Regional Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Least Developed Countries on Sustainable Energy

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 08:00 to Thursday, March 23, 2017 19:00
Kathmandu, Nepal

The Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and the Government of Nepal will convene a Regional Meeting on Sustainable Energy to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 22 to 23 March 2017.

The meeting will bring together the Asia-Pacific Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which face similar energy challenges in their energy transition. Reliable and affordable access to energy has the potential to transform the daily lives of those living in the world’s poorest countries and is essential for private sector development, productive capacity building and expansion of trade.

The acute energy gap faced by the LDCs is a binding constraint on their structural transformation. Reliable and affordable access to energy is a key development multiplier with a large transformative power. It is essential for private sector development, productive capacity building and expansion of trade and it also has strong linkages to climate action, health, education, water and food security and women’s empowerment. 

The Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs for the decade 2011-2020 (IPoA) recognizes that access to affordable, reliable and renewable energy and related technologies will be critical for accelerating growth, improving livelihoods and advancing sustainable development. Energy access is one of the priority areas for action in the IPoA, which includes 3 goals and targets related to energy:

  • Strive to increase total primary energy supply per capita to the same level as other developing countries;
  • Significantly increase the share of electricity generation through renewable energy sources by 2020;
  • Enhance capacities in energy production, trade and distribution with the aim of ensuring access to energy for all by 2030.

During the past four years, OHRLLS has actively advocated for enhanced energy access in the poorest countries. Only 34 per cent of the 900 million people living in the 48 LDCs have access to electricity. These countries need accelerated reforms together with strong support from various stakeholders to accelerate progress in the energy sector. In this regard, OHRLLS has brought together the Leaders and Energy Ministers from these countries to discuss the challenges they face in enhancing their energy access. It has clearly emerged from these discussions that the national ownership and political will for energy transition is there, and these countries are eager to scale-up and speed-up their energy initiatives.

Rapid transition to sustainable energy will require critical rethinking by LDC decision-makers and the goals need to be followed with well-planned and coordinated action based on national energy strategies. LDC governments need to create enabling policy and regulatory frameworks to promote commercial investments, get involved with a broad range of stakeholders, including reaching out to the poorest and supporting bottom-up approaches, and learn from successful initiatives.