LDCs seek implementation of ODA pledge

Kathmandu, March 23

The least developed countries (LDCs) have sought proper implementation of overseas development commitment of the developed countries citing this assistance will be critical for LDCs to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030. In the Istanbul Plan of Action, developed countries have committed to provide 50 per cent of the overseas development assistance (ODA) to the LDCs, however, in practice that has not been implemented effectively.

The two-day Regional Meeting on Sustainable Energy for Asia-Pacific LDCs concluded in Kathmandu with commitment to enhance cooperation for technology transfer and investment with developed countries, develop viable investment model in energy sector to attract private investment and seek all alternatives to ensure sustainable and reliable modern energy to all citizens of LDCs.

Presently, seven out of 10 citizens of LDCs do not have access to electricity. Hence, providing modern energy to all citizens by the end of 2030 is quite challenging for LDCs, according to participants from Asia-Pacific LDCs. The Asia-Pacific region requires a cumulative investment of approximately $1.17 trillion in the energy sector in between 2010 and 2035 to provide access to modern energy for all the citizens of Asia-Pacific LDCs and the ODA and technological support of developed countries will be instrumental to achieve the target of sustainable energy for all.

Addressing the closing session of the regional meeting that was organised by National Planning Commission, United Nations Development Programme and UN-OHRLLS, UN Undersecretary General Gyan Chandra Acharya, said that LDCs need to overcome the barriers of modern energy development by framing robust policies and regulations that are investment friendly.

The main constraints  for accessing finance for expanding modern energy include lack of scale, lack of substantial local investment, institutional capacity constraints, poor or non-existent credit ratings, as well as low project preparation capacities and skills to deploy the financing models that encourage all types of finance including the blended finance to attract more funds, as per Acharya.

Laying emphasis on technological support from developed countries is a must for LDCs to make modern energy accessible in an inclusive manner in LDCs he said. Acharya further assured LDCs that financing could be available through concessional loan, foreign investment and private investment if the countries develop viable business model for energy sector development. He hailed strong commitment of Asia-Pacific LDCs to adopt a path of affordable and reliable energy, which will have a multiplier impact on the economic transformation of each country.

Also speaking in the closing session, Gauri Pradhan, international coordinator of LDC Watch (network of civil society organisations of LDCs), said that access to modern energy for all citizens of LDCs will consequently be helpful in delivering better health and education services to the people of LDCs and this will be instrumental in poverty alleviation.

Despite having the potential of clean source of energy, LDCs have financial constraints, lack of conducive environment to harness the potential and as a result a large number of rural population does not have access to electricity. Each LDC will have explicit development impact through United Nations sustainable energy for all initiative, according to Pradhan.