LDCs urged to focus on renewable energyStakeholders have stressed the need for the least developed countries (LDCs) to leapfrog from traditional fossil fuels to low-carbon economies focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency at the Regional Meeting on Sustainable Energy for Asia-Pacific Least Developed Countries being held in Kathmandu.
Stakeholders have stressed the need for the least developed countries (LDCs) to leapfrog from traditional fossil fuels to low-carbon economies focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency at the Regional Meeting on Sustainable Energy for Asia-Pacific Least Developed Countries being held in Kathmandu.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the two-day event, they also pointed to universal access to affordable and modern energy as being a prerequisite for the socio-economic development of the region.
The conference has been organized by the government, the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“Sustainable energy can create a win-win situation for the LDCs to achieve not only Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 which is access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, but also the broader 2030 agenda for sustainable development and ambitions of the Paris climate change agreement,” said Gyan Chandra Acharya, under-secretary-general and high representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.
“The Asia-Pacific’s LDCs are well placed to rapidly transition to renewable energy sources, but this requires a confluence of efforts by all stakeholders including governments, development partners, private sector, international financial institutions and civil society to summon the right blend of best practices, innovative financing instruments and creative solutions that can build momentum towards sustainable energy in these countries.”
Speakers also praised the remarkable achievement made by Nepal in terms of access to electricity with almost 80 percent of the population getting electric power as of the end of 2016 compared to 20 percent in 2000.
“But the per capita electrical energy consumption is still a mere 140 kilowatt hours, which is the lowest in the region,” said Arbind Kumar Mishra, member of the National Planning Commission. “There is an immediate need to scale up the per capita energy consumption. Some initiatives have been taken in recent days, however, the pace needs to be accelerated.”
Caitlin Wiesen-Antin, chief of regional policy and programme at UNDP
Regional Hub, commended the Nepal government for its commitment to achieve the sustainable energy for all and SDG targets for energy by 2030.
“Recently, Nepal has taken priority measures to respond to the on-going energy crisis with the declaration of a National Energy Crisis Reduction and Electricity Development Decade, and it has set a national target of developing 10,000 MW of electricity in the next 10 years,” said Wiesen-Antin.
“But it will also require a wide-ranging financing framework capable of channeling resources and investment of all kinds—public and private, national and global—to achieve such goals.”
Addressing the event, Energy Minister Janardan Sharma reiterated that the government had identified hydropower as the only way to develop Nepal. “We have encouraged people’s participation for the development of hydropower,” said Sharma.