October 2021 SDG Talks: Can Clean Energy Provide a Path Out of Poverty?
As the ‘Decade of Action’ progresses, pressing issues such as climate change have taken precedence. With the world’s attention on the COP26 conference on climate change, our October installment of the monthly SDG Talks event, observed the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and Youth Pledge Day, focusing on addressing issues of poverty through the lens of a transition to clean energy.
Moderated by news presenter Timothy Marbun, panelists included Indah Budiani, Executive Director of Indonesia Council for Business Development, Jovial de Lopez, content creator, Pandu Ismutadi, Implementation Coordinator for Various New Energy Development at Indonesia’s Directorate General of New and Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation, Arliza Nathania G. Hutagalung, Chairperson of the NGO, Society for Renewable Energy Women, and Mathilde Sari Gokmauli, UNDP’s ACCESS National Project Manager, the event also encouraged youth to support poverty eradication, through increasing access to clean energy. In her opening presentation, Indah Budiani noted that mobilizing youth is important to accelerate the clean energy access in Indonesia. “Globally, the younger generation is pessimistic about the future, but they are concerned about social issues that affect them,she said adding “These days, there are plenty of opportunities for young people to take collective action, not only as consumers, but also by immersing themselves in a green job career, for instance, in the clean energy sector,” she added.
According to content creator, Jovial da Lopez the high engagement on social issues could be used as a source of energy to move forward.”When my brother and I, we first started building schools in Sikka, East Nusa Tenggara, we had no idea it would garner so much attention and support from young people in Indonesia, even it would serve as a model for other content creators to care on social issues,” he said.
Education is one of the keys to break the generational cycle of poverty, however the lack of adequate infrastructure, such as electricity, creates barriers to equal opportunity for young Indonesians to improve their lives, UNDP's ACCESS National Project Manager, Mathilde Sari Gokmauli, emphasized this point.
Clean energy generally is known to be costly to implement if compared to energy from non-renewable sources. However, Pandu Ismutadi was optimistic of the plan to implement clean energyIndonesia has a lot of renewable energy resources such as solar energy, as well as energy from water and wind. Young people in universities could further develop research in the sector,”he explained.
The transition to clean energy would not just improve lives for youth but also the women. For example, the ACCESS project, which is set to electrify 23 villages in eastern Indonesia and Timor Leste will benefit communities in the region study after the hours of darkness, and could also open up opportunities for women in the area to consider new forms of economic opportunity.
Arliza Nathania G. Hutagalung, also commented on how young people can use their privileges, “The younger generation in Indonesia in general have more literacies than our previous generation, it is the time for us to be the ones mobilizing the changes,” she said, adding that SRE women focuses on gender equality, inclusivity, and women involvement in energy sector and encourages more young people, especially women, to participate in the rapidly growing STEM sector and also in finance, marketing and other fields.
The SDG talks was hosted by UNDP Indonesia ahead of the COP26 Climate Change Conference. To commemorate the Summit, UNDP has launched its latest global environmental campaign, "Don't Choose Extension." At the SDG talks, a flagship campaign video featuring a speech from a digitally manipulated Dinosaur in the UN General Assembly was also shown.
Written by Enggi Dewanti
Edited by Tomi Soetjipto and Ranjit Jose