New solutions to energy challenges in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
New York, 11 December 2013 – UNDP launches the third volume of Empowering Lives, Building Resilience, a report compiling sustainable energy success stories from UNDP’s work in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. These stories demonstrate how sound policies, capacities and financing lead to lasting change.
For countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, energy challenges often include the inefficient use of energy, frequent power cuts, high energy costs, lack of reliable and affordable heating in winter, and the slow uptake of renewable energy,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.
The report explains how UNDP uses grants for public and private financing, while scaling up investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy. UNDP is supporting countries to promote energy access, expand renewable energy use and improve energy efficiency.
UNDP’s work results in significant improvements in the lives of people and societies with far-reaching impacts on economic development, poverty reduction, health, education and the environment,” said the Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States Cihan Sultanoglu.
Whether just one school, one village or one country, each story in this report shows how specific energy-related development challenges can be overcome, and solutions replicated and scaled up. Two decades of transition have produced many changes in how the countries of this region use energy.
Some countries export large quantities of fossil fuels and boost some of the world’s highest rates of energy intensity, while others struggle to provide reliable and affordable energy to their own citizens.
For example, Tajikistan has struggled with crippling energy shortages, but possesses the means to mitigate them. One rural sub-district, Burunov, has learned how to capitalize on the power of water to generate electricity and improve living standards. It has installed a 200-kilowatt small hydropower station that provides power to 60 households and to a small dairy factory which has created additional employment and income for farmers. To stimulate the use of small hydropower, UNDP has helped foster changes to the legislative framework which is expected to lead to greater use of hydropower in rural areas.
Another story in this report is about the residents of Avan, a neighborhood in Yerevan, Armenia. They were on their own in finding heat and hot water for their apartments. Today, a growing number of people tap into reliable supplies from a district heating system, made possible by a partnership between the private sector and the Government, supported by UNDP.
These stories provide an important insight into key human development issues and put a human face on the region’s energy challenges.