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UNDP Calls for “Energy Plus” Approach to Reduce Poverty in Asia and the Pacific

19 January 2012: A report by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) calls for an “energy plus” approach to sustainably reduce poverty by combining access to modern energy for heating, cooking and electricity with measures for income generation and improvement of health and education services.The report, “Towards an ‘Energy Plus' Approach for the Poor,” is based of a review of 17 energy access projects implemented by governments, development agencies and the private sector in Asia-Pacific between 2009 and 2011. The findings of the report confirm that there can be no development without energy, and that poverty cannot be addressed sustainably without paying attention to energy services. The report states that the poor need energy to get out of poverty, however energy services per se do not reduce poverty. The report also notes that energy services often do not offer opportunities to poor households to increase income, and that energy programmes are forced to rely on unsustainable subsidies. It argues that the poor require support to generate income to make energy affordable, in turn improving household living standards and overall human development, breaking the vicious cycle of poverty.

The report further explains that energy access projects and programmes that combined the delivery of energy services with income-generating measures – such as business development, information support, access to capital and market linkages measures – had higher potential to reduce poverty sustainably. The report considered projects in the following countries: the Philippines, China, Nepal, Fiji, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu. [Publication: Towards an 'Energy Plus' Approach for the Poor: A Review of Good Practices and Lessons Learned from Asia and the Pacific] [UN Press Release]