IEI Newsletter No. 5, April 2005

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Number 5 April 2005
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Dear reader,

 

In this fifth issue of the IEI's Newsletter, Thomas B. Johansson, IEI's co-founder and board member, writes our editorial.

This fifth issue also updates you on some current IEI activities and publication, including the organization of a regional event to discuss a possible research agenda on Energy Research and Development Activities in South America (Pronerg).

 

Gilberto De Martino Jannuzzi, Executive Director

 

Editorial

 

IEI follows with attention the policies and initiatives taken by governments and local stakeholders, and the multilateral mechanisms to further advance the understanding of the socio- economic transformations required to overcome under-development and extreme poverty; and to realize the objectives as set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by United Nations General Assembly (GA) in 2000.

In September this year, the GA will review progress towards the MDGs. As found in the World Energy Assessment (Goldemberg et al., 2000 and 2004), access to modern and affordable forms of energy precedes major progress on the MDGs. The World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 reached agreement on energy for sustainable development, for the first time in the history of the international community. It also recognized that joint actions of all stakeholders (public and private) are indispensable. It is hoped that the GA review meeting will give explicit recognition to the significance of access to modern forms of energy for reaching the MDGs.

At present, preparations for the GA meeting are ongoing, and the input provided by IEI as exemplified in this newsletter is critical. Already in 1997 in preparation for the Rio+5 follow-up, IEI produced the book Energy after Rio that helped bring together the many elements and issues related to energy for sustainable development and lay the ground for later developments, and in 2002 the IEI/UNDP book Energy for Sustainable Development – A Policy Agenda contributed to the WSSD preparations.

The two central issues now are access to fuels for clean cooking and mechanical (or electric) energy. The special issue of Energy for Sustainable Development on clean cooking and the most recent issue introduced in this newsletter contribute analysis and advocacy on the first. The work on power sector reform is important in addressing the second.

IEI is now seeking funds to expand the work on fuels for clean cooking to add to analysis and advocacy is the now well-established approaches developed by IEI.

Warm congratulations to all engaged in and contributing to the IEI critical work on these issues!

 

Thomas B Johansson

 

Workshop Report on Public Benefits and Power Sector Reform

 

On 12-13 May 2003, the International Workshop on Public Benefits and Power Sector Reform was held in Stockholm, Sweden, with the coordination of Lund University, Stockholm Environment Institute and International Energy Initiative.

 

 

The Workshop was motivated by the need to address broader development goals and advance the provision of public benefits in power sector reforms. The primary objectives were:

  • To provide a forum for a discussion among specialists, of how the provision of public benefits (Day 1);

  • To identify the needs for training and capacity building and institutional arrangements, as well as make recommendations for their design and implementation, for policy makers, regulators, and other professionals in developing countries (Day 2).

     

The report summarises the presentations made and extensive discussions held during the workshop.

 

 

International Decade for Action: Water for Life, 2005-2015

 

The 'Water for Life' Decade was launched by the United Nations aiming to promote efforts to fulfil international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015, placing special emphasis on the involvement of women in these efforts.

 

 

One of these commitments is with the Millennium Development Goals, agreed to by all 191 United Nations Member States at the Millennium Summit in 2000, which set specific targets for reducing poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women by 2015. Among these targets, Governments agreed to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015, the year to mark the end of the International Decade for Action: 'Water for Life'.

 

 

All the Millennium Development Goals are interdependent. Without improved access to freshwater and sanitation, the overarching goal of poverty reduction cannot be achieved. At the same time, the provision of water services is dependent on energy services for collecting, transporting and storing water. On a two-way street, water is crucial for the production of energy. It is used to generate hydroelectric power and for cooling in thermal electrical power stations, and also in the generation of tidal power, wave energy and geothermal energy sources.

Access to affordable energy services significantly improves the lives of people in developing countries and makes economic growth and development possible. Joint management of water and energy resources is critical to achieving sustainable development in rural areas.

An elucidative and overwhelming ten-minute Video, "Water for Life", can be viewed by clicking here, as well as the Video message by the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

 

 

Newest issue of Energy For Sustainable Development

 

This issue puts together some papers presented at the Third Annual ETHOS Conference, and a few independent contributions.

An obvious question that arises concerns the connection if any between this issue in which a major part deals with woodstoves and the special issue on clean cooking (Volume VIII No. 3, September 2004). A fundamental question is to what extent interest should be focused on improving woodstoves – decreasing particulate emissions, increasing efficiency etc – or on going directly to clean cooking fuels, LPG for instance.

This issue continues the preparation for the Global Clean Cooking Fuels Initiative effort being made by IEI.

 

 

Electricity sector reforms and their effects in energy R&D

 

Power sector reforms have posed new challenges and opportunities to enhance energy Research & Development (R&D) activities in some developing countries but may also have aggravated the capability to innovate and promote domestically conceived solutions.

It is the objective of this paper to make policy recommendations for advancing public benefits resulting from energy R&D efforts by providing a rationale for supporting public interest energy R&D in a restructured electricity industry in developing countries.

This paper is part of a broader documenting major effort of the past 3 years led by Prof. Anton Eberhard (University of Cape Town), IEI's President during 2000-2003. As of this writing, IEI is in the final stages of this effort which encompassed analysis of the impact on public benefits of changes in the ownership and structure of electricity industries around the world, notably since the mid-1990s. These changes have been brought about by calls for the pursuit of improved financial performance and system efficiency, made possible by technological developments and policies which stress limiting government intervention and recommend the promotion of private ownership and the introduction of competition into the electricity industry.

 

 

Environmental Reform in the Power Sector in Asia

 

The Asian Regional Energy Initiative of the IEI prepared a paper on environmental reform pertaining to the electricity sector in some Asian countries – China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. The paper is being reviewed and soon will be available for download.

The paper was motivated by the opportunity window opened by the power sector reforms in order to strengthen environmental policies, although environmental preservation was not at the forefront, but the surging need for electricity and lack of funding to meet this need.

 

 

Energy R&D Activities in South America

 

The event has the objective of discussing a possible research agenda in energy topics that can be undertaken cooperatively between Brazil and South American partners. Researchers, energy companies and governmental officials will participate in the event. It will be held in Campinas (State of S�o Paulo, Brazil) from 7 to 9 of June.

This event is largely sponsored by the Brazilian Science and Research Council's PROSUL program. This program has the purpose of promoting technical and scientific cooperation between Brazil and other South American countries.

The REI-LA office is reponsible for the organization of the event together with the Centre for Energy Planning Studies at the University of Campinas.

 

 

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