Climate change and sustainable energy production are high on the political agenda, public debate generally focusing on how the use of fossil fuels can be reduced. Much less attention is given to the lack of access to energy of people living in poverty in developing countries. Remarkably, the solution to both issues is the same: renewable energy. In developed countries, we need to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy to combat climate change. In developing countries, renewable energy is needed for development and to prevent people from becoming dependent on fossil fuels, which will become scarce and more expensive in the years to come. In recognition of this, the Johannesburg Renewable Energy Declaration expressed international commitment to globally increase the supply of renewable energy.
Commissioned by Hivos, investigated the extent to which the European Union promotes renewable energy through its cooperation programmes with developing countries. The Country Strategy Programmes (CSPs), or ‘country programmes’, were looked at in the context of the identified need to switch to and supply renewable energy. The outcome of the research is surprising: in many country programmes renewable energy does not receive the attention needed to stop energy poverty. In 2010, the country programmes are being reviewed; the EU Member States and the European Parliament will be participating in the review process together with the European Commission. Hivos and EEPA see this upcoming review as an important opportunity for EU development cooperation to make a radical shift in favour of (access to) renewable energy.