In cooperation with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Energy Agency (IEA) has released an early excerpt focusing on the billions of people without access to electricity or clean cooking facilities its forthcoming World Energy Outlook, titled "Energy Poverty: How to make modern energy access universal."

The report investigates the energy-access challenges confronted by many developing countries, putting in jeopardy MDG achievement by the globally agreed deadline of 2015. Noting that over twenty percent (1.4 billion people) of the world population currently lack access to electricity and 40 percent (or 2.7 billion) currently rely on organic or plant matter as cooking fuel, the report discusses and justifies the need to improve energy access and reduce energy poverty on health, environmental and economic development grounds.

According to the report, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in general, and specifically the goal to halve extreme poverty by 2015, cannot be achieved without new policies specifically designed to address energy poverty. To assist policy makers, the report quantifies additional investment costs required to achieve universal access to modern energy services and clean cooking facilities, which it estimates to be US$36 billion per year globally until 2030, or 3% of estimated future annual global energy investments.

A new tool to measure progress on energy poverty is introduced; the Energy Development Index, which mirrors the UNDP’S Human Development Index, ranks developing countries in their progress towards modern energy access. The report was released at a side event held on 21 September 2010, during the MDG Summit in New York, US.

At the launch event, Mr. Olav Kjorven, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director, Bureau for Development Policy announced the establishment of the United Nations Energy Access Facility (UN-EAF), a new collaborative programme between UNDP, UN Environment Programme and UNIDO that aims to support developing countries in dramatically expanding access to modern and clean energy services for the poor.

For more information about the high level event and the publication, please visit www.undp.org/energy