Stable Energy Supply- A New Millennium Development Goal?

By Ekaterina Volozova

BEIJING— ( September 21 — M4Relay) — An idea to develop of a new UN structure – the Energy Council, was brought up at a UN Summit for Millennium Development Goals, to provide stable supplies of energy, especially in developing countries.

The thought was talked about by Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. According to him, only an organization such as the UN, which functions globally, can provide this kind of help in areas where it is needed.

If it is compared with some of the other MDG’s, such as to guarantee that food and water are available to all people, to guarantee better education, health services, environmental sustainability, reduce child mortality, etc…the idea could seem small or of little relevance.

However, there is another side to this. According to the International Energy Agency, there are still about 1.3 billion people in the world living without electricity today. This number provides substantial information about the quality of life of these people. Moreover, lack of electricity affects many other aspects of life, which can therefore slow down development of these areas.

Instead of using electricity, people use wood, coal or other ingredients to heat their homes and cook, which results in indoor air pollution that kills about 1.6 million people a year, or 1 person every 20 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. Most of these people are women and children, since they spend the majority of their time inside of the house. Moreover, this can also be a hazard in the workplace, especially in small and medium enterprises of developing countries.

Lack of substantial and stable energy supply can not only cause health hazards, but also slow down economic development. In countries where SME’s make up the majority of the enterprise, this fact has a considerable effect on the quality of service and/or production.

Robert Zoellic, president of the World Bank, commented on this issue during a recent UN summit, saying that educating teachers and providing schools with textbooks is not enough if children are forced to do their homework in the dark. In order to educate and improve the level of living, which, in reality, is the point of MDG; people must have access to electricity.

If this problem is included in the MDG’s, it could help change the lives of millions around the world, and also help further develop the existing goals.

Currently, the UN is developing a plan for universal energy access that should be implemented by 2030.

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