governments and enhanced through much greater support at all levels for the work of NGOs.
5. Sources of renewable energy are available at the doorsteps in most developing countries. They must be recognized as the only realistic way to reduce CO2 emissions and alleviate global warming.
6. Education and information at all levels are important elements in a socially and environmentally sustainable development, including training in the use of various renewable energy devices, especially aimed at the youth.
7. In its Action Plan 2000, the International Network for Sustainable Energy, INforSE, proposes the establishment of a Global Fund, specifically for the promotion of social development through sustainable energy solutions. The Fund may be financed
8. Women's development activities have always been mindful of conservation of resources. This is most true in the poorest societies. The poor societies are recycling societies. From women's participation in development, this is the way of wisdom. But with the opening of more and more territory to market forces, the rush to consume resources has risen. The developing countries are the most at risk of losing their own resources to these new external consumers. The products will only return to them at value-added rates!
9. Structural Adjustment Programmes imposed on the peoples of the developing countries by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are causing untold suffering to the peoples of these countries especially women and children. By recommending the abolishment of subsidies in the health and education sectors, the SAPs are posing a great danger to the attainment of sustainable development. SAPs also recommend abolishment of subsidies on energy. While there is a need to reduce energy consumption based on fossil fuels, there is at the same time a need for public support of environmentally sustainable forms of energy. This support must be targeted to the poorest groups in the developing countries.
10. With the serious environmental and social problems in mind, it is appalling that 60% of the funds allocated to energy research and development in the industrialized countries are used for nuclear energy, while solar energy is receiving only 6%. We demand a substantial transfer of funds from nuclear energy research to solar energy and better technology for the use of biomass, which has a direct bearing on the poor, especially women from rural and remote areas.
11. The full social, cultural and environmental costs must be included in decision-making processes in order to promote socially and environmentally acceptable solutions.
12. Concurring with Part One, point l5D and F of the Draft Declaration, it is imperative that the industrialized countries in particular must realize that economic growth in itself does not lead to full employment, but rather to an unsustainable pattern of consumption and production. The traditional economic growth in the industrialized countries implies a constant threat to the environment. A gradual shifting of the tax burden from labour to natural resources will provide a much needed incentive to save scarce natural resources and at the same time favour the use of abundant labour. The introduction of ecological tax reforms is an obvious way of integrating the wish for job creation with the commitment to environmental sustainability.
13. Relating to the Draft Declaration, Part One, point 14, technology exchange has to be open and based on full recognition of the value of indigenous technologies and knowledge. Policies and strategies to protect, enhance and promote these knowledge systems and their custodians should be put in place at community, national and international levels. This will be in line with the recognition that traditional knowledge in agricultural practices, health care practices and local handicraft lie with the poor and rural women.
14. There is increasing recognition within the UN System of the important role of renewable energy. UNESCO is planning a Solar Summit, and the UN Committee on New and Renewable Sources of Energy for Development is proposing a global initiative for renewable energy. INforSE looks forward to a close cooperation with these and all relevant bodies in the future.
Energy for a Better Life
This is the title of the INforSE Campaign Paper for the campaign of Sustainable Energy for Social Development. The paper describes in 12 pages 19 success stories of sustainable energy and social development, as well as the INforSE campaign, regional and worldwide.
The paper is sent to most INforSE contacts and is available free of charge from the INforSE Secretariat.
In this issue
This issue features a number of international activities: the Social Summit and its links with sustainable energy development, a new initiative from the UN Committee for Renewable Energy, Climate Negotiations, a new World Bank initiative, and a critique of a proposed Worldwide Solar Fund that might not lead to much progress. New ideas for international action are given in the article on assistance for renewable electricity.
The regional news features a number of ideas and of mostly good news, from the halting of construction of nuclear reactors in the USA and Spain to the new program for renewable energy in the Philippines. The technical articles feature local production of rapeseed oil as motor fuel, ideas for energy from organic waste, and transfer of small windturbines.
Included in this issue is the European part of the Sustainable Energy Contact List, which, together with the contact list from September 1994, forms a worldwide list.