Interview with Dirk Elsen can be downloaded here.

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Following the release of the European Commissions new Green paper this year EDD on 6th and 7th December 2010 explored issues pertaining to energy policy and how Europe can lead the way towards a more sustainable approach to international development.

The high-level energy panel opened the floor for discussion as to the importance of energy to development and what the next steps are that we need to take,

“Without sustainable development the millennium development goals are not going to be achieved”

ELSEN Dirk, CEO SNV

“Energy to an entire county or to an economy is like oxygen to the body”


KIKWETE Jakaya Mrisho, President of the United Republic of Tanzania

In his speech, KIKWETE Jakaya Mrisho further highlighted the profound contrast in energy consumption from developed to developing countries, that those who consume more energy are more developed. Tanzania consumes a mere 82kW/h compared to the US who consume 13638kw/h, with only 14% of the population of Tanzania having access to grid based electricity. He made the point that energy is a critical factor for socio economic growth and that “Africa has plenty of energy resources that if harnessed correctly could provide for all her energy needs.”

The need for concrete development projects, investment in infrastructure and a need to invest in sustainable solutions and to bring these technologies down to a price people can afford are just some of the key points that need to be addressed and brought forward from the discussion panels.

In an earlier interview prior to the events, below, Mr. Elsen highlighted the importance of us addressing sustainable solutions to energy and commends the EU on their recognition of this in the Green Paper and the need to further move from a grid electricity approach to renewable energy alternatives.

The interview gave an overview of SNV’s approach to address the energy needs of developing countries giving examples of programmes implemented by SNV to provide biogas generation at the household level in Nepal, Latin America and Africa.

The interview also touched on Mr.Elsen’s hopes and expectations for the new Clinton initiative for clean cookstoves launched back in September, where SNV are founding partners of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC). With over half the world’s population still using solid biomass as their primary fuel source, Mr. Elsen addresses the importance of the GACC in providing mobilisation and muscle to raise awareness and provide targets for the intervention of clean cookstoves, but that this initiative needs to “connect with people on the ground” in order to ī
take off and the need to find local partners who have an interest in making this initiative work. Mr Elsen hopes that SNVs involvement can provide the link to the people on the ground to bring about sustainable implementation for this urgent need.