- In Brief
- MDGs & energy access
- Milestones & Achievements
- International dialogue
The European Union launched EU Energy Initiative for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development, referred to as the “EUEI”, in September 2002 at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) as a joint commitment by the European Union Member States and the European Commission.
The goal of the EUEI is to contribute to providing the access to energy necessary for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly, but not exclusively, that of halving the number of people in extreme poverty by the year 2015. It is also part of the EU response to achieve universal access by 2030 in the context of the Sutainable Energy for All initiative;
Access to adequate, affordable and sustainable energy services is needed to fulfil most development objectives, namely in health, education, agriculture, economic activity, transport and modern means of communication.
By focusing on the clear link between energy access and poverty, the EUEI is playing an important role in facilitating political and financial commitments toward improved access to energy services for reducing poverty and paving the way to sustainable development in developing countries.
The objectives of the EU Energy Initiative are:
Raise political awareness among high-level decision makers of the important role energy can play in poverty reduction;
Clarify the need for energy services for poverty reduction and sustainable development;
Highlight the need for energy services in national regional/ development strategies;
Encourage the coherence and synergy of energy-related activities between Member States, partner countries and other International Organisations; and,
Stimulate new resources (capital, technology, human resources) from the private sector, financial institutions, civil society and end-users.
Reinforcing the European Commission’s commitment, the EUEI objectives were expanded in 2003 with the following additional objectives:
Integrate energy as a general component of EU development aid programmes;
Develop institutional support, technical assistance and networking to give the beneficiary countries the capacities to implement their energy choices;
Develop innovative financial mechanisms in order to promote investments in clean technologies in the context of public-private partnerships;
Encourage regional cooperation; and,
Develop coordination within the EU and with other international organizations and providers of finance.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can not be met without major improvement in the quality and quantity of energy services in developing countries. Limited access to energy services and heavy reliance on traditional biomass are hallmarks of poverty in developing countries. Currently, 1.4 billion people have no access to electricity, and 2.5 billion people rely on traditional biomass – wood, agricultural residues and dung – for cooking and heating.
Energy access situation in Least Developed Countries and Sub-Saharan Africa
Share of people without electricity access for developing countries, 2008
Source: WHO/UNDP The Energy Access Situation in developing countries, Nov. 2009
Better access to sustainable energy services is necessary for economic growth and for developing businesses and income-generating activities. Homes, schools and health centres need adequate energy for lighting, communication, water supply, heating and cooling. Streetlights improve safety at night. Better fuels and cookstoves are necessary to end the exposure of women and children to indoor air pollution and reduce daily work load spent on collecting wood.
Through the EUEI, the EU works with developing countries towards creating the necessary conditions in the energy sector to achieve their national economic, social and environmental objectives, in particular by maximising energy efficiency, including more efficient use of fossil fuels and traditional biomass, and increasing the use of renewable energy.
With a view to achieving the EUEI’s objectives of energy access and poverty reduction, the three core activities of the EUEI are:
Stimulating policy dialogue
Providing institutional support and technical assistance
Facilitating the creation of innovative financial instruments
Activities implemented under the EUEI are driven by the needs and priorities of the participating developing countries. The EU is taking the EUEI forward through open dialogue with partner governments at country level through its EU Delegations and Member State country offices.
The situation of course varies from one country to another but an important first step is working with developing countries to integrate energy as a general component of EU development aid programmes. The EUEI is also helping to integrate energy issues into sectoral strategies and programmes (such as, education, health, water and sanitation, and the creation of income-generating activities) as they are developed or revised, thus encouraging a cross-sectoral approach to energy. The quality of cooperation and coordination between key stakeholders in the energy sector has improved and energy has been included as a priority area of EU Development Policies, including the 10th EDF National Indicative Programmes and Regional Indicative Programmes. In addition to this, 2012 has been designated by the UN as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
Another example of policy dialogue facilitated by the EUEI, through its Partnership Dialogue Facility, is that of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership.
Through all its activities, the EUEI helps raise the political awareness of the important role energy can play in poverty reduction, gauges political commitment to the issue of energy access and encourages regional cooperation for increased energy security.
Institutional Support, Technical Assistance and Networking
Another key area of activity of the EUEI is the provision of institutional support and technical assistance as well as aiding networking – all with the aim of giving the beneficiary countries the capacities to implement their energy choices. The EUEI enables the EU and its developing country partners, to work together in partnership with the private sector, financial institutions and civil society to achieve effective improvement of the energy situation in partner countries. Ownership of activities by the partner country is a key feature. Local participation is encouraged from end-users, communities, businesses and other stakeholders in both the planning and implementation stages.
Innovative financial instruments & donor coordination
With a view to promoting the development of innovative financial mechanisms, the EUEI aims to facilitate the development of financial instruments for investments in clean technologies in the context of public-private partnerships. The EUEI also facilitated coordination within the EU and with other international organizations and providers of finance with a view to stimulating new resources (capital, technology, human resources) from the private sector, financial institutions, civil society and end-users. The ACP-EU Energy Facility, Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund, the African-EU Infrastructure Trust and other instruments such as the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF), which contribute to the development of energy infrastructure, are key developments in this respect.
The EUEI has played a leading role in establishing instruments for dialogue, capacity building and funding. Some of the key achievements of the EUEI are set out below in a series of key milestones:
2002: The EUEI is established at the Johannesburg World Summit for Sustainable Development as a joint commitment of the EU Member States and the European Commission
2003: 40 participating African countries adopt recommendations for EUEI activities at the Nairobi Conference "Energy for Africa"
2003: COOPENER is launched as the first instrument facilitating the implementation of EUEI priorities, providing support for Policy, Market and Capacity Development in energy
2004: The EUEI Partnership Dialogue Facility is created to assist the development of policies and strategies, at national and regional levels
2005: As a key instrument of EUEI, the ACP-EU Energy Facility is put in place
2007: The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund is set up
2008: Start-up of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership
2009: First investments of the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund are carried out
2009: 2nd ACP-EU Energy Facility is launched
2010: 1st High-level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership is held in Vienna in September 2010 and the Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) is launched by Commissioner Piebalgs.
2010: Adoption of Tripoli Declaration and 2nd Action Plan 2011-2013 at the 3rd Africa EU Summit took place on 29-30 November 2010, in Tripoli, Libya.
2010/2011- Pacific-EU Initiative on Climate Change launched in 2010 with joint Action Plan adopted in 2011
2011: Pooling Mechanism of the Energy Facility launched
The EUEI mobilises appropriate combinations of public and/or private resources for specific actions and instruments, both from domestic and international sources, following the procedures and priorities established with respect to development strategies.
Specifically, the European Commission and individual EU Member States fund technical assistance and grant schemes, while mobilizing and leveraging their donor funding with the investment funds of international financial institutions and other financial actors.
EUEI Coordination Group
The steering of the EUEI is carried out by the EUEI Coordination Group which is made up of EU Member State and European Commission representatives as well as experts in energy and development.
The EUEI Coordination Group acts as the “decision-making” body of the Initiative aiming to ensure enhanced and coordinated EU input in promoting energy access in developing countries. The Coordination Group meets approximately twice per year and participation is voluntary and open to all the major EUEI stakeholders. The work of the Coordination Group includes:
Review of ongoing and planned energy development initiatives and actions at EC and Member States’ levels;
Identification of new opportunities for energy development funding and partnership at the EU and International level;
Identification of gaps in the EU energy development coordination;
In addition, the representatives from the EU Member States that participate in the EUEI Coordination Group have a role in:
- Promoting energy in the bilateral development cooperation agenda (in terms of policy and funding);
- Stimulating the allocation of bilateral aid funds to energy development projects.
The EUEI Coordination Group also serves as a vehicle for seeking complementarity between this and other initiatives and programmes and to develop networking.
The EUEI Secretariat has been established within the European Commission’s Directorate for Development and Cooperation (EuropeAid) and is tasked with coordinating the Initiative.
The EUEI Secretariat has the following tasks:
To facilitate and stimulate co-operation and synergy between EU donors and partner countries and regions;
To communicate with other donors and initiatives;
To participate in international fora;
To monitor and report on activities;
To provide a promotional and communication role through the EUEI website and other promotional tools;
To provide the point of contact for the Initiative.
The Secretariat draws upon staff from both the Commission and Member States.
The Initiative has an ongoing dialogue with other international energy initiatives, such as the Forum of Energy Ministers of Africa (FEMA), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Johannesburg Renewable Energy Coalition (JREC), the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP), the Global Network on Energy for Sustainable Development (GNESD), the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and the Global Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development (GFSE).
The EU Energy Initiative participates in the energy and development dialogue within the UN Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) and other global fora.