RIO+20: OFID commits US$1 billion to address Energy Poverty Alleviation

20.06.2012 | PR13/2012 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,  20th June, 2012.

The Ministerial Council of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), meeting in its 33rd Annual Session, on June 14th in Austria, issued a Ministerial Declaration which states that OFID is committing a minimum of US$1 billion to financing the Energy for the Poor Initiative, further augmenting OFID’s contribution to battling energy poverty. The Ministerial Council is OFID’s highest policy-making body.

OFID Director-General, Mr. Suleiman J. Al-Herbish made this announcement to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during a meeting of the UN Secretary -General’s High Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All. The meeting took place as part of the activities of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Elaborating in the content of the Ministerial Declaration, he added that the institution stood ready to scale up this commitment if warranted by demand.  He also said that while OFID has always responded to its partner countries’ priorities and strategies, the institution was of the opinion that universal eradication of energy poverty required sustained international effort and that access to modern energy services is vital to support all aspects of development. Since 2007, he revealed, OFID has increased the share of energy projects in total operations.  In 2011, this share amounted to 25%.
The Ministerial Declaration welcomes the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All” and recognizes that universal access to modern energy services is an objective that the international community aspires to achieve by 2030. The Declaration concurs with the universal access to modern energy services component of the Secretary-General’s “Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.”  Ministers also recalled the 2007 Solemn Declaration of the Conference of Sovereigns and Heads of States of OPEC Member Countries,  the Riyadh Declaration, which emphasized that eradicating poverty should be the first and overriding global priority guiding local, regional and international efforts.  Ministers also referred to the “Energy for the Poor Initiative” launched in Jeddah, in June 2008, during a meeting of energy producers and consumers, which called on OFID to consider a program of US$1 billion for alleviating energy poverty.  

The Ministers declared that efforts to eradicate energy poverty must be technology-neutral. While renewable solutions are appropriate where economics permit, fossil fuels will continue to be an important contributor to energy supply. Poor countries cannot be deprived of energy for development during the transition to a more diversified energy mix, the Ministers suggested.

The Ministers call upon the Rio+20 Summit to, indeed, adopt universal access to modern energy services by 2030 as a goal for sustainable development.  According to their Declaration, strong political will and long-term governmental commitment will be prerequisites to energy poverty eradication. The investment needed to ensure universal access is substantial, and all available types and sources of funding will need to be mobilized.  

OFID Ministerial Declaration on Energy Poverty

OFID Ministerial Declaration on Energy Poverty - Spanish

OFID Ministerial Declaration on Energy Poverty - Arabic

Mauro Hoyer
Department of Information
OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID);