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  • Energy access as millennium development goal

[NEW DELHI] A sustainable development summit in India has endorsed the idea of making access to energy a new millennium development goal (MDG) after 2015.

The Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, held 31January 2 February, ended with the hope that a report resulting from the online consultations and meetings will be presented to the UN General Assembly in September.

The target should be to ensure energy access to all, said Lise Grande, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in India.

Grande said the goal should include energy efficiency, contribution to growth while avoiding environmental fallouts, affordable technology and getting private and public sectors to work together to promote energy security.

Grande was satisfied that a public consultative process to fix targets and indicators and point out gaps was already underway at the UN.

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Arvinn Eikeland Gadgil, Norwegian deputy minister for international development, observed that energy was eliminated from the existing MDGs in an undemocratic way.

The eight MDGs, established at the 2000 UN millennium summit, set targets for poverty, primary education, gender equality, child and maternal health, disease control and environmental sustainability to be met by 2015.

Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, director-general of The Energy Resources Institute, a not-for-profit organisation based in New Delhi, stressed that energy security was a prime concern for the developing world.

Pachauri, who is also chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said ensuring energy access to the underprivileged was necessary to help them continue their economic activities.

Kirit Parikh, chairman of the expert group on Low Carbon Strategies for Inclusive Growth in India's Planning Commission, said apart from recognising access to energy as development goal, there is a necessity to ensure that such access leads to improved economic activity.

According to Marie Helen Aubert, who is in charge of international environmental and climate negotiations at the French embassy in India, improving access could include decentralised solutions, better energy efficiency and removal of subsidies on fossil fuels.

Rabinder N Malik, a visiting lecturer at Keio University, Japan, said there was a need to build an international energy management system that could help track progress towards meeting the proposed energy goal.

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