Oral question – Access to energy in developing countries – O-2016-000134

Sustainable access to affordable energy is of great importance to satisfy basic human needs and for virtually all kinds of economic activity. How energy is produced and used can greatly influence development progress. Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all is Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7.

The EU’s Energising Development initiative to provide access to sustainable energy for an additional 500 million people by 2030 and the allocation of EUR 3.5 billion for development assistance in the energy area in the period 2014-2020 allow the EU to make a major contribution to the pursuit of SDG 7. In line with SDG 7 and a broad consensus on what approach makes the best contributions to general development progress, the regulation establishing the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) emphasises renewable energy and local energy solutions. Energy is a focal sector in 30 programmes implementing the DCI and the European Development Fund (EDF), half of which are for countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Parliament, in scrutinising DCI and EDF programming, has largely supported detailed objectives and has emphasised the importance of a results-oriented approach focusing on the actual delivery of energy services to the poor. In some EDF programmes that include an energy focal sector, the emphasis on poor people could, however, be clearer. As for the adopted National Indicative Programme for Eritrea, which is energy-focused but primarily driven by migration policy, Parliament does not believe it to be realistic, constructive or desirable, and notes that the implementation phase has not been launched.

Could the Commission briefly describe the state of progress and the main challenges encountered in the implementation of programmed development assistance in the energy area, and the outlook for its continued implementation? What proportion of the funds engaged is going to local renewable energy projects? How far has the EU now come towards the ‘access for 500 million’ target?

Could the Commission also give its assessment of the global conditions for the attainment of SDG 7 and state its views on what new or stepped-up efforts are now most important, and by whom?

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