Here are eleven questions and answers about the conference Energy for All – Financing Access for the Poor. The conference opens in Oslo Monday 10 October.
1.What is the aim of the conference?
The aim of the conference is to further explore possible ways of financing access to energy. It seeks to contribute to more people gaining access to electricity and modern energy services. Increased access to electricity and more efficient energy use are essential if we are to be able to fight poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
2.Who is participating in the conference?
The most important groups participating in the conference are heads of state, ministers, public sector experts, business leaders and representatives of NGOs. In addition to the Norwegian Prime Minister, Minister of the Environment and International Development and Minister of Petroleum and Energy, the Prime Ministers of Ethiopia and Kenya are among those due to take part. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will also attend the conference.
3.Who is organising the conference?
The organisers of the conference are the Norwegian Government and the International Energy Agency (IEA), which is based in Paris.
4.How many people in the world are without access to electricity?
There are currently around 1.3 billion people in the world without access to electricity. Furthermore, it is estimated that 2.7 billion people still use traditional biomass for cooking, i.e. primarily fuelwood, charcoal, agricultural by-products and animal dung.
5.How many people die because they don’t have access to electricity?
It is estimated that almost 1.5 million people – primarily women and children – die each year due to smoke inhalation and burns because they are using open fires and stoves with inadequate ventilation to cook for their families.
6.How much would universal access to energy cost?
Less than NOK 0.10 per capita per day globally would be enough to reach the goal of universal access to energy by 2030.
7.Who should pay for more people gaining access to electricity?
The authorities in a country have the main responsibility for the country’s development, but Norway will provide NOK 1.8 billion annually for developing renewable energy in developing countries. However, it is important that the business sector sees these countries as possible markets, and increases its investments in energy production.
8.What are the biggest challenges in connection with achieving the aim of the conference?
Two of the main challenges we face are a lack of knowledge, and uncertainty about the risks involved in investing in poor countries. In many countries, the conditions are not conducive for investments, and this applies to the energy sector, too. Developing countries must themselves provide conditions that make it attractive for businesses to invest.
9.What are the greatest obstacles to achieving energy for all?
The greatest obstacles are a lack of political will, good projects, and financing.
10.Why is energy for all so important?
Access to energy promotes development in many ways. Energy helps to give people a better life. It provides light for children to do their homework, better cooking stoves, and therefore better air quality. Energy is a key factor in achieving economic development. Without energy, companies – whether small or large – cannot manufacture their goods or store fresh produce.
11.Where can I get more information?
A lot of information is already available on the website www.osloenergyforall2011.no. The names of contact persons in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are also given on the website.