We're pleased to report that our recent conference on climate and energy issues, held for MPs from the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa, earlier this week, was a success. 40 MPs attended from a wide range of African countries and from across the political spectrum, for a one-day intensive workshop on renewables, off-grid energy, and investment in sustainability. The event featured presentations from a range of experts and policy analysts, as well as participant-led discussion sessions for the MPs to feedback and share best practice.
Energy deeply influences the life of rural communities. It is fundamental to all aspects of human welfare, including access to clean water, health care and education and increasing agricultural productivity. Still, 2.7 billion people lack access to efficient and clean energy for cooking and heating, and 1.3 billion lack access to electricity; about 84% of this deprived population lives in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa or Southeast Asia.
Without significant political commitment and investment, energy poverty is set to deteriorate even further over the next 20 years. At the same time, access to energy is a critical enabler for economic and social development. Once communities have access to modern energy services, the impact on human development is significant: from cleaner indoor air and improved health to more income generating opportunities and more time for other pursuits.
That's why the Climate Parliament and UNDP co-hosted a workshop on renewables and energy access at the upcoming session of the Pan-African Parliament, hosted in Midrand, South Africa, on the 4th of August. The overall objective of the workshop was to deepen the knowledge and understanding of Members of Parliament with regard to renewable energy development and sustainable energy, so that they are better equipped to contribute to policy and financing discussions on these subjects.
At the close of the event, the assorted MPs agreed to draft and sign a resolution, to be delivered to the Pan-African Parliament in plenary and thence issued to the African Union as a whole, calling for greater effort and investment in renewable energy and climate issues, recognising the severity of the threat of climate impacts to citizens in Africa. The Climate Parliament is currently working to draft the resolution together with the attending MPs, and we hope to issue the finished document in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, however, you can access documents from the workshop - including photos, presentations, and a draft of the resolution - at this link.