The trajectory of sustainable development is approaching another major milestone with the ever nearing MDGs deadline next year, transitioning to the SDGs for beyond 2015. The last four decades have seen a considerable change regarding the commitment of the political and corporate spheres to the movement on global issues such as poverty eradication and ensuring environmental sustainability. Over the next two weeks, RESET will take a look at how innovative approaches to development are changing the way humanitarian work is carried out and the effects on positive social change.
It is taken for granted but access to electricity is fundamental for the most basic of human needs; food security, clean water, sanitation, healthcare, heating, cooking and transport to name a few. Via our current editorial series, Development 2.0, we will explore how entrepreneurs, humanitarians and activists are increasingly applying new solution models that incorporate the latest technology alongside human capital and strategic thinking to tackle these issues, breaking away from the traditional “fundraising-donation” and wider financial aid systems.
SMART Approaches Make Energy Inaccessibility a Thing of the Past
Our partner Mobisol is one such example. Launching last year, Mobisol addresses energy insufficiency in East Africa in a manner that is integrated and collaborative and, above all, tailored to the region, microfinancing solar panels to families who can pay for them in small rates using the popular mobile phone banking system. Initiatives such as this are what’s changing the development game: smart thinking combined with the latest technology and a bottom-up approach.
This year will mark the beginning of the UN decade of Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4All) which has set three objectives to be reached by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Mr. Kandeh Yumkella, co-chair of the new High-level Group states that ‘ without energy, our hospitals will nor run well; without energy, our children cannot study at night; without access to energy, we cannot process for and store it long enough to deal with food security issues.’ It is surprising to think that 1.3 billion people do not have access to basic energy services, and that 85 percent of that figure live in rural areas. What is more staggering is the more than 37 percent of the world’s population relies on biomass such as wood, charcoal and manure. The latter also concerns the other issue of indoor air pollution which is the second biggest killer of women. Which is why solutions, such as the one presented by RESET partner Mobisol, that tackle problems and issues with innovative ideas and the latest technology are so crucial.
Underscoring the need for outside-the-box ideas on lighting up rural villages is the second edition of the International Off-grid Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition, being held today in Manila, Philippines. It aims to promote energy accessibility to rural communities and expand upon effective dialogue between various stakeholders to stimulate the growth of the renewable energy sector. One of the key organisers, the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), is the sole international business association whose primary focus is on the development of off-grid renewable energy solutions specifically for developing nations. Showing that these new approaches are already coming full circle, Mobisol GmbH was credited in the 2013 Best Practises report published by ARE for their contribution.
For more on the SE4ALL Decade, please visit their website.
Support Mobisol, donate direct via RESET.
2015 is the deadline for the MDGs. Our editorial special, Sustainable Development 2.0, will explore the changes that sustainable development has undergone in the past decade and bring to light projects, initiatives and policies that are implementing smart approaches to mark a turnaround for the movement as the SDGs come into effect.