OFID and the Global Energy Dialogue
OFID believes that an international dialogue involving both developed and developing nations could have a critical impact in terms of alleviating energy poverty. While intrinsically a developing country issue, energy poverty is still a global concern. Indeed, the achievement of sustainable development over the long term, for developed and developing countries alike, has as a prerequisite the implementation of globally accepted and shared solutions. Environmental issues often remind us that rich and poor are living on the same planet.
Energy poverty – for the developing nations – and energy security – for the developed nations – are two faces of the same coin. Both issues require international dialogue and cooperation. A leading example in this respect is the International Energy Forum (IEF), which has its Secretariat in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The IEF represents the largest regular gathering of countries which together account for more than 90 percent of global oil and gas supply and demand. This kind of dialogue and cooperation should be fostered further.
And it is in this spirit of dialogue and cooperation that OFID is doing its share.
In 2008, OFID organized in Abuja, Nigeria, an international workshop on Energy Poverty in Africa, which gathered experts from all over the world to address the problem of energy coverage on a continent where three out of four people lack access to electricity. In other international fora on energy issues, OFID always promotes the concerns of poor developing countries on the global energy security agenda.
OFID also contributes to the international debate on energy matters by commissioning studies on subjects of direct relevance to poor countries. In March 2009, at a special session of the Fourth OPEC Seminar in Vienna, OFID released a study on biofuels. Prepared by a reputable research institution under the title Biofuels and Food Security, this seminal study highlights clearly the various negative impacts of an anticipated worldwide surge in first-generation biofuels production. With some developed countries striving to achieve biofuels consumption targets set for the year 2020 and beyond, of particular concern is the impact of such a trend on food security in the developing countries.
Referring to the developing world at their September 2009 Summit in Pittsburgh, USA, G20 leaders pledged "to promote the deployment of clean, affordable energy resources to the developing world...and to fund programs that achieve this objective, such as the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program and the Energy for the Poor Initiative." While energy poverty is just one of the many challenges that developing countries have to overcome, it is OFID’s belief that it is also among the most pressing. Energy poverty will thus continue to figure high on OFID’s agenda, as it should at a global level also.
See also: Biofuels and Food Security: implications of an accelerated biofuels production summary document.