05 June 2013

Energy policies to tackle poverty

A new guide released this week provides specific policy suggestions to improve energy access to chronically poor people—people who live in poverty over many years, often their entire lives.

children in lighted house. ©G.M.B Akash, Panos Pictures'

children in lighted house. ©G.M.B Akash, Panos Pictures'

The policy guide, entitled, “Energy for All: Harnessing the Power of Energy Access for Chronic Poverty Reduction,” provides specific measures to ensure that chronically poor people are included in efforts to improve energy access, such as the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All program. IIASA researcher Shonali Pachauri co-led the report with Andrew Scott, research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Lucy Scott and Andrew Shepherd of the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network (CPAN), which sponsored the report, also contributed.

Pachauri, an expert in energy access and poverty, says, “Aggregate national statistics hide large disparities in access to modern energy at the household level, particularly between households at different levels of income and wealth. The chronically poor are often disregarded by programs for enhancing energy access. A more progressive approach to defining energy related goals that go beyond the minimalistic definitions of access and help sustain poverty escapes is needed” 

The new report also shows that coordination and collaboration across sectors is key to success: local, regional, and national governments must work together with utilities, private businesses, NGOs, and aid organizations. 

Providing energy access to chronically poor people could provide the spur that helps bring these people out of poverty, the report emphasized. Previous research from Pachauri and other researchers shows that access to electricity and clean cooking technologies is linked to better health and higher incomes. 

The Chronic Poverty Advisory Network is hosted at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) (London) and succeeds the Chronic Poverty Research Centre. Its mission is to engage with policy makers in developing countries and internationally on getting to zero. It advocates a dynamic approach to poverty and deprivation analysis, focusing on assisting escapes from extreme poverty, preventing impoverishment and addressing chronic poverty. Chronic poverty has to be addressed if extreme poverty is to be eradicated. Social protection, pro-poorest growth, reaching the hard to reach in human development, and progressive social change are all necessary ingredients.

Follow @IIASAVienna and @ChronicPoverty on Twitter

More information: http://www.chronicpovertynetwork.org/component/docman/doc_view/72-energy-policy-guide

Photo courtesy G.M.B Akash, Panos Pictures  

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Last edited: 25 February 2014


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Energy for All: Harnessing the Power of Energy Access for Chronic Poverty Reduction

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