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Decentralised energy options must be at the top of the European Commission's agenda to combat poverty in rural areas of Africa and Latin America.
NGOs including Practical Action, TaTeDo (Tanzania) and Energy And Environmental Concerns For Zambia, and companies such as Eco Ltd, and RAPS shared practical lessons and information projects to improve access to energy in poor countries.
The workshop discussed how decentralised energy options could be prioritised in the European Commission's development policies. Practical Action is now pushing for public investment in small-scale, decentralised energy services, such as micro-hydro electricity schemes.
Education on local energy options, developing appropriate strategies, technical training and the promotion of efficient cooking fuels are just some of the ideas being proposed.
Andrew Scott, Practical Action's Director or Policy: 'We need to get the message across to EC officials they must increase capacity for small scale decentralised energy schemes. It is vital remote communities receive urgent public investment if we are to prevent them becoming more marginalized in the future.
'It is vital this process must be developed stage by stage, otherwise it will fail - there is not yet the capacity to deliver these small-scale local solutions.'
Practical Action has now written to Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development, urging him to consider these issues when meeting with European development ministers on 11 April.
News date: 01/04/2006