• Lead-organizer: UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
  • 19:00 - 20:30
  • Date: 20 Jun 2012
  • Room: P3-E

Financing Access to Clean Energy for the Poor

Organizing partners

UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) - Lead Organizer
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
The Government of Austria

[with possibility of up to two additional DPs joining]


Current and anticipated trends in energy poverty are alarming and show that increasing access to energy will be critical to achieving sustainable development. A wide range of technologies is now available not only to scale up energy access but also to foster the use of ?clean? energy. However, in many developing countries, the main obstacle to uptake is the lack of financing models that make energy accessible and affordable to low-income consumers. This side event - entitled: ?Financing Access to Clean Energy for the Poor? - will address this important challenge and present innovative approaches that combine strengthening clean energy value chains with innovative financing arrangements targeting low-income population and micro-enterprises.

Detailed programme

I. Thematic focus:

The Sustainable Energy for All initiative recently launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon draws global attention to the importance of energy for sustainable development and calls for specific commitments from the private sector and national governments.

Evidence from across the globe shows that increased access to clean, reliable and affordable energy can provide a critical contribution to reducing poverty and accelerating progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. Not only can access to energy dramatically improve the lives of poor people, but it can also create jobs and offer new opportunities related to the emerging ?green economy?.

Thanks to recent technological developments, there is now a real possibility to enable universal access to clean energy solutions by promoting innovative approaches that combine the development of clean energy value chains and appropriate financing for those presently excluded from energy access. Alternative off-grid solutions - including micro-solar technologies, energy efficient cookers and lighting applications - are now available and can make a difference in terms of scaling up access to cleaner energy. However, in urban and rural areas alike, the lack of a conducive policy environment, the weakness of the value chains through which those solutions can be offered and the lack of appropriate financial services to low income people to access them (the cost of equipment, service, recharging and refilling etc. are key barriers to uptake), leave this potential un-fulfilled and those markets undeveloped.

In this context, the introduction of innovative approaches that combine strengthening clean energy values chains to reach the bottom of the pyramid, financing arrangements through microfinance institutions targeting low-income population and micro-enterprises, supported by a strengthened policy environment, can play a key role in fostering access to energy.

The event (moderated discussion) will address four key questions:
1. What are the barriers to access to clean energy at the bottom of the pyramid?
2. What role can clean energy providers and microfinance institutions play in overcoming such barriers?
3. What type of policy measures need to be in place to unleash the potential of access to clean energy solutions for the poor
4. How can development partners contribute to foster the development of inclusive financing systems that support access to energy?

II. Speakers and Participants:

Speakers and participants at this event will discuss the latest thinking in the field of financing and access to energy and will be asked to propose concrete solutions to the challenges highlighted above.

Speakers will include senior representatives from governments and the world?s leading institutions working in the fields of finance and access to energy. Keynote speakers will include:
- Mr. Wolfgang Waldner, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of Austria (Confirmed)
- Mr. Hemraj Tated, Minister for Environment, Nepal (Proposed/TBC)
- Senior representative from the GEF Secretariat (TBC)
- Mr. Yannick Glemarec, Executive Coordinator/Director, UNDP/GEF - moderator (Confirmed)
- Mr. David Morrison, Executive Secretary, UNCDF (Confirmed)

Contribution to UNCSD/Rio+20:
The main objective of the event is to reach consensus on the concrete measures that can be taken to foster access to energy for the poor. Participants of this session are senior officials from Government and International Organizations with the mandate and authority to make concrete commitments. The findings of the session will be incorporated into major initiatives of clean energy finance by UNDP and UNCDF and other Development Partners. These commitments will provide a tangible contribution to the success of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.
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