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ADB helps launch sustainable energy investment hub for Asia

MANILA, Philippines - The Asian Development Bank and two United Nations agencies launched a hub Wednesday to mobilize investments and innovation to bring clean energy to Asia Pacific, where more than 600 million people do not have electricity and 1.8 billion others still use firewood and charcoal at home.

Energy demand is soaring in the region on the back of economic and population growth, and the ADB said that by 2035 developing countries in the region will account for 56 per cent of global energy use, up from 34 per cent in 2010. They will need more than $200 billion in energy investments by 2030.

ADB will host and manage the Sustainable Energy for All hub. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the UN Development Programme are its partners.

"We can overcome energy poverty through sustainable, low-carbon energy means, and through this new hub we are gathering together investors, innovators and experts to make this happen," said ADB Vice-President Bindu Lohani.

One of the goals of the hub is to support developing Asian countries in preparing country action plans to meet the UN goal of ensuring universal access to modern energy by 2030 and doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

Kandeh Yumkella, special representative of the UN secretary general on sustainable energy, called for an energy revolution that will power an industrial revolution that creates jobs and wealth in a sustainable way.

Caitlin Wiesen, Asia-Pacific regional manager of UNDP, said finding innovative solutions to energy poverty can save lives, because every year 3.3 million people die in Asia each year in deaths associated with inhaling toxic fumes from wood, charcoal, coal or dung.

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