Global clean-energy 'revolution' falters ahead of Rio
A UN push to provide electricity to more than 1 billion people who live off the grid is threatened by indecision at an important global development conference this week, despite robust support from EU leaders.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has called for a “global clean energy revolution” to provide electricity to the developing world by 2030 and he won commitments to the plan from the European Commission earlier this year.
But negotiators meeting in New York ahead of the 20th anniversary Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro appeared to fall short of agreeing commitments to provide sustainable energy in some of the world’s most impoverished regions, though the final conclusions are likely to support the concept.
“A New York agreement about that was not reached,” Environment Commissioner Janez Poto?nik said in Brussels before heading to the Brazil meetings.
“It’s logical and should be supported by everybody, but we hope we will find an agreement,” he said. “It’s absolutely something which is a must for human development.”
Poto?nik has pressed for an assertive EU role in winning binding ecological commitments at Rio from wary partners in developing and rich nations alike.
He told EurActiv he did not know why energy access has not had stronger support in behind-the-scenes manoeuvring to set the agenda for this week’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
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Commissioner Piebalgs met the Scientific Advisory Board on EU Development Policy to dicuss "Sustainable Energy for all"'
The 31st of May, European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs attended a thematic seminar organised with the recently established Scientific Advisory Board on EU Development Policy and invited experts. They discussed how to reach the goal of universal access to modern energy services whilst aiming to make the energy mix as economically, socially and environmentally sustainable as possible. They also addressed the issue of how to optimize the large potential of renewable energy resources in many developing countries.
The European Commission wants to provide support to developing countries that commit to the UN Secretary General's 'Sustainable Energy for All' (SE4 All) initiative. This is a key objective of the EU's new Energising Development Initiative announced by European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, at the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit on 16th April 2012. The aim is to provide access to sustainable energy services to an additional 500 million people by 2030.
The Scientific Advisory Board held this energy seminar to identify the EU's role and supportive policies promoting the factors vital for success: strong governance and regulatory frameworks that seek to minimise political and economic risks and encourage investments from the private sector, as well as strengthened capacity of national and local institutions. A range of potential strategic policy options in the short, medium and long term were explored to succeed with the ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ agenda. Discussions highlighted some of the key opportunities, risks, and challenges of various strategies to implement the Commission's new Energising Development Initiative and effectively provide access to sustainable energy services to an additional 500 million people by 2030.
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ACP – EU Council to talk development, trade in Vanuatu
More than 300 officials from the European Union and the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States will convene this week in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu for one of the most important meetings of the year between the two groups.
The 37th session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers – the highest decision-making body of the ACP-EU partnership – will be held on the 14th and 15th of June, preceded by the 95th session of the ACP Council of Ministers held on the 11th to 13th at the Warwick Le Lagon Resort in Port Vila.
“It is well-known that one of the cornerstones of the ACP-EU Partnership is open and consistent dialogue between our developing countries in the South and our more affluent partners in the North. This constitutes a unique framework where relations should be driven by cooperation and mutual benefit rather than conflict or competition,” said ACP Secretary General Dr Mohamed IbnChambas.“There are a number of very key items we will be discussing over the week relating to trade cooperation, development financing, as well as political and sustainable development issues.”
Included on the agenda are ACP declarations on specific products such as cotton, the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), preparations for the United Nations Rio+20 conference in Brazil, and a performance review of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) cycle, which financesdevelopment programmes in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries from 2008 to 2013.The Joint Council will also take a decision on the accession of South Sudan to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, which would take ACP Group membership up to 80 countries.
In the lead up to the joint sessions, the ACP Council of Ministers will hold its own strategic discussions on the key issues and review the Group’s progress towards objectives.
“The timing of these meetings falls just before the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio +20, and I am pleased to report earnest preparations towards an ACP group position. The ACP and the EU will also be considering a joint declaration for Rio, confirming our renewed commitment for advancing the sustainable development agenda,” added Dr Chambas.
The ACP-EU Joint Council of Ministers is composed of a representative from every ACP and EU country and a representative from the European Commission, who meet once per year to engage in political dialogue and adopt policy directives related to the implementation of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement.
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La coopération entre l'Union européenne et le Niger
L'Union européenne prévoit d'allouer €483 millions pour le Niger pour la période 2008-2013 (dans le cadre du 10e Fonds européen de Développement). Les principaux secteurs de coopération sont:
le développement rural et la sécurité alimentaire;
l'appui à la réduction de la pauvreté via l'appui budgétaire.
Une somme de €73 millions supplémentaire a été dégagée pour atténuer les risques liés aux crises alimentaires auxquelles le Niger fait face régulièrement.
Ces deux enveloppes financières sont complétées par d'autres programmes qui portent sur l'accès à l'eau et à l'énergie, la sécurité alimentaire ou encore le renforcement de la société civile et de la gouvernance des autorités locales.
A la demande du gouvernement du Niger, l'UE planifie en autre le déploiement d'une mission civile d'appui aux Forces de sécurité intérieure et à l'Etat de Droit dans le cadre de la Politique de sécurité et de défense commune. Cette mission devrait démarrer ses activités à partir de la fin du mois de juillet 2012.
La Commission européenne finance également plusieurs projets dotés d'une dimension sécuritaire: dans le secteur de la justice par exemple, des projets sont en cours pour appuyer les forces de sécurité intérieure.
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Renewables: Commission confirms market integration and the need for growth beyond 2020
The European Union is committed to achieving a 20% share of renewable energy by 2020. This goal can be reached only in a cost-efficient manner if all policies currently in place are implemented across all Member States and if support schemes converge. In the Communication adopted today, the Commission is therefore calling for a more coordinated European approach in the establishment and reform of support schemes and an increased use of renewable energy trading among Member States. Moreover, the fact that investors need regulatory certainty makes crucial to start discussing the future and building a solid framework beyond 2020.
Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger stated: "We should continue to develop renewable energy and promote innovative solutions. We have to do it in a cost-efficient way. This means: producing wind and solar power where it makes economic sense and trading it within Europe, as we do for other products and services."
Today's Communication indicates four main areas where efforts should be stepped up until 2020 to achieve our renewable energy goals whilst being cost-efficient:
Energy market: The Commission insists on the need to complete the internal energy market and acknowledges the need to address power generation investment incentives in the market to allow for a smooth integration of renewables into the market.
Support schemes: The Commission favours schemes that encourage cost reductions and avoid over compensation. It also calls for support schemes to be more consistent across Member States in order to avoid unnecessary barriers.
Cooperation mechanisms: The Commission encourages an increased use of the cooperation mechanisms contained in the Renewable Energy Directive. The cooperation mechanisms allow Member States to achieve their national binding targets by trading renewable energy between them. This means that one Member States buys for example wind or solar energy from another Member State or from a third country outside the EU. This can be cheaper than producing solar or wind in the home country.
Energy cooperation in the Mediterranean: The Commission suggests improvements to the regulatory framework and stresses that an integrated regional market in the Maghreb would facilitate large-scale investments in the region and enable Europe to import renewable electricity.
For the time beyond 2020, the Communication acknowledges that without a suitable framework renewable energy growth will slump. Such a framework has to allow for more innovation and bring down cost to make renewables a promising sector of investment for growth. It therefore proposes to start the process on preparing future policy options and milestones for 2030. It identifies three options beyond business as usual:
New goals for GHG (Greenhouse gas emissions) but no goals for renewable energy. ETS would be the main instrument to cut down on CO2 emissions.
Three national targets: Renewable energy, energy efficiency and GHG.
EU wide targets: Renewable energy, energy efficiency and GHG goals.
The Commission stresses that it is crucial to identify 2030 milestones as soon as possible. These should enable renewable energy producers to be increasingly competitive players in the European energy market.
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