Erad­i­cat­ing en­ergy poverty is KSA pri­or­ity

Arab News - - News - EAMAN AB­DUL­LAH Eaman Ab­dul­lah is a Saudi writer. Twit­ter: @aman_ea­maniii

The world cur­rently is fac­ing an un­prece­dented health cri­sis, and it is, as usual, vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties that are hit the hard­est. Lack of ac­cess to elec­tric­ity wors­ens hu­man­i­tar­ian is­sues amid the COVID-19 pan­demic and im­pedes the poor from se­cur­ing so­cial and eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties.

In 2011, former UN Sec­re­taryGen­eral Ban Ki-moon called on global gov­ern­ments, busi­nesses and civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions to work to­ward achiev­ing uni­ver­sal ac­cess to mod­ern en­ergy ser­vices by 2030. So cru­cial is the is­sue of en­ergy ac­cess that the UN ini­tia­tive known as Sus­tain­able En­ergy for All tracks global achieve­ments to en­able this to hap­pen. How­ever, be­fore an­nounc­ing the UN ini­tia­tive in 2007 dur­ing the third OPEC Sum­mit in Riyadh, the late King Ab­dul­lah placed erad­i­cat­ing en­ergy poverty on the sum­mit’s agenda. In 2008, Saudi Ara­bia launched an ini­tia­tive un­der the slo­gan “En­ergy for the Poor” with the goal of help­ing de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to meet the cost of en­ergy for their peo­ple.

It is of para­mount im­por­tance that Saudi Ara­bia builds on its legacy with such ini­tia­tives to erad­i­cate poverty by pow­er­ing

So cru­cial is the is­sue of en­ergy ac­cess that the UN ini­tia­tive known as Sus­tain­able En­ergy for All tracks global achieve­ments to en­able

this to hap­pen.

economies in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. Cur­rently, un­der its

2020 pres­i­dency for the G20,

Saudi Ara­bia’s has re­newed its com­mit­ment to em­power peo­ple as a prime pri­or­ity by cre­at­ing bet­ter liv­ing con­di­tions and ac­cess to cleaner, more sus­tain­able and af­ford­able en­ergy to re­duce poverty and pro­mote eco­nomic growth. Saudi Ara­bia’s proac­tive ini­tia­tives re­flects its in­ter­na­tional com­mit­ment to rec­og­niz­ing hu­man suf­fer­ing around the globe, and bring­ing re­li­able, clean, af­ford­able power sources to those af­fected greatly by the im­pact of the pan­demic will sharpen in­ter­na­tional col­lec­tive ac­tion to fight poverty across the world. Elec­tric­ity is the foun­da­tion and life­line for com­mu­ni­ties and economies to run and thrive. There is grow­ing in­ter­na­tional acknowledg­ement of the strong ties be­tween poverty and lack of ac­cess to mod­ern en­ergy.

More than 840 mil­lion peo­ple now live with­out ac­cess to mod­ern power and 2.8 bil­lion peo­ple rely on pol­lut­ing cook­ing and heat­ing op­tions to meet their daily heat­ing and cook­ing needs. Ac­cess to mod­ern elec­tric­ity power should not be the end in it­self; it is about ad­vanc­ing in­clu­sive bot­tom-up so­lu­tions that will en­able sus­tain­able devel­op­ment pri­or­i­ties to end poverty.

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