The Trade and Development Board, at its forty-seventh executive session held on 30 June 2009, approved the following topic for a single-year expert meeting: Green and Renewable Technologies as Energy Solutions for Rural Development.
Commitments to improve access to reliable and affordable energy services, and in particular to increase the share of renewable sources of energy in the global energy supply, have repeatedly been made by Governments at the international level, most notably at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002), the World Summit (2005) and UNCTAD XII (2008).
Developing countries are unlikely to meet the Millennium Development Goals without access to affordable and predictable modern energy services. Lack of electricity and heavy reliance on traditional energy sources have been recognized as "hallmarks of poverty", with serious negative repercussions on health, gender equality, education, the environment, and agricultural productivity. While some progress has been registered towards implementing the commitments made in the Johannesburg Plan of Action, a significant gap remains.
It has increasingly been acknowledged that green renewable energy technologies (GRETs) can offer a vital contribution to poverty eradication, job creation, energy security and rural development. GRETs are, in addition, a determinant tool for transitioning towards low-carbon, sustainable growth paths, and enhancing the adaptive capacity of communities that are vulnerable to climate change.
UNCTAD´s expert meeting will explore how to integrate the development and deployment of GRETs into rural poverty reduction strategies, with a view to identifying the main social, technical, economic and cultural barriers, as well as the success factors and key policy tools.
Special emphasis will be placed on financing, technology and trade-related issues. The gender implications will also be examined.