Sustainable Energy

 Choden has been using the traditional stove for cooking and feeding her family for the last twelve years of her life. She spends two hours a day collecting firewood from the forest. The stove takes an hour to heat up. Photo: Sonam Tsoki Tenzin/UNDP Bhutan

Energy is central to sustainable development and poverty reduction efforts. It affects all aspects of development - social, economic, and environmental - including livelihoods, access to water, agricultural productivity, health, population levels, education, and gender-related issues. None of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be met without major improvement in the quality and quantity of energy services in developing countries.

UNDP provides support to policy makers and communities promoting access to sustainable energy services. Countries in Asia and the Pacific have sought support to increase access to modern energy services and improve energy efficiency. For example, in Nepal, the Rural Energy Development Programme introduced decentralized renewable energy services to the most remote populations across the country, benefiting more than one million people; this is now widely recognized as a successful model for rural development. By building micro-hydro power systems and providing improved cooking stoves, the programme provided reliable, low-cost electricity to rural communities, and has resulted in increased average household incomes, reduced indoor pollution and created 40 new businesses per district.

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