A group of experts met between 4-6 December 2006 at the UN-HABITAT headquarters in Nairobi to look into ways of effectively improving energy access for the urban poor by marshalling the resources of public, private and community sectors.
The Expert Group Meeting on “Enhancing Energy Access for the Urban Poor” addressed various topics, including; barriers for use of modern energy in poor urban settlements; access to affordable clean modern energy options; energy efficiency for buildings-in-use and building construction; energy for water and sanitation services provision; and energy efficiency and transport.
Participants were global experts from governments, international organizations, universities and the private sector. One third of the global population has no access to basic energy service. Most of them live in developing countries mainly in South Asia and in Sub-Saharan Africa. They depend on inefficient biomass fuels with detrimental effects on air pollution and health. About three-quarters of the world’s commercial energy are consumed in urban areas and many of the people in direst need of access to modern energy systems are located in rapidly growing informal urban settlements throughout the developing world. In-migration into cities has created very dense informal settlements where 30 to 40% of the urban population lives in abject poverty and in dismal living conditions.
Despite this, the energy needs of poor urban households, and particularly of women, in developing countries have not been properly addressed as development efforts were focused intensely on the rural poor.