IAEA Scientific Forum Links Energy and Development
Forum Discusses a Global Energy Agency
The two-day Forum focused on the "densely interlinked issues" of poverty reduction climate change and economic development. Vienna, Austria. (Photo: G. Verlini/IAEA)
- Story Resources
- Energy for Development, Scientific Forum Report, 17 September 2009 [pdf]
- Forum Focuses on Energy for Development, 15 September 2009
- Scientific Forum
- 53rd IAEA General Conference
- United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
At the 2009 IAEA Scientific Forum, energy and development experts considered the crucial role energy plays in delivering health care, providing nutrition, enabling education, manufacturing goods and fuelling transportation and other services.
The two-day Forum underscored energy´s central role in advancing social and economic development. At present, one fourth of the global population, or 1.6 billion people, cannot access modern energy services provided by electricity. Several speakers termed energy "the missing Millennium Development Goal", since eradicating poverty is an essential prerequisite in achieving the Goals.
In his summary of the Scientific Forum´s findings, India´s Srikumar Banerjee, the Forum Chair, emphasized that efforts to tackle energy poverty are hampered by the lack of a global energy organization. The Forum discussed a proposal launched by IAEA Director General, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, to establish a global organization that focuses solely on finding sustainable solutions for the densely, interlinked network of challenges surrounding energy poverty, economic development and climate change. The proposed institution could foster energy planning, technology transfer, research on technologies to serve the energy needs of the poor, energy technological cooperation and development, monitor policy and program implementation and negotiate internationally binding legal agreements to ensure stable, environmentally sustainable and universally accessible, modern energy services.
During the Forum´s discussion, Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, spoke of equivalence between energy poverty and economic poverty, noting that wherever access to energy expands, economic growth increases.
In examining another key issue, climate change´s already visible impact, the Forum highlighted that developing countries are most vulnerable. Their best defence to counter that impact is development, which in turn requires increased access to energy.
The Scientific Forum´s panellists also included Andre Mernier, Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat.
See Story Resources for more information.