Filed under: Central Asia Development Environment Poverty

Kyrgyz boys and girls around a table in their kindergarten

Energy and the everyday: Kindergarten with new heating supply, Naryn Province, Kyrgyzstan. See more UNDP work related to energy

Imagine going to school and it’s five degrees Celsius in your classroom. Brrr! I learned from my colleague Martin Krause that the average classroom in Central Asia ranges from 4.3 to 6.9 degrees.

This was during a discussion on sustainable energy in countries in the region, organized by the Turkish Permanent mission in New York and UNDP.

We decided to convene the meeting to ensure that our region is fully engaged in the global Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

Louis Gomez Echeverri, the United Nations Secretary-General’s special advisor for the Sustainable Energy for All initiative presented the global energy landscape that will help move dialogue forward and mobilize countries to help realize the initiative’s global goals:

  1. Ensuring universal access to modern energy services
  2. Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
  3. Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

He also highlighted that country plans will be developed by individual countries based on their priorities, challenges and needs.

The Ambassador of Tajikistan, Sirodjidin Aslov, said that his country faces challenges in the electricity sector, such as limited investments in the sector during the civil war and post-war economic re-development.

He also said there is a lack of technical capacities for importing electricity in winter months and exporting energy surpluses during summer.

>> Hydro power: The solution to Tajikistan’s energy crisis

>> Tajikistan: Local communities benefit from small hydro and clean energy

Ambassador Aslov also announced ambitious targets set forth by the Government of Tajikistan under the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, namely to:

  1. Ensure access to regular and reliable electricity to 5.6 million people, living in rural areas of Tajikistan;
  2. Improve energy efficiency; and
  3. Increase energy production from renewable sources by 20 percent by 2030.

Tajikistan, along with Armenia and Montenegro from our region, are among the first 50 developing countries to sign up to the new global energy initiative, committing them to work towards the initiative’s goals for 2030.

Some important take-aways for me:

  1. Sustainable Energy for All is a significant opportunity for strategic partnerships that can benefit the work of our national partners – including with the European Union, (which has taken a strong interest in the Sustainable Energy for All initiative) and the private sector. We’ll also be exploring further partnerships through the UNDP Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development.
  2. Although there is a global focus on energy access, renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency offer significant potential for countries in the region. While access to energy may not be the primary issue, there are other challenges in the region, including: high utility costs – especially as this affects disadvantaged households; lack of upgraded infrastructure; and barriers to private sector engagement.
Kid stands in a doorway of a dark room, lit by a candle

See the new UNDP and Nesta sustainable energy challenge – we’re looking for individuals and companies that can design a solution for more than 3,000 war returnee families in Bosnia and Herzegovina without access to the power grid almost 20 years after the war.

  1. Sustainable energy is a foundation for broader efforts to address global development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and the post-2015 and post-Rio agendas that we are supporting with our national partners.

What needs to happen in order to move forward on energy efficiency and renewable energy?  

What would it take in your country to get the Sustainable Energy for All initiative moving?

  • Archi

    I think if electricity had a market and not social price, people would try to use it more effectively. We, in the post-Soviet countries, are used to thinking its cheap and not worth getting up to switch off the light in the bathroom. I believe that only market mechanisms can work well in his case, including in promoting renewable energy.