On May 30-31, Director of Energy Department, Antony Garae, joined Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) Director-General (DG), Frank Rijsberman, to participate in the Global Conference on Scaling-up Energy Access and Finance in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Beijing, China.
The event was co-organized by UN-OHRLLS and the Global Energy Interconnection Development Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO). Participants of the event included LDC representatives, development partners, investment and energy private sector partners, and relevant civil societies and foundations.
The key discussions of the conference were centered around raising awareness for how LDCs can increase their access to sustainable energy and build strong partnerships. Participants of the event collaborated on ideas for securing investment for LDCs, shared best practices and lessons learned on financing, and strengthened cooperation on strategies for green energy.
GGGI DG Rijsberman, was one of the panelists in the first session of the event titled “Initiatives and Financing Models to Accelerate Energy Transition Across LDCs”.
During this session, discussants assessed successful financial models in bringing transformation in the energy sector of LDCs and other developing nations and explored ways to achieve rapid energy transition.
During the session, DG Rijsberman stressed the importance of having effective government policies to facilitate the development of renewable energy, by stating, “while renewable energy has become commercially attractive, it is not being adopted in developing countries because government policies hinder renewable investments”.
During the event, GGGI hosted a break-out session, “Models for Scaling-up Energy Access and Finance in LDCs and SIDS,” to share successful projects in GGGI’s partner LDCs and SIDS.
The panel was made up of experts from countries involved in GGGI’s recent energy sector initiatives, including China, Cambodia, Burkina Faso, and Vanuatu.
GGGI had opportunities to enhance South-South collaboration, particularly with China’s Belt and Road Initiative to scale up renewable energy in LDCs with focus on Laos PDR, Myanmar, Vanuatu and Burkina Faso. During the session, Dr. Frank Rijsberman showcased successful examples and models of GGGI’s energy sector engagements in its partner LDC countries.
Vanuatu, consisting of more than 80 remote islands, is highly vulnerable to climate change.
While Vanuatu’s economic performance has improved in recent years, its remoteness, small market size, and limited institutional capacity remain key barriers to green growth. Access to energy is also a key challenge as approximately 73% of the country’s population does not have access to electricity, with the majority living in rural areas.
To address this challenge, Vanuatu with GGGI support developed the National Energy Road Map and the National Green Energy Fund to bridge the estimated $20 million gap identified to achieve national energy access targets. Improving access to renewable energy will have a significant impact on poverty reduction and social inclusion, given its contribution to green growth in other sectors, including tourism, agriculture, and water.
A lack of sustainable energy access has devastating impacts on the lives and livelihoods of millions of people from the LDCs – from limited economic and social benefits to slower national GDP growth and increases in GHG emissions and air pollution. Generating sustainable energy, meanwhile, contributes to GHG emissions reductions, reduces dependence on imported fossil fuels, and improves reach and reliability of services in LDCs.
Realizing these positives benefits these vulnerable countries, however, must overcome the challenge of accessing the finance required to implement sustainable energy at scale.
Participants of the Global Conference were able to collaborate and discuss financing models for accelerating energy transition across LDCs, as well as share their experiences in preparing studies for national energy investment.
The attendees of the event benefitted through increased collaboration on initiatives to develop sustainable energy and greater knowledge on preparing plans for energy finance and access in LDCs.