UN decentralised energy schemes benefiting Nepal

Nearly a million people in rural Nepal have access to energy thanks to two United Nations development decentralised energy programmes which show that early investment by national governments and communities can attract private financing and extend access to utilities, according to a UN report released today.

The report, Capacity development for scaling up decentralized energy access programmes, builds on lessons from two decentralized energy projects in Nepal that provided electricity by micro-hydro power to 250,000 people and which provided access to improved cooking stoves to 580,000 others.

According to the report, the key to the programme's success was early public investment in capacity development, which developed local and national capacities required to deliver, manage, operate and maintain the solutions to providing energy access in rural areas.

Once made, these investments can help drive down the cost of utilities and attract substantial financing from communities and the private sources at later stages, as is the trend in Nepal.The benefits of the improved energy programme include better lighting in schools and hospital, reduced health risks from indoor air pollution, diversified livelihoods and increased incomes among the poorest segments of Nepalese society.

Nepal, whose Government helped pioneer the programmes with UNDP, is working to expand their reach to bring energy to a greater percentage of its population. Kenya and other countries are interested in applying the same strategy.

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