About 2.8 billion people or close to the half the world population's is estimated to survive on less than US$2.00 per day. A key distinguishing feature of the world's poor is inadequate access to clean energy services. The majority of those earning less than US$ 2.00 per day rely on traditional biofuels to meet the bulk of their energy needs and have no access to electricity. Traditional biofuels are the main energy source for an estimated 2.4 billion people. Some 1.6 billion people have no access to electricity and significant portion have limited or no access to cleaner and more modern fuels such as kerosene, LPG and natural gas.
The poor in developing countries face, inter alia, three key energy challenges:
- Reliance on biofuels that harm human health and the environment.
- Inadequate access to cleaner energy services, such as electricity, for productive purposes and institutional applications.
- Incomes that are too low (as well as limited access to appropriate financing schemes) to allow the poor to procure cleaner and more sustainable energy services, such as electricity, that are more expensive.
The underlying rationale of GNESD is that in order to address these challenges it is necessary to increase the capacity of developing country centres of excellence for effective knowledge management of energy for sustainable development issues. All GNESD activities are based on the firm belief that access to affordable, modern energy services is a pre-requisite for sustainable development and the alleviation of poverty. Thereby contributing to fulfilling UN's Millennium Development Goals