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Commitments to improve energy access for rural areas announced at Global Conference
1 Jan 2014 - A number of commitments to help bring modern and reliable energy services to impoverished rural communities were announced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organisation (WHO), UN DESA and several other Stakeholders at the “Global Conference on Rural Energy Access: A Nexus Approach to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication”, which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 4 to 6 December 2013.

The commitments were made as a contribution to the 2014 – 2024 UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All. The main theme of the Conference, which was organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in collaboration with Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), UN-Energy and the Economic Commission for Africa, was the essential role that access to energy services has for enabling sustainable development and poverty eradication. Over 250 participants from 40 countries attended the Conference.

Participants agreed that lack of clean, affordable, reliable energy is at the heart of a range of interconnected problems faced by the energy poor in rural areas. Discussions therefore focused on a nexus approach to sustainable energy, which acknowledges the strong link between energy and other development factors such as education, health, gender, environment, economic growth, food security, and water, and seeks to address these in a holistic way.

An exhibition, at which 25 organisations displayed renewable energy technologies that enable affordable, clean energy, was an integral part of the Global Conference. The exhibition demonstrated that advanced “clean” cook stoves and stand-alone electric generation systems, which are practical, reliable and durable, are both widely available and affordable. A summary of the Conference discussions, recommendations and further information can be found on the Conference webpage on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.